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Train2Game News Hi-Rez Studios opens in Brighton

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Hi-Rez Studios today announced that it has opened a new office in Brighton, United Kingdom to expand its reach and better serve its rapidly growing European player base.

Veronique Lallier has been appointed as Vice President of European Publishing to build and lead the Brighton office. Lallier is the former Vice President of Digital Publishing at Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment International and has 15 years of experience in the gaming industry, with particular expertise in the European Online Gaming market.

“Fueled by the continued rapid growth of SMITE, our European community has expanded tremendously over the past year,” said Todd Harris, COO of Hi-Rez Studios. “Hi-Rez prides itself in being a highly community-oriented company, and this move will allow us to much better serve our European players, across SMITE as well as our other games.”

The office will focus primarily on community management, localization and marketing operations for Europe. Core development and operations will still be handled from Hi-Rez’s headquarters in Atlanta.

“I am delighted to join the Hi-Rez team to help support and expand our European player base.” Lallier said, “Hi-Rez has a unique and vibrant community in Europe – as evidenced by the European victory at the 2016 Smite World Championship! I look forward to meeting and working with our passionate fan base here in Europe.”

Hi-Rez is currently hiring for positions in the Brighton office.  For more information about available jobs, visit http://www.hirezstudios.com/ .

Train2Game News Tom Clancy The Division Open Beta

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Today, Ubisoft® announced an Open Beta for Tom Clancy’s the Division which will take place February 19-21 on Xbox One, PlayStation® 4 and Windows PC and everyone can preload the content starting February 16.  Xbox One players will also have exclusive 24-hour early access starting on February 18.

With the highly anticipated release of Tom Clancy’s The Division just weeks away, and following the recent Closed Beta, the Open Beta is an invitation for all players to get a taste of the game’s mid-crisis New York ahead of its official launch on March 8. This beta will test the game systems further, and provide player feedback that will benefit the game experience at launch.

In addition to the content that was featured in the Closed Beta, the Open Beta will include an all new story mission for players to explore in their pursuit to save the city. Furthermore, everyone who participates in this latest testing phase will receive a special in-game reward which will unlock for players when the full game is released.

Tom Clancy’s The Division takes place weeks after a devastating pandemic sweeps through New York City on Black Friday. One by one, basic services fail and in only days, without food or water, society collapses into chaos. The Division, an autonomous unit of tactical agents leading seemingly ordinary lives among us, is activated to save society. Team up with other players to investigate the source of the virus, protect civilians from dangerous factions, and reclaim the city from the overwhelming turmoil.

For more information about Tom Clancy’s The Division, please visit www.thedivisiongame.com.

Train2Game News Amazon Game Engine

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Amazon Web Services Announces Amazon Lumberyard — a Free, Cross-Platform, 3D Game Engine Integrated with AWS and Twitch.

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), today announced Amazon Lumberyard, a free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for developers to create the highest-quality games, connect their games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch. Amazon Lumberyard helps developers build beautiful worlds, make realistic characters, and create stunning real-time effects. With Amazon Lumberyard’s visual scripting tool, even non-technical game developers can add cloud-connected features to a game in minutes (such as a community news feed, daily gifts, or server-side combat resolution) through a drag-and-drop graphical user interface.

AWS is also announcing Amazon GameLift, a new service for deploying, operating, and scaling session-based multiplayer games. With Amazon GameLift, Amazon Lumberyard developers can quickly scale high-performance game servers up and down to meet player demand, without any additional engineering effort or upfront costs.

Amazon Lumberyard is free, and available today in beta for developers building PC and console games, with mobile and virtual reality (VR) platforms coming soon. Amazon GameLift has a small per-player fee, plus for both Amazon GameLift and Amazon Lumberyard, developers pay standard AWS fees for AWS services used. To learn more about Amazon Lumberyard, visit http://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard.  To learn more about Amazon GameLift, visit http://aws.amazon.com/gamelift.

