Train2Game News Play Sea Hero Quest To Aid Alzheimer’s Research UK

After a successful journey gathering data from 4.3 million participating players, the groundbreaking citizen science app Sea Hero Quest is now available for studies of cognition and spatial navigation.
 

Sea Hero Quest started out in 2016 as a consumer mobile game to help scientists understand navigational abilities across the life course. By building a picture of how navigation ability changes in the general population, players could contribute to research identifying changes characteristic of early Alzheimer’s disease.
 

Originally led by Deutsche Telekom alongside Alzheimer’s Research UK and leaders in gaming, technology, academia and research, the award-winning app quickly became a citizen science phenomenon.
 

Tim Parry, Director at Alzheimer’s Research UK, helped to bring the app to the public. He said: “We were really humbled by the response. It was more popular than we could ever have expected, and we ultimately collected data from over 117 years of combined game play. People from all over the world downloaded Sea Hero Quest and provided anonymised demographic information so that we now have an incredible wealth of data relating to navigation ability as we age.”
 

Although the consumer version was removed from app stores when the original project concluded, Alzheimer’s Research UK has once again partnered with game developers GLITCHERS, University College London, the University of East Anglia, and web developers BoldLight to create a bespoke version for researchers.
 

Parry continues: “While clearly we embarked on the project with dementia studies in mind, we want to mobilise this resource towards the greatest possible benefit for global research. The app is free for researchers in any field, and we have developed a highly-usable study administration dashboard, with guidance and support for those looking to use it in their studies.”
 

This new phase of the project aims to provide researchers with a controllable, sensitive, safe, and easy way to administer digital cognitive assessment of navigation ability. The system allows researchers to create and fully manage prospective studies, invite targeted groups of participants to play through an easily download from the Android or Apple app stores, and provides access to study participants’ data in real time.
 

Prof Hugo Spires from University College London collaborated in the development and validation of the Sea Hero Quest app. Prof Spires’ team has led the analysis of the anonymous player data. He said: “Our validation testing showed that performance in the game is strongly correlated with performance in real-world tasks. While data gathered from citizen science projects is inherently noisy compared to lab research, the unprecedented scale of the project so far means that our benchmarking data far exceeds the accuracy of previous research in this area.
 

“The citizen science element of this project has already revealed new insights into human spatial navigation at a planet-wide scale. We’ve found that these abilities are clustered according to economic wealth and gender inequalities globally, and this may have significant implications for cognitive testing in cross-cultural studies and multi-centre clinical trials.”
 

Prof Michael Hornberger from the University of East Anglia had the original idea for the project. Prof Hornberger has been leading on applying the platform to dementia research. He said: “While obvious difficulties navigating commonly occur alongside cognitive problems in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, emerging evidence suggested that subtle navigation changes can precede memory deficits by many years. Detecting these changes could potentially allow for earlier diagnosis and, ultimately, earlier intervention. The challenge we have is reliably distinguishing the navigