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Train2Game News Big numbers at EGX 2016

Over 75,000 gamers attended EGX at Birmingham’s NEC to take part in the biggest and the best gaming show in the UK.
Hosted in partnership with Virgin Media, the show boasted over 200 playable games, the largest showcase of indie games in the world and a host of global first-play exclusives including Bethesda’s Dishonored 2 and Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee.

UK hands-on exclusives included the recently unveiled PlayStation 4 Pro and blockbuster games such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Gears of War 4, Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, Final Fantasy XV, Horizon: Zero Dawn and more – all playable and pre-release. EGX is now securely established as the most important date in the UK calendar for developers to exhibit their latest games and for gamers to experience them for the first time.

EGX has also grown as a place to reveal new games and features, with this year’s show hosting announcements of the next titles from Square Enix Collective and Failbetter Games, and Shovel Knight’s appearance in Yooka-Laylee. Popular elements of the show included multiple eSports stages and tournaments such as the GFinity $100,000 Counter-Strike: GO invitational and the UK’s only Premier Event on the Capcom Pro Tour, as well as the UK Preliminaries for the European Cosplay Gathering.

The show’s official retail partner Amazon offered ultra-fast delivery via Prime Now to the show floor, ensuring that gaming fans could instantly purchase and pre-order games and hardware more conveniently than ever before.

“We’re delighted with the feedback from attendees who loved the introduction of Scan & Buy on the Amazon app for a convenient way to buy and pre-order games and hardware across this leading gaming event“ said Russell Jones, Video Games & Software Category Leader, Amazon.co.uk

“This was the first time we have offered Amazon Prime customers delivery of products via Prime Now direct to any event, and the service which enabled attendees to order games and consoles was very well received.”

It was not just consumers that turned up in huge numbers as media attendance reached record levels. Hundreds of journalists from all sectors of the media were present and the event attracted national coverage from mainstream outlets such as BBC News, Newsbeat and Newsround, The Mirror and the Sunday Times. Hundreds of influencers including YouTube superstars Syndicate, The Yogscast and Outside Xbox were also in attendance to meet and greet thousands of their delighted fans.

Rupert Loman, CEO of EGX’s parent company Gamer Network added, “EGX 2016 was our biggest and best show yet. I’d like to say thank you to all of our partners, sponsors and exhibitors for helping create another outstanding experience for UK gamers – and of course I must thank the community for making the event so special. Next year will be the 10th anniversary for EGX and we are already planning to mark that milestone with something even more spectacular”.

The next EGX event is EGX Rezzed, taking place at Tobacco Dock in London from March 30th to April 1st 2017. Irrational Games founder Ken Levine has already been announced as the keynote speaker, and tickets are now on sale at www.egx.net/rezzed.

Train2Game News UKIE Board Election Results

Ukie formally announced the results of its 2016-17 Board election at the trade body’s AGM at EGX.
Veronique Lallier, VP European Publishing at High-Rez Studios, makers of eSports title Smite, joins the Board this year, along with six re-elected Directors.

Andy Payne, CEO of AppyNation, Rocket Lolly’s Ella Romanos, Ian Livingstone, Chair of Playmob, Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson and Curve Digital’s Stuart Dinsey will serve another two-year term and Noirin Carmody, Co-Founder and COO of Revolution Software, resumes her role as Chair of the Board for a second year.

It was also announced that Dave Gould, Senior Director of Sales UK & Export, Take Two Interactive, will take the Board Treasurer role.

Forty-two per cent of Ukie’s eligible voting membership voted in the election, which means the Board consists of 21 leading members of the games industry tasked with shaping Ukie’s strategy over the next two years. You can see the full list of the Ukie Board here.

Ukie also used the AGM to call for games companies to support the innovative Digital Schoolhouse programme, which launched nationwide last week, thanks to a new partnership with PlayStation.

The inspiring STEAM-driven computing education initiative is now active in 19 schools across the country, following a hugely successful pilot year in London. The first academic year of the national roll-out is expected to reach 15,000 school children with its unique play-based learning model that inspires children at a young age, especially girls, and equips teachers with creative computing resources and ways of teaching.