Building technology capable of making the highest-quality games is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Game developers either have to spend several years creating the more than 20 significant technology components that are needed to build the highest-quality games (such as real-time graphics rendering, world and character editors, animation systems, physics simulation, low-latency networking, particle systems, scripting systems, terrain generation, and more), or they have to invest in commercial game engines that are expensive and do not include native integrations with Twitch or cloud back-end technologies (like AWS). And, as live, multiplayer games have risen in popularity, game developers have also had to invest thousands of hours to build and manage the back-end infrastructure needed to connect their games to the cloud and support high volumes of fluctuating player traffic. Amazon Lumberyard is the only game engine that gives developers a combination of free, feature-rich development technology, native integration with the AWS Cloud to make it easier for developers to create live and multiplayer online games, and native integration of Twitch features that help developers connect their games to the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers. By starting game projects with Amazon Lumberyard, developers are able to spend more of their time creating differentiated gameplay and building communities of fans, and less time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building game engine components and managing server infrastructure. And, with Amazon GameLift, developers can be sure that on day one, their live, multiplayer games can scale to support millions of players, while maintaining the high performance gamers expect.

“Many of the world’s most popular games are powered by AWS’s technology infrastructure platform,” said Mike Frazzini, Vice President of Amazon Games. “When we’ve talked to game developers, they’ve asked for a game engine with the power and capability of leading commercial engines, but that’s significantly less expensive, and deeply integrated with AWS for the back-end and Twitch for the gamer community. We’re excited to deliver that for our game developers today with the launch of Amazon Lumberyard and Amazon GameLift.”

With Amazon Lumberyard, game developers can:

·         Create the highest-quality games—Amazon Lumberyard helps developers build rich, engaging, world-class games—from a full-featured editor, to native code performance and stunning visuals, and hundreds of other features like performant networking, cloth physics, character and animation editors, particle editor, UI editor, audio tools, weather effects, vehicle systems, flocking AI, perception handling, camera frameworks, path finding, and more. Developers also have full access to Amazon Lumberyard source code, making it easy to customize the technology to create differentiated gameplay.

·         Build live, online features in minutes— Live, online games enjoy higher engagement and retention than offline games. Amazon Lumberyard’s visual scripting tool, with its drag-and-drop graphical user interface, makes it easy to build connected game features that access AWS services, such as DynamoDB, Lambda, and S3. In minutes, game designers can create features such as granting a daily gift or sending in-game notifications without having to write a single line of code. Amazon Lumberyard also comes integrated with AWS’s C++ SDK to provide developers access to dozens of AWS services through native C++ code, the most common language used to make games.

·         Reach and engage fans on Twitch— Amazon Lumberyard is integrated with Twitch so that developers can build gameplay features that engage the more than 1.7 million monthly broadcasters, and more than 100 million monthly viewers on Twitch. With Amazon Lumberyard’s Twitch ChatPlay, developers can use a drag-and-drop visual scripting interface to create gameplay features that let Twitch viewers use chat to directly impact the game they are watching in real-time. For example, with Twitch ChatPlay within Amazon Lumberyard, a developer could build a game that lets viewers on Twitch control a character or vote on game outcomes using chat commands like “up,” “down,” “live,” or “die.” And, the Twitch JoinIn feature within Amazon Lumberyard helps developers build games that allow Twitch broadcasters to instantly invite their live audiences to join them side-by-side in the game, with a single click, while others continue to watch.

Amazon GameLift, a new managed service for deploying, operating, and scaling session-based multiplayer games, reduces the time required to create multiplayer back-ends from thousands of hours to just minutes. With a few quick steps in the AWS Management Console, developers can deploy game servers across the AWS Cloud, start connecting players to games, and scale capacity up and down to meet player demand. Developers can also identify operational issues using Amazon GameLift’s real-time reporting of game server capacity and player demand.  With Amazon GameLift and Amazon Lumberyard, developers can create multiplayer back-ends with less effort, technical risk, and time delays that often cause developers to cut multiplayer features from their games.

“Amazon has been a great partner and we are deeply excited about both Amazon Lumberyard and Amazon GameLift,” said Josh Atkins, Vice President of Creative Development, 2K Games. “The integration of a fantastic game engine with amazing cloud services presents a wonderful opportunity for both independent developers and established publishers.”
          
“Developing and maintaining a back-end infrastructure for multiplayer games requires a lot of time, resources, and expertise that are beyond the reach of many developers,” said Chris Jones, Chief Technology Officer, Obsidian Entertainment. “Amazon GameLift removes much of that burden from the developer, allowing them to focus their energy on bringing their great game ideas to life.”
                                  
