The 2017 version of the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition just launched, right on time for Christmas.
Editor Stephen Daultrey tells MCV why retailers should consider having the book on their shelves.
It’s the 10th anniversary of the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition this year. How have you been able to keep the book fresh each year?
We’ve found all sorts of records through the years and I like to think they’re getting broader and stronger each year... and occasionally a little wackier too.
That’s quite simple really, as the games industry is constantly evolving and expanding at a breakneck pace. Record-breaking is now a very genuine part of videogames. There is always some new innovation pushing gaming into exciting new realms, whether it’s technology such as VR, or a new streaming platform.
In recent years, Twitch and YouTube have given rise to the first true celebrities who have made careers out of gaming. So you get all the broadcasting and fan-based records that come with that. Ali-A, for example, holds records for his Call of Duty YouTube channel, and he wrote a special guest foreword for this year’s book.
The Gamer’s Edition has evolved over the ten years, the records are strong and appetite for content is keen. The price point is also pocket money friendly with young gamers able to self-purchase.
How are the books performing sales-wise?
Since its inception we’ve sold over five million Gamer’s Edition books worldwide. The English language version is sold in over 38 countries, with Norway and Sweden new this year, and there are now seven dedicated language editions. It’s a very exciting time. The appeal and awareness for the book is growing all the time.
Last year was our strongest to date. The Gamer’s Edition 2016 spent 11 consecutive weeks inside the UK’s paperback non-fiction Top Ten chart, peaking at No.3. For the first time we released it at the same time as the Guinness World Records annual, and positioning them side by side in shops. The dual messaging was very strong, and this in turn made an impact on sales.
What changes can we expect in the 2017 edition?
The book has been structured differently, with a focus on genre and brand new chapters that we’ve never done before, such as eSports. Last year we created a special chapter on Minecraft, which was received very well. This time round we decided to celebrate the 30-plus year legacy of Star Wars games with its own dedicated 16-page section. I’d say that the book is about 80-to-85 per cent new or updated records, and there are many new games featured in a big way such as Rocket League, Star Citizen, The Division and Star Wars Battlefront.
What other trends had an impact on the 2017 edition?
Definitely cosplay. It’s a huge, exciting subculture of gaming. In fact, the record that we’ve had the biggest response to from the new book is the Batman costume designed and built by the special effects whizz Julian Checkley, who was inspired by the Dark Knight from Batman Arkham Origins. Julian’s record was for ‘most functional gadgets on a cosplay suit’ - he spent several months loading up this incredible suit with tracking devices, fireball launchers and video screens... all sorts of genuinely technically impressive stuff.
Indie games are also well represented, with titles such as Her Story, Surgeon Simulator 2013 and OlliOlli all enjoying starring roles. We even created some of our own record attempts in Rocket League, which were attempted live on-stage at Insomnia and Legends of Gaming, and those have made it into this year’s book.
Digital gaming is another area we’ve really grabbed by the horns. For the 2017 edition, we’ve worked with research firm SuperData, whose data has enabled us to recognise the games that have been performing the best in the digital market, such as Call of Duty, League of Legends and Counter-Strike. The way we buy and play games has changed an awful lot in very recent times. That was something that we had to represent in the new book.