Warwick Light, MD & VP, UK & Ireland of lead Digital Schoolhouse partner, SIEE, called for more games companies across the UK to adopt their local schools to become Digital Schoolhouses, to strengthen bonds between industry and education and to help create new engaging ways to inspire children to learn digital skills.

If you are interested in hearing more about The Digital Schoolhouse, powered by PlayStation, or are interested in sponsoring your local secondary school, speak to programme director, Shahneila.

The AGM also saw the launch of The UK Games Map, a new interactive map platform created in partnership between Ukie and Nesta, the innovation foundation. The UK Games Map is the first complete dataset of the UK games industry, designed to chart the size, scale and geography of the sector using an automated Big Data approach.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said, “This has been a big year for Ukie, for the industry, and for the UK and we are proud to launch two key initiatives at our AGM – the UK Games Map and the call for games businesses to sponsor their local Digital Schoolhouse. These initiatives would not happen without the support of the Ukie Board who have the sector’s best interest at heart, and to the Ukie team, as well as our extensive network of members. I’m delighted to welcome back re-elected Board members and also welcome Veronique. I look forward to working with the Board and team to navigate big changes in the political landscape in the coming year, and making sure that the UK remains the best place to be making games.”

Noirin Carmody, Chair of Ukie, Co-Founder and COO of Revolution Software, said: “I’m pleased to welcome back familiar faces to the Board, and also to welcome Veronique to her new role. The announcement of the UK Games Map and the Digital Schoolhouse, powered by PlayStation, today, exemplify the hard work of the Ukie team and Board over the previous 12 months, and I am proud to be launching these in my first AGM as Chair. I am looking forward to another productive and successful year working with the new team.”

Train2Game News PLAY Expo Manchester gaming stages

PLAY Expo Manchester, the largest video game expo in the North of England, announced today a series of specialist gaming stages that will feature for the duration of the expo and provide visitors with a weekend of non-stop gaming attractions!
Taking place at EventCity, Manchester, October 8th and 9th, PLAY Expo will have the gaming stages running in addition to the latest games to play, the Red Bull 5G Tournament, VR attractions, merchandising stalls, table-top gaming area, retro-gaming action and so much more, providing a packed schedule of entertainment, with unmissable, interactive attractions for gamers everywhere.

Powered by WiFi Wars and Gamerdisco, the Main Stage will play host to an unrivalled array of industry panels, talks, and perhaps most exciting of all, visitors will have the opportunity to take part in the legendary, multiplayer live show Wifi Wars! Winner of the Time Out coveted ‘Not to be Missed’ award and hailed as a Top Ten ‘Geek Night Out’ by Metro, WiFi Wars is hosted by Steve McNeil (Dara O’Briain’s: Go 8-Bit) and Chris Slight (Sky News) and promises a mad-cap show full of comedy and interactive gaming for all ages!

The Fighting Stage powered by MBA (Manchester Battle Arena) offers a chance for visitors to take part in fighting game tournaments throughout the weekend. With exhibition and casual play available, gaming pugilists can practise to their hearts content and if they’re feeling brave, for a small entry fee of just £5, enter the tournament for their chance to win a share of the £500 prize pot available!

Powered by the prestigious online audio magazine and podcast, The Sound Architect, The Sound Stage plans to offer a fascinating insight into the world of gaming audio, with an eclectic mix of panels, presentations, Q&A’s and much more. Guests to the stage include the award winning, BAFTA nominated composer David Housden, Voice Actor Jay Britton (heard recently in The Turing Test), Sound Designer for the VR phenomenon Eve: Valkyrie, Ash Read and Matt Griffin, composer of Unbox from Prospect Games.

PLAY Expo warmly invites Cosplay fans of Great Britain and beyond to the show! Powered by Rock BandTM Rivals from Harmonix®, the Rock Band Rivals Cosplay Stage will be hosting a number of events throughout the weekend including a masquerade on both days with prizes for the best characters as chosen by our panel of judges! In addition, guests to the expo will have the opportunity to build-a-band and take part in the Rock Band Rivals tournament, as well as previewing the new game before general release! Cosplay specialists Dark Cleo Productions will be organising the stage events and running the Cosplay masquerade. Bound to be the most eye-opening part of PLAY Expo, plenty of press and magazine photographers will be at the event, and the expo encourages everyone to come in character should they feel so inclined!

