Train2Game News European Commission introducing guidelines for Free-to-play

AppsNew rules for how free-to-play games should be listed and marketed have been released by the European Commission, following its investigation into in-app purchases.

Back in February, the EC announced it would be talking to developers and platform holders about how to make the free-to-play industry more transparent after complaints from “all over Europe” regarding the use of IAP – particularly in games aimed at children.

The national authorities within the Consumer Protection Cooperation network have settled on the following position and communicated this to Apple, Google and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe:

  • Games advertised as “free” should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved;
  • Games should not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them;
  • Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements for purchases and should not be debited through default settings without consumers’ explicit consent;
  • Traders should provide an email address so that consumers can contact them in case of queries or complaints.

Google has already made a number of changes to the way it lists free-to-play games and expects to be fully compliant by the end of September. Notably, this includes the decision to never use the word “free” when games contain microtransactions, and the creation of new guidelines for app developers to ensure they do not directly pressure children to make in-app purchases.

However, at the time of the EU release, “no firm commitment and no timing have been provided [by Apple] for the implementation of such possible future changes”.

Of course, it’s unlikely that Apple will ignore the new guidelines. Back in March, the iPhone firm added warnings of in-app purchases to its app listings.

Enforcement of the new rules, including any possible legal action that could be taken, will be decided to the various national authorities.

“This is the very first enforcement action of its kind in which the European Commission and national authorities joined forces,” said EU commissioner for consumer policy Neven Mimica. “I am happy to see that it is delivering tangible results.

“This is significant for consumers. In particular, children must be better protected when playing online. The action also provides invaluable experience for the ongoing reflection on how to most effectively organise the enforcement of consumers rights in the Union. It has demonstrated that co-operation pays off and helps to improve the protection of consumers in all Member States.”

Source: Develop

Train2Game News Your Beautiful Game Results

The results of Turtle Beaches Your Beautiful Game poll have been release and the number one beautiful game may surprise you.

Forget Far Cry 3, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker or The Last of Us – a Turtle Beach poll to discover the title that gamers care for most passionately has crowned Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress as the community’s most “Beautiful Game”.

Over the past four weeks, Turtle Beach has been asking fans to nominate the games they care most about by submitting videos, images or text through a special microsite at www.yourbeautifulgame.com. A shortlist was then compiled, from which members of the Turtle Beach community could pick their winner. Those who made the shortlist campaigned hard for support to try and ensure their beautiful game came out on top.

The campaign, which began in July and concluded this weekend, saw nominations for a huge variety of games. After thousands of votes  Dwarf Fortress triumphed over huge titles such as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Far Cry 3 and The Last of Us to establish itself as the most popular game amongst the Turtle Beach community.

The top 15 beautiful games
1. Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
3. Far Cry 3
4. Call of Duty: Ghosts
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
6. Borderlands 2
7. The Last of Us
8. FINAL FANTASY X
9. Pac-Man
10. Halo 3
11. FIFA 14
12. Grand Theft Auto V
13. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
14. Super Mario Galaxy 2
15. Resident Evil

“It’s been really interesting to see the votes come flooding in for Dwarf Fortress,” said David Roberton, Vice President of International Marketing at Turtle Beach. “We had a strong and very eclectic list of nominations and are delighted, but not surprised, to crown Dwarf Fortress as the Beautiful Game. While some truly phenomenal games featured on the shortlist, Dwarf Fortress is an outstanding example of interaction design and proves that you don’t have to be a huge AAA title to really resonate with gamers.”

Train2Game News Women In Games Conference

Women in GamesThe fourth annual European Women in Games Conference is to take place on Wednesday September 10 at London South Bank University.

The programme will feature a range of current topics including setting up your own games company, games industry career advice to how to encourage more school children to consider a career in the games industry.

As in previous years the day’s conference will comprise a mix of keynote speeches, panel discussions and the European Women in Games Hall of Fame Awards. The line-up of speakers and panellists will reflect the diverse talent that exists in the games industry. Key note speakers will include Emma Mulqueeny, the founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State and a Commissioner for the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy and Andrew Webber, Marketing Director – Audience Acquisition at Microsoft. More speakers and panellists will be announced over the coming weeks.

The conference has steadily grown in popularity since its inaugural event in 2011. This year’s event is expected to have the greatest attendance yet helped by the early bird ticket price of £20 per person.