Amazon Lumberyard is available for download in beta for PC and console game developers. The Amazon Lumberyard engine is free to use, including source. There are no seat fees, subscription fees, or requirements to share revenue. Standard AWS fees apply should developers choose to use other AWS services.

Amazon GameLift is available at launch in the AWS US East (N. Virginia) and US West (Oregon) Regions, with additional Regions coming soon.  Amazon GameLift costs $1.50 per 1,000 Daily Active Users plus the standard AWS fees for AWS services they consume.

Train2Game News Ukie Careers Bar Returning

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Ukie Careers Bar returns as part of the GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair at EGX Rezzed in April 2016

Ukie and GamesIndustry.biz, the world’s leading games trade website, are teaming up once again to bring the Ukie Careers Bar to the GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair. The long-running partnership will return to EGX Rezzed on 7-9 April 2016 at London’s Tobacco Dock to provide the future generations of games industry talent a valuable insight into how to break into this competitive industry.

Ukie’s popular Careers Bar will feature talks from some of the biggest names in the games industry from their Video Games Ambassador Scheme. The talks will provide expert insight from all areas of the games industry, from games art, programming and design, to publishing careers in PR, marketing and community management. The speaker schedule for the Careers Bar will be announced soon here.

Ukie’s expert Video Games Ambassadors will also be present throughout the Career Fair to provide one-to-one career and portfolio advice on a casual drop-in basis.

The GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair is the unique careers and education area at EGX Rezzed. Featuring a range of careers and education exhibitors, accessible advice from developers and educators, and unique networking opportunities, the Career Fair gives everyone a chance to get closer to the games industry.

EGX Rezzed, and the GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair and Ukie Careers Bar within it, feature as part of the London Games Festiva l, a new international celebration of UK games between 1-10 April 2016.

CEO of Ukie, Dr Jo Twist, said: “The Ukie Careers Bar is the best way for the next generation of games talent to explore what options they have to break into this competitive industry. The unique chance to gain personalised one-to-one career guidance from the biggest names already working in the games industry is an opportunity that we’re really proud to be able offer people who want to enter the industry. The games industry in the UK is a hotbed of creative and technical talent and we’re looking forward to meeting some more of this untapped, diverse talent and finding them their place in this great sector.”

European Editor of GamesIndustry.biz, Dan Pearson, said: “GamesIndustry.biz has really valued the contribution Ukie has made over the last 3 years by running their popular Careers Bar at our GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair. The Careers Bar has proved itself to be a core feature of the Career Fair, and it is great to see it back for another show. Also, the fact EGX Rezzed is set to play a role in the wider London Games Festival this year is a tribute to our longstanding focus on supporting careers and education within the games industry.”

Tickets for EGX Rezzed are available now.

Train2Game News UK Top 20 Games – 06.02.16

cod_blackops3Some new entrants to the charts this week with Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 at number three and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth at number eleven. XCOM 2 has just managed to squeeze in to the top twenty at number twenty. The number one game is Call of Duty Black Ops 3 once again.

All formats
Week ending 6 February 2016

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS III ACTIVISION 2
2 LEGO MARVEL AVENGERS WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 1
3 NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: ULTIMATE NINJA STORM 4 BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT
4 FIFA 16 EA SPORTS 3
5 TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW 6: SIEGE UBISOFT 4
6 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 6
7 STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT EA GAMES 5
8 JUST CAUSE 3 SQUARE ENIX 7
9 ASSASSIN’S CREED: SYNDICATE UBISOFT 20
10 MINECRAFT: STORY MODE TELLTALE GAMES 12
11 DIGIMON STORY: CYBER SLEUTH BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT
12 LEGO JURASSIC WORLD WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 15
13 DESTINY: THE TAKEN KING ACTIVISION 13
14 MINECRAFT: XBOX EDITION MICROSOFT 14
15 FALLOUT 4 BETHESDA SOFTWORKS 9
16 WOLFENSTEIN: THE OLD BLOOD BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
17 DISNEY INFINITY 3.0 DISNEY INFINITY 17
18 MINECRAFT: PLAYSTATION EDITION SONY COMPUTER ENT. 19
19 RESIDENT EVIL ORIGINS COLLECTION CAPCOM 10
20 XCOM 2 2K
< previous week
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2016 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 Miitomo

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Nintendo’s first app made exclusively for smart devices, Miitomo, will launch in UK & Ireland in March for both iOS and Android phones and tablets. Today, Nintendo outlined the steps that fans can take to be among the first to get in on the social fun.

