OPINION: Fergal Gara & SCE UK; Dead Island’s success; GameCity prize

Over THE past few weeks we’ve reported on managerial role changes at Microsoft, Activision, HMV, Disney and Comet.

But the biggest move we broke on MCVuk.com last week: the appointment of top Asda man Fergal Gara as new chief of SCE UK.He’s signed up for a closely-watched gig.

Only weeks ago SCEE president Jim Ryan told us that PS3 has to do better in the UK. With Xbox gunning for the firm’s No.1 European position, Britain is a crucial battleground.

Gara, with his retail experience, fits the bill perfectly. He is a man who can grow the PS3 install base. The job he did at Asda’s entertainment category humiliated its big grocery rivals. During his tenure the supermarket tripled its market share in games and even picked up an MCV Award along the way.

Gara has form in upsetting big, noisy rivals. That’s something Xbox’s new UK chief Jonathan Grimes will no doubt be acutely aware of.


Say what you want about the game itself – and this is a game where critics have had a lot to say – but Dead Island’s ascent to UK No.1 this week will have been a just reward for the hard work done by Deep Silver.

Forget about the Metacritic score, how mean Edge was, how generous IGN was, or the accidental release of the debug code. The one thing you can’t argue about is the huge effort that went into making it a commercial hit.


Nottingham’s GameCity event goes under the radar for some in the trade. As a more ‘alternative’ show, with live zombie reenactments and quirky developer breakfasts, it’s easy to see why.

But it has run for five years, proven to be fringier than Edinburgh Interactive, more relevant than the BAFTAs, and scored the support of firms like Nintendo and EA.So its gaming equivalent to the Turner/Mercury/Booker is worthy of note, at least.

Will the wider media care? Should the remit be more clearly focused on British or European productions, like those comparable art prizes?They may be the bigger tests here, but in principle at least the GameCity Prize is right: games should start making the more artistic industries feel more included in ours, not self-consciously keep trying to prove its worth in comparison to them.

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