This makes the conference much more accessible to students and entry level games industry professionals. In addition the organisers are keen to stress that this is an inclusive event and male delegates are equally very welcome.

Announcing the details of the conference organiser David Smith said, “The European Women in Games Conference has steadily grown over the past four years. The 2014 event will help all industry professionals’ progress their careers and we are making it accessible to everyone. I’d like to thank London South Bank University for hosting the conference and making it possible for us to offer attractive ticket prices for a first rate and pertinent programme both for existing industry professionals as well as those hoping to join our industry.”

For further details about the conference and to buy tickets please visit http://ewigconference2014.eventbrite.co.uk

Train2Game News Game Salary Survey

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Leading game industry website Gamasutra, a UBM Tech property, revealed the results of its annual Game Developer Salary Survey.

Results can be viewed in PDF format, as well as Gamasutra’s dedicated Salary Survey page http://www.gamasutra.com/salarysurvey2014.pdf.

The survey showed that, overall, salaried game developers in the U.S. made $83,060 on average in 2013, down 2% from 2012. Business and management salaries topped all other disciplines once again this year, averaging $101,572, followed by audio professionals ($95,682) and programmers ($93,251). Quality assurance professionals earned the lowest average salary at $54,833.

Conducted in May 2014 for the period between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013, Gamasutra gathered well over 4,000 unique responses worldwide, with help from market research company Audience Insights.

“There were major transitions in 2013 that affected the way game developers make a living,” said Gamasutra editor-in-chief Kris Graft. “Whether talking about the advancements in the democratization of game development, or the release of a new generation of consoles, it was a year in which the disruption and chaos of prior years settled in just enough for game developers to identify and adapt to a new reality. Despite the challenges, there’s still an undercurrent of enthusiasm.”

Key findings from the survey:

- Average annual pay among U.S.-based salaried game developers in 2013 was $83,060 (down 2%)

- Worldwide, solo indies made an average of $11,812 (down 49%)

- Worldwide, members of an indie team averaged $50,833 (up 161%)

- Per discipline, average U.S. salaries were:

            Programmers: $93,251
            Artists and animators: $74,349
            Game designers: $73,864
            Producers: $82,286
            Audio professionals: $95,682
            Quality Assurance: $54,833
Business and management: $101,572

- Canadian developers averaged USD $71,445 (up 9%)
- European developers averaged USD $46,232 (flat)

Download the full Salary Survey results in PDF form here: http://www.gamasutra.com/salarysurvey2014.pdf

Train2Game News Train2Game launch new online radio channel

Train2GameA new radio channel created by Train2Game is best described as: Inspirational, Informative and Advisory. Train2Game Radio brings you voices from both the Games Industry and it Students.

The new radio station has been created to guide those already on the course and tell others more about the company. The channel hosts material created by the Train2Game team but also other programmes featuring Train2Game from commercial and public radio.

It features radio programmes from many renowned individuals and organisations, shows include: City and Guilds say Train2Game are doing it PROPERLY, CNS Group coaching Train2Game Students LIVE, JuiceFM Mike Gamble from Epic on Train2Game, Microsoft’s Andy McCartney Future of Gaming and shows from the BBC.

Hear more at the newly launched channel at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/train2game-radio

You can view the programmes in the file below

Train2Game News Xeno Quest Beta

XenoQuestNGames, a leading online games publisher, is today thrilled to announce that the open beta for fantasy MMORPG, Xeno Quest, will be launching for Android and iOS gamers on July 30th and July 31st respectively.

The lands of Xeno Quest are brought to life by the powerful Unity 3D Engine, combining fine artwork with advanced technology to create a fluid, fully 3D mobile gameplay experience. Players will develop powerful Knights to utilize in turn-based combat, forge unique equipment and collect vast bounties of treasure as they team up with friends on special daily quests – or fight them for glory! Who will become the ‘Son of Destiny’ and use their power to change the fate of the world?

The Xeno Quest alpha test closed July 18th, following 18 days of successful stress testing. Thousands of would-be warriors joined the alpha adventure and NGames is now working through player submitted bug reports and suggestions ahead of the anticipated open beta launch.

“We cannot wait to open the gates of Xeno Quest to more players,” says an excited Tracy Wang, NGames PR Manager. “The alpha community had a lot of fun and did a brilliant job of tracking down bugs and making gameplay suggestions. We’re putting as many in place as possible for the beta launch on July 30th!”

