This development process has already begun to bear fruit – we have seen fantastic results with Spider-Man 3, to the extent our market share rivalled that of EA in May, according to ChartTrack data for the UK. The success of the movie helps of course, but we feel the level of integration between consumer marketing, PR and trade activities drove an exceptionally powerful campaign. The team in the UK is justifiably proud of their achievement.
As we look to the near future, we anticipate further successes in terms of UK market share over the summer. The long awaited Shrek The Third got off to a great start at the UK box office, which is already translating into strong sales. We are especially excited at the prospect of launching Transformers: The Game. The portents are amazing: the most downloaded movie trailer of all time, toy sales outstripping those of Spider-Man – and the movie isn’t even on screens yet in the UK. Our trade partners are equally fired up: many are already billing it as the ‘retail event of the summer’.
Fast forward to Christmas and we’re due to top off the year with one of our best ever slates. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has already set jaws dropping amongst the UK press and we’re confident consumer anticipation will be at unprecedented levels by the time the game ships.
Our partnership with Dreamworks gathers more momentum this year with the release of Bee Movie, a title that shows just how close to an animated movie a game can look, and we eagerly await further products from this fertile area of our business next year.
Our partnership with LucasArts also strides on – Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is still in the charts. We’re really pleased jointly with the performance of the Lucas portfolio over the last year, and confident we can replicate our recent wins with Thrillville: Off The Rails and Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, not to mention Lego Star Wars Saga, which wraps all six movies into a compelling package on new formats such as Wii and PS3.
Finally, I get to talk about Guitar Hero, a franchise I find personally invigorating having worked many years ago on the introduction of karaoke to these shores. If you need any indication of recent success, it’s that we can’t supply enough GH2 360 to satisfy market demand. The line-up gets even stronger with the impending launch of Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80s for our PS2 audience, followed by the all-new Guitar Hero III in time for Christmas.
It’s a regretful reality of business that like other publishers, we’ve seen talent churn as Activision moves forward to take on new challenges, but we look forward to the opportunities ahead of us as we step up to the next-gen plate and upgrade our business leadership capabilities, as clearly evidenced by the arrival of Joerg Trouvain to the top European job. Along with Brian Hodous, chief customer officer of Activision globally, he is driving a significantly enhanced investment program in employee engagement, training, development and communication.
With the growth we are seeing in our business and such a great roster of games, we have created a number of positions across all areas of the business to deliver on the objectives ahead. We are looking to hire the best talent from within and outside the industry to join us to achieve our goals. For those interested, the recent ads in MCV give an insight into some of the roles we’re recruiting for right now, but there is more to follow.
Activision is a great place to work, and we’re looking forward to welcoming the best the industry has to offer to the fold.