Starting 17th February 2016, people in UK & Ireland will be able to pre-register for Miitomo by creating a Nintendo Account using their Nintendo Network ID, social Network accounts or email address,. People who pre-register for Miitomo will be among the first to be notified about the availability of Miitomo when it launches in March.

Miitomo is a social experience that uses Nintendo’s Mii characters to engage friends in a lighthearted, playful and welcoming social setting. Mii characters first debuted on the Wii console and to date, more than 200 million Mii characters have been created around the world. Using Mii characters users will be able to interact with their friends in an entirely new way to spark fun and interesting conversations by answering questions such as “what song has been stuck in your head lately?”, “do you believe in aliens?”, or even “if you saw a nose hair sticking out of your friend’s nose, what would you do?” By answering questions in Miitomo users will be able to discover surprising information and secrets about their friends, as well as share their experiences with others easily by taking and sharing photos featuring their Mii using the Miifoto feature.

Nintendo’s new My Nintendo rewards program will launch alongside Miitomo in March 2016, and will be able to connect with Miitomo. A special Miitomo bonus will be offered to anyone in UK & Ireland that creates a Nintendo Account between 17th February and the launch of Miitomo in March. My Nintendo aims to become much more than a traditional rewards program. It is a more comprehensive service that rewards users for interacting with Nintendo products and services in a variety of ways. Miitomo users with a Nintendo Account will be able to take advantage of My Nintendo to enhance their experience.

Including Miitomo, Nintendo plans to release approximately five smart device applications by the end of March 2017.

More information about Miitomo, Nintendo Account and My Nintendo, will be available on https://miitomo.com/
in the coming weeks.

Train2Game News Reverse The Odds seeing success

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All 4 Games announced today that Reverse The Odds, a cancer cell analysis game commissioned by Channel 4 for the joint Stand Up To Cancer campaign with Cancer Research UK (CRUK), has had almost 4.5 million slides analysed by the public to date.

Inspired by the tremendous effort made by citizen scientists the world over; CRUK hope to reach their new target of 5 million analysed slides by the end of March 2016. In order to reach their new goal, they’re calling on the power of the public on World Cancer Day to help beat cancer sooner.

“Reverse The Odds is helping to expand an important cancer study that could shed light on how to treat certain types of bladder cancers more effectively. Thanks to the game, anyone can take an active role in fighting cancer. And with a target of 5 million images to analyse, I’d encourage as many people as possible to pick up their mobiles and do their bit for World Cancer Day by helping to bring kinder treatments to clinics, sooner.” -Dr Anne Kiltie, CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Raidiation Oncology at the University of Oxford, and leading researcher for Reverse The Odds.

The Emmy award-winning mobile title, which launched in October 2014, was developed in collaboration with Maverick Television’s Multiplatform team, Glasgow based developers Chunk Digital and CRUK. The game allows players to analyse real images of cancer cells, contributing to vital research being carried out by multiple researchers and scientists across the CRUK. Players directly help to speed up this normally time-consuming process by simply playing the game. Data is then fed back to those working to find new and kinder ways to fight the disease.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have reached this amazing new milestone in Reverse The Odds and can’t thank those enough who’ve contributed with their analysis so far” said Colin Macdonald, Channel 4’s Games Commissioner and Head of All 4 Games “Our new goal is to help CRUK reach the 5 million mark by the end of March, and with the help of our citizen scientists, we believe this can be achieved”

The game is available to download from the App Store, the Google Play Store on the Amazon Appstore for free now.

Train2Game News GameBlast16 almost here

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Gamers’ charity SpecialEffect have set the countdown clock running for GameBlast16, the UK’s biggest charity gaming weekend.

The event, held over the weekend of 26-28 February, is aiming to raise £150,000 to support the work of SpecialEffect, who help people with disabilities to access and benefit from video games.

Over 200 individuals and teams of gamers from around the world have already signed up to fundraise through their own gaming marathons and gaming events during the three days.

Many major names in the video games industry are backing the event, including GAME, Jagex, Twitch, Multiplay, FACEIT and ukie.

Both GAME and Jagex are planning 24-hour livestream events from their headquarters, with their streams featuring gaming personalities and giveaways. GAME will also be running a number of GameBlast16 fundraising initiatives in their 320 UK stores throughout February.

“GameBlast16 is going to be the biggest yet!” said Dr Mick Donegan, the charity’s CEO. “AND it’s the best excuse to game ever! The funds raised will enable us to help more people like Ben (http://bit.ly/14Chyt3), who never thought he’d be able to play video games again because his weakening condition stopped him using a standard controller.”

“GameBlast16 is an opportunity to bring together people to do what they love and level the playing field for people with disabilities at the same time.”

“There’s still time to get fully involved, and we’re inviting everyone from the global gaming community and industry to join us.”

More details about GameBlast16, including registration pages, can be found at http://www.specialeffect.org.uk/gameblast

Train2Game News First Year Games Tax Relief

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237 games approved for Video Games Tax Relief in 2015, BFI stats show

Stats released today by the BFI show that 237 games were approved for Video Games Tax Relief in 2015 with a total EEA/UK spend of £728.9m. 2015 is the first full year since their launch in April 2014.

A breakdown of these figures in Interim and Final certification is as follows:

Final – 116 games, EEA/UK spend £180.9m, Total budget £265.6m, EEA/UK is 68.1% of total budget

Interim – 121 games, EEA/UK spend £548m, Total budget £603.6m, EEA/UK is 90.8% of total budget

Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist responded to the stats, saying: “These figures show that the Video Games Tax relief is working to encourage strong growth in our sector. The high interim figures also indicate that this is only expected to show more growth in the coming months and years, with more culturally British games being created in the UK with a wider range of budgets.”

“Now that we have a clearer picture of the impact, with the full first year’s figures, Ukie would like further detail to be provided, starting with a regional breakdown of the numbers to show how VGTR is helping across the country. We are now undeniably in a stronger place thanks to VGTR. We have a level playing field with the rest of the world, and now we need to capitalise on that opportunity. Initiatives such as the Mayor-funded Games London plan and the London Games Festival, which will showcase why the UK is games capital of the world, are showing what we can achieve with the right support in place .”

The full report can be found here http://www.bfi.org.uk/sites/bfi.org.uk/files/downloads/bfi-british-film-other-screen-sector-certification-2015-2016-03-02.pdf with the stats for games on p.15.

Train2Game News Insomnia 57

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Multiplay, organiser of the UK’s largest gaming festival, Insomnia, and subsidiary of GAME Digital plc (“GAME Digital”), the UK’s leading video gaming specialist, is expecting the largest attendance at a Spring Insomnia Gaming Festival, with over 40,000 people looking to head down to the NEC Birmingham on Easter bank holiday weekend, 25-28 March.

Insomnia57 announces the very first host of special guests in the form of YouTube’s biggest gaming personalities, as TheSyndicateProject, AmyLee33, TheDiamondMinecart (DanTDM), Netty Plays, ECKOSOLDIER, The Gaming Terroriser, NoughtPointFour and Champwan are all present to participate on stage, either in panel discussions or live gameplay sessions, playing their favourite games.

“We’re delighted to welcome the return of YouTube’s biggest gaming stars to Insomnia, as they form a key cornerstone of the event with so many fans looking forward to seeing their heroes,” said Craig Fletcher Founder and CEO of Multiplay. “With the anticipation of Insomnia’s largest ever attendance, we’ll be seeing an even more fun and vibrant atmosphere, and we look to continue to deliver an enjoyable gaming experience for all attending across the event.”

More event information will be revealed in the weeks leading up to Insomnia57, from special guests with YouTube’s biggest stars, eSports tournaments, video games line-up in the exhibition hall, cosplay competition, goodies in the retail zone and much more.

Tickets for Insomnia57 are now on sale and can be purchased from the official website at https://insomniagamingfestival.com/tickets/.

Insomnia57 will take place at The NEC, Birmingham, 25-28 March, 2016. For more information, please visit the Insomnia Gaming Festival website https://insomniagamingfestival.com/