The Xeno Quest open beta is scheduled to launch for Android on the Google Play Store on July 30th. iPhone and iPad gamers can join the fantasy adventure through the App Store on July 31st.

Warriors who helped shape the Xeno Quest adventure during the alpha phase will be rewarded with special gifts when the beta launches, including Firecrush – a powerful mythical beast assistant exclusive to alpha testers.

Open beta testers will have the opportunity to submit bug reports and gameplay suggestions ahead of Xeno Quest’s full launch this Summer.

Follow Xeno Quest and learn more about the exciting new game on the official Facebook page now: http://www.facebook.com/XenoQuest

Official site: http://xq.game321.com/

Train2Game News Trinity Magnum VR peripheral

Trinity MagnumTrinityVR, a start-up company focused on building a scalable input platform for virtual reality (VR), today announced the development and manufacturing of the Trinity Magnum, a precision motion controller for head-mounted displays (HMD) such as the Oculus Rift.

The Trinity Magnum Development Kit includes an SDK (software development kit) designed specifically for VR experiences and will be available to developers, tech early adopters and enthusiasts this fall. The Magnum provides users with independent freedom to look and aim with a natural dual-grip form factor that makes them feel like they are interacting with the object in a virtual world.

Optimized to bring VR first-person experiences to the next level, the Magnum will provide an intuitive and accessible method to enable players to target and interact with enemies and move through environments. The Magnum features easily accessible inputs for improved muscle memory designed with VR in mind and includes two joysticks, four buttons and one trigger. It can be used one-handed (“mono grip”) or two-handed (“dual grip”) for gameplay versatility and diverse application development. The Magnum Development Kit is optimized specifically for VR, including support for the Oculus Rift DK1 and DK2 but will also function in PC first person shooter games.

Additional Magnum features include:

  • Accessibility – Intuitive ease of use requiring minimal practice and ergonomic form for all players
  •     Set-up and Integration – Easy set-up time and minimal collaboration
  •     Low latency, 1:1 Tracking – Complete inertial orientation tracking combined with optical positional tracking (optional) using any OpenCV compatible webcam as well as PlayStation Eye Camera and Kinect for Windows.
  •     Form Factor – Ergonomic “dual-grip” design includes rumble feedback
  •     Affordable – Under $100; significantly lower on average than competitive VR peripherals

“Old school keyboards, mice and controllers are now approaching obsolescence with the rebirth of virtual reality. We are passionate gamers and game developers who firmly believe in VR as the future of game entertainment. We wanted to enhance players’ experiences beyond existing modes of interaction through the Trinity Magnum to make first person VR experiences even more immersive and intuitive,” said Julian Volyn, co-founder and Chief of Product at TrinityVR. “Through developer support — and with the Magnum’s low price point — we expect to support the incremental growth of first-person motion-controlled content in VR.”

With Magnum’s integration tools, TrinityVR plans to work with developers by retrofitting their previous titles for the controller and adding support for popular mods. The Trinity Magnum is designed with first person shooter games in mind but its form factor lends itself to versatility in other genres. Whether players are using motion control in VR as a first-person military sniper, fire fighter, a medieval wizard swordsman, space age fighter pilot or in an epic battle of cake decoration, the Magnum provides a versatile motion control interface that’s comfortable and affordable.

The first game optimized for TrinityVR in VR is  Z0NE — a VR first person space shooting game formerly titled  Rift Wars from PixelRouter .

“The Magnum’s design — particularly the accuracy in aiming and analog sticks — has really heightened the potential for first-person, motion controlled experiences in VR, and we’re seeing that played out flawlessly in  Z0NE,” said James Andrew, founder of PixelRouter. “As a developer, we’re thrilled for fans and new players to experience  Z0NE in a completely different way. With the Magnum, the possibilities for next generation game content are now limitless.”

In an effort to bring the Magnum to developers and consumers, TrinityVR today launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Magnum project. For 30 days through the Kickstarter campaign, developers and consumers can help fund the development and manufacturing of the Magnum Development Kit. Once fully funded, TrinityVR plans on delivering Magnum Development Kit units later this year.

To visit the Trinity Magnum Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/316228545/1427168445

For more information on TrinityVR and the Magnum, visit: www.TrinityVR.com

Train2Game News UK Top 20 Games – 21.07.14

Watch DogsOnce again the charts are irritatingly quiet. The only change this week is that Football Manager 2014 has once again breached the top twenty by squeezing in at number twenty.