“As we get ever closer to PLAY Expo, gamers can see just how busy a weekend we are planning for the event, certain to be our biggest expo ever,” said Andy Brown, Director for Replay Events. “We’re so excited to be offering gamers the chance to play the latest games, but that’s only part of the picture. At PLAY Expo, we’re offering so much more to see and do, providing a compelling and truly unmissable weekend of gaming based entertainment for fans of all ages.”

Returning for its fifth year, PLAY Expo Manchester is a highly popular two-day video game event, ideal for all the family and offering visitors an unrivalled experience with features, tournaments, exhibitors, industry guests, panels and so much more. Celebrating gaming and popular culture, the expo uniquely caters for casual fans and dedicated gamers alike and promises to be an event not to be missed.

For more information on PLAY Expo Manchester 2016, please visit: http://www.playexpomanchester.com/

Train2Game News Oculus Rift available at GAME 

The highly-anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) system is now available at GAME.
With great offers, demos and expertise, GAME will be the best place on the high-street and online for gamers to get into VR. There will be no better deal on the high street thanks to GAME’s trade-in and finance packages and in addition GAME Reward customers will earn 2 per cent credit on every purchase, earning over £10 back on Oculus Rift.

Instore demos* with GAME experts can be booked online and will allow gamers to both sample immersive gaming, and receive advice on making sure their PC and home set-up will deliver the very best experience.

*Oculus Rift demo experiences are available at the following stores from the dates listed. Demos can be booked through Oculus Live:

·         GAME Manchester Trafford, intu Trafford Centre, M17 8DF                                   22nd Sept

·         GAME West Thurrock, Lakeside Shopping Centre, Essex, RM20 2ZQ       23rd Sept

·         GAME Metro Centre, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE11 9YG                       23rd Sept

·         GAME Bluewater, Kent, DA9 9SP                                                                 23rd Sept

·         GAME Glasgow (Union St), Glasgow, G1 3RB                                             23rd Sept

·         GAME Nottingham (Victoria), Victoria Centre, NG1 3QN                             24th Sept

·         GAME Stratford, Westfield, London, E15 2EN                                              24th Sept

·         GAME Watford, Harlequin Shopping Centre, WD17 2TH                             24th Sept

·         GAME Merry Hill, Merry Hill Centre, West Midlands, DY5 1SR                   25th Sept

·         GAME Cardiff, Capital Retail Park, CF11 8AZ                                              25th Sept

Check out www.game.co.uk for more details

Train2Game News Playkey Cloud Gaming

Gaming as we know it is about to change, as an exciting and new cloud gaming service, Playkey, has launched in the UK.
Turning gaming on its head, Playkey provides PC gamers with the technology they need to play the blockbuster titles they adore, but with the hardware they can all afford.

How? Well, Playkey delivers top quality video streaming through powerful gaming servers, allowing millions of PC owners across the UK to play the best-selling games on virtually any PC, Mac or laptop.

Whether you choose to explore the many kingdoms and cities as the witcher Geralt in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, or play as the Sole Survivor in Fallout 4, there is a game to suit the tastes of both MMO and hard-core gamers. With over 20 triple-A titles currently available and the site being updated each month, Playkey subscribers will be spoilt for choice.

Playkey is at the forefront of cloud gaming technology, utilising technology almost similar to services such as Gaikai. It provides players with digital download model and a cloud PC rent to suit their gaming needs and once registered you receive access to a handful of free-to-download games and can purchase the latest chart-topping games at retail price.

With subscriptions starting from £0.90 for 1 hour and £9 for 1 month of access, Playkey is the only service which offers a solution to launch games straight after their official PC-release. Furthermore, games previously owned can also be launched on Playkey, if the game is already available on the service.