All formats

Week ending 19 July 2014

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 - WATCH DOGS UBISOFT 1
2 FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 3
3 CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS ACTIVISION 6
4 - WOLFENSTEIN: THE NEW ORDER BETHESDA SOFTWORKS 4
5 SNIPER ELITE 3 505 GAMES 2
6 MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION MICROSOFT 7
7 MINECRAFT: PLAYSTATION 3 EDITION SONY COMPUTER ENT. 8
8 TITANFALL EA GAMES 5
9 BATTLEFIELD 4 EA GAMES 10
10 MARIO KART 8 NINTENDO 16
11 - GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 11
12 THE LEGO MOVIE VIDEOGAME WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 14
13 - ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG UBISOFT 13
14 TOMODACHI LIFE NINTENDO 9
15 TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK ACTIVISION 18
16 LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 19
17 - PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: GARDEN WARFARE EA GAMES 17
18 EA SPORTS UFC EA SPORTS 12
19 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL EA SPORTS 15
20 FOOTBALL MANAGER 2014 SEGA -
< previous week
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2014 UKIE Ltd

These charts cannot be reproduced either in print or online without obtaining permission from Ukie. If you wish to reproduce the charts in print or online, please contact david.smith@ukie.org.uk for the appropriate license.

Train2Game News Roundish Squarish looking for staff

Rounded SquarishA Train2Game student studio is looking for a Developer to join their team to take the studio to a new level.

Rounded Squarish have been together for 3 years and have taken the plunge and decided to make a go of turning the student studio into a professional one. The company are now fully registered through companies house and are now currently looking for a talented and enthusiastic programmer to join the team.

The studio are currently working digitally and this, for now at least, is going to be where all of the work is done. They do intend on meeting in person and after a few Skype meetings intend on organising this.

The first project that would be worked on with the new team member would be a small title called ‘Slinger: Monsters of the West’. This is an RTS Turret Defence type game with a splash of Rounded Squarish thrown in!

The player is placed into a world where the mythical land of monsters and the legendary era of the spaghetti western collide, fighting to defend their town and take back the west.

Development of the game is already under-way and several screenshots can be shown to give the potential staff an idea of what the studio is aiming to create.

They are initially looking to take it through to an early alpha stage within a short period of time and, following feedback, will look to persue it further, or continue onto other projects in the pipeline.

Ben Cooper of Roundish Sqaurish said “We are looking to this game as a way of getting to know the coder and see if they like working with us, and vice versa, and to find out if they share the same passion and enthusiasm as we do. That’s definitely the most important thing for us. We need to get on well with them and also to be able to rely on them. We also need to assess their abilities to ensure that they are at the right stage for where we want to take the games. We don’t want them feeling over (or under) whelmed by what we are trying to do.

We very much appreciate the early stage that we are at right now and that we may not get everything right and would love for any prospective team mates to appreciate this also. Unfortunately it does mean that, for now, the position is unpaid but we are really pushing to change this in the months to come!”

If anyone does want to get in touch, they can email Ben at:

ben@roundedsquarish.co.uk

You can follow the studio on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/RoundedSquarish

Train2Game News UK Tax Relief adds to growing industry

Games industry investment is swinging back to the UK following the introduction of games tax relief and budget cuts in other regions around the world.

According to a recent TIGA survey, the number of studios in the UK rose from 448 to 620 in 2013, up 38 per cent. And the trade body believes the newly introduced tax breaks will generate and safeguard £450m worth of investment expenditure by UK studios.

“The UK is a highly attractive place to do games business: we have skilled developers, creative studios and a stable investment environment,” TIGA CEO Richard Wilson told Develop. “This is a great time for the UK game industry.”

UKIE CEO Jo Twist said that the reduction in some regions of funding and loss of tax schemes has shifted the balance further towards the UK.

“Once we envied Canada’s level of financial support but now I can see the rest of the world looking at our growing ecosystem with great interest and the UK’s games and interactive industry now has a fantastic opportunity as we roll out the new and highly innovative games production tax credit scheme,” she said.

“We worked very closely with the government to shape it to the needs of games companies in this country both big, small and micro.

“We made sure it was inclusive, accessible and competitive to encourage more studios to set up in the UK instead of elsewhere.”