Egor Gurjev, CEO at Playkey, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be launching Playkey in the UK and our goal is to bring high-quality gaming to everyone, not just those with high-specification PCs. The gaming industry is constantly evolving and growing. We want to provide gaming fans the games they love, without the worry of their technology letting them down.”

A launch demo period is currently available for free and all games are available “as is” with all of their specific features, including multiplayer, social features and achievements.

Playkey is available for Windows and MacOS and for more information please visit www.playkey.net

Train2Game News RPG Creator on iOS

RPG Creator is coming to iOS on September 25.
Degica Games is pleased to announce a new mobile RPG creation tool is coming soon to iOS! 

Finally players can create RPGs on the go with RPG Creator. This unique app will have players building maps, creating non-playable characters and monsters, fighting epic battles, and sharing creations with the world in no time at all!

Features:

·         Create villages, castles, caves, world maps and more with the Map Editor

·         Easily create events and bring the RPG to life

·         Extensive Database allows players to modify and customize their game

·         Default resources and assets to get players started or they can import their own

·         Play Games made by other users or upload your own creations

RPG Creator will be available on September 25, 2016 on iOS for both iPhone and iPad and will be Free to Play with a Premium version available.

Train2Game News National Videogame Foundation

A pioneering new not-for-profit organisation has today been launched in Nottingham, UK.

The National Videogame Foundation exists to celebrate, preserve and interpret videogames for everyone. Through its pioneering work in curation, exhibition and public engagement, it rediscovers the past and creates a valuable legacy for the future.  The Foundation aims to inspire new people to make videogames, start new conversations about them, and find new ways in which they can contribute to culture, society and education.

Based at the acclaimed National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, the Foundation will work across four key areas : events, heritage, education and policy-making.

As well as delivering the annual  GameCity festival and operating the National Videogame Arcade, the new Foundation will also be concentrating on education and public advocacy work.

Later this year, in collaboration with the Times Educational Supplement, the Foundation is staging the first in a series of ‘subject summits’, bringing together educators with experts to explore ways in which videogames can be used to enhance  learning. These unique events will result in the creation of new teaching and learning resources to apply videogames to other curriculum areas in addition to the more expected STEM subjects.

In collaboration with Arts Council England, the foundation will be delivering further on the ‘Continue’ conference and network, launched earlier this year. This project brings together national arts and culture organisations with videogame creators, closing the gap of understanding between them.

“We’re tremendously excited to be able to finally announce the National Videogame Foundation to the World. It’s something we’re very passionate about, but we couldn’t have imagined being able to launch it with a stronger set of partners and activities,” said  Director, Iain Simons.

Iain continued, “We’ve got some of the most experienced names in the industry working with us right alongside some of the most exciting new ones. We’re going to ensure that the work we produce is truly reflective of the growing diversity of videogames, in terms of players, makers and content.”

Carl Cavers, CEO of Sumo Digital is a key investor in the new Foundation. He said, “One of the main reasons Sumo were attracted to Nottingham was the NVA and GameCity. It’s great to be able to play a part not just in securing its position as a unique destination in the City, but also to be helping to build its future plans and make it useful for the cultural future of games. It’s a great moment for the industry.”

The foundation launches with a stellar set of founding patrons already attached, helping the foundation to realise its ambitions.  Sumo Digital, Epic Games, Playground Games, Kevin Patterson, Boneloaf, William Pugh, Chucklefish and  Vlambeer have all invested at this founding stage.

Ian Livingstone CBE, games industry legend, Foundation investor and member of the non-executive board said, “I am tremendously excited to be involved in the creation of the National Videogame Foundation. Having watched videogames grow and flourish as an industry – and as an art form – this is a vital moment for videogames’ cultural confidence.

Nottingham has already shown itself to be the cultural capital of videogames with the GameCity festival and our very own ‘National Gallery’ in the form of the National Videogame Arcade. Given these achievements, it is only fitting that this new, not-for-profit organisation should grow out of the same soil and continue to spread this pioneering message to as many people as possible.  

What excites me most about the National Videogame Foundation is its commitment to taking its work out into the real world. Through its education programmes, gallery interpretation and cultural policy development, Iain Simons and his team will continue to work tirelessly to engage everyone in the value of this most vital of contemporary art forms. We’ve got an amazing set of founder-patrons on board already and I urge all my colleagues in the games industry, and frankly anyone who cares about the past, present and future of videogames, to support this landmark initiative.”

Rami Ismail of famed developer Vlambeer said, “Having been a regular attendee of the GameCity festival over the years, it was an easy decision to invest and become a patron of the new foundation. The festival is a phenomenally inclusive event, and brings creators from around the world together to showcase and experience pioneering cultural work. Vlambeer is excited to be part of the future of the event.”

You can find out more details about becoming a patron of the National Videogame Foundation along with many other opportunities to support or get involved, at www.thenationalvideogamefoundation.org

Train2Game News Games on Atari Flashback and Genesis Classic Game Console

AtGames® Digital Media Inc., a leader in interactive entertainment products, today revealed the official game lists for the Atari Flashback 7 and Genesis Classic Game Console.  
Each console includes an extensive selection of classic Atari and Sega games, respectively, as well as new favorites.  The latest versions of these popular TV-based systems will be available from top retailers starting in October 2016.

“We are delighted to announce the official game lists for the latest releases of our popular Atari Flashback and Genesis Classic Game Console hardware series,” said Dr. Ping-Kang Hsiung, CEO of AtGames.

“These new products showcase the best classic Atari and Sega Genesis games, while still offering superior expandability.”

The Atari Flashback 7 and Sega Genesis Classic Game Console are both part of the AtGames Flashback Zone (AFZ; Facebook:www.facebook.com/ATGFlashback/ and Twitter: twitter.com/atgflashback), the go-to hub for retro gaming. 

Other innovative products that are part of AFZ include Atari Flashback Portable, Sega Genesis Ultimate Portable Game Player, and Atari Flashback Classics Volume 1 and Volume 2, two console titles newly released in mid October.

The Atari Flashback 7 classic game console features 101 built-in favorites. These games include legends like Frogger and Space Invaders™, as well as all-time Atari 2600 classics like Asteroids®, Centipede™, Jungle Hunt, Missile Command®, and Pong. Two wireless controllers, styled after the Atari 2600 originals, are included, as well as two legacy controller ports for optional wired joysticks or paddles.

The Sega Genesis Classic Game Console features 80 built-in games and an integrated cartridge port to play almost all of your favorite Sega Genesis and Mega Drive classics. Celebrating Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary, a selection of the era’s best Sonic games are included, along with all-time favorites like Mortal Kombat I, II, III and Golden Axe. New for 2016 is save game support for the included Phantasy Star series and Sword of Vermillion role-playing games. Again, two wireless controllers, styled after the Sega Genesis originals, are included, as well as two legacy controller ports for optional wired gamepads.

The official game list for the Atari Flashback 7 can be found here and the official game list for the Sega Genesis Classic Game Console can be found here.

Atari Flashback 7 and Sega Genesis Classic Game Console are available at all major retailers from October 2016.

Train2Game News Assassin’s Creed Ezio Collection

​Today, Ubisoft® announced that Assassin’s Creed® The Ezio Collection will be available on November 17th for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One. 
Fans of the series and new players alike can relive the adventures of legendary Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze as the franchise’s most celebrated games come to current generation consoles. 

Assassin’s Creed has become one of the most popular video game franchises of all time, with more than 100 million copies sold to date. The series’ compelling, innovative gameplay, rich narrative and detailed, historically-accurate open world environments have spawned a passionate, global fan following. As players’ interest in Assassin’s Creed has grown, Ubisoft has expanded into Assassin’s Creed-themed books, comics, and short films, and is now set to release a major motion picture on January 1st, 2017 in the UK.

“This is a huge milestone for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, but we believe the best is yet to come,” says Etienne Allonier, Brand Director for Assassin’s Creed. “Having seen what’s gone into the movie and into future Assassin’s Creed games, we think fans and newcomers alike will be excited by everything Assassin’s Creed has to offer.”

Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection includes the acclaimed single-player campaigns and single-player add-ons for Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed Revelations, with enhanced graphics for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Telling an epic three-part story of vengeance, intrigue, and romance, Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection lands on shelves this holiday for gamers who want to relive the Renaissance and experience the thrilling adventures of Ezio in Florence, Venice, Rome, and Constantinople, or newcomers stepping into the world of Assassins and Templars for the first time.

The Assassin’s Creed series tells the tale of the centuries-old battle between Assassins and Templars through rich storylines and captivating characters. Assassin’s Creed is an action-adventure series set in fully realised open worlds throughout notable times in history such as the Third Crusade, the Golden Age of Pirates and the Industrial Revolution. Using the infamous hidden blade and other tools and weapons specific to the time period, players will fight for the greater good from the rooftops in Italy to the shores of Cuba through the core tenets the series is known for: combat, stealth, navigation and parkour.

In addition to the single-player content, Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection includes the complete Assassin’s Creed Lineage and Assassin’s Creed Embers short films, giving a clearer glimpse into the background of the dashing yet dangerous Ezio Auditore da Firenze, from beginning to end.

Additionally, Ubisoft announced the release of the Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection Collector’s Case. Exclusive to Uplay Shop the Collector’s Case brings back souvenirs from the Auditore Family crypt. Along with the game, players will discover a set of exclusive lithographies, the game’s official soundtrack, featuring a selection of 40 tracks from the three games, and an exclusive Black Edition collectible bust of Ezio Auditore.

Train2Game News Women in Games New Ambassadors

Women in Games, the not for profit, games industry diversity organisation, today announced the names of the first companies to be appointed as Corporate Ambassadors.
Women in Games is recruiting a number of Corporate as well as individual Ambassadors to support the growth of the Women in Games organisation, to help the organisation increase the reach and scale of its programmes and help it achieve the strategic goal of doubling the number of women in games over 10 years.

The first 4, founding corporate Ambassadors are:

Io-Interactive from Copenhagen, Denmark

Paradox Interactive from Stockholm, Sweden

Techland from Wroclaw and Warsaw, Poland

Wooga from Berlin, Germany

Ambassadors will reach out to women in all cities and regions of the UK and Europe and grow the Women in Games network. They will reach out to young women at school and university to encourage them to consider the games industry as a career. They will also reach out to regional leaders and governments to form corporate partnerships and long term strategic relationships.

Corporate Ambassadors are leading games companies in Europe with a professional standing in their country and a commitment to engage and promote more diversity.

At last week’s European Women in Games Conference representative from the four companies were invited on stage to introduce their companies. Pictured with David Smith from Women in Games are Henriette Lønn Jenssen, Junior Sound Designer and Sidsel Marie Hermansen, Game Designer from IO Interactive, John Hargelid, CIO from Paradox Interactive and Marie-Blanche Stossinger from Wooga. Also present but not pictured was Paulina Basta, Head of HR from Techland.

“I am convinced that only the most diverse team can deliver the best possible product for our global audience”, commented Jens Begemann, founder & CEO, Wooga. “We’re honoured to serve as a corporate ambassador for Women in Games and are looking forward to supporting the many extremely talented women we already have in our industry as well as showcasing the games industry as an excellent career option for girls and young women.”

Nikola Nielsen, HR Manager at Io-Interactive commented: “We are delighted to be able to support Women in Games and help promote diversity in our wonderful industry to the next generation of game creators. This is a great initiative and one we are very passionate about.” 

Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive said “Our philosophy is that by bringing people with different backgrounds, competences, experiences and ideas together, we will continue to grow as a successful industry. An industry that today is present in every aspect of society.”

Paulina Basta, Head of HR at Techland commented: “Techland is very proud to be a part of this Women in Games initiative. Diversity and inclusion topics are very close to our hearts and we are eager to promote the idea in our company and our part of the world.”

David Smith, Founder of Women in Games, said: “Women in Games is delighted to partner with these 4 Founding Corporate Ambassadors. We look forward to working with these companies to further diversity across Europe in the months and years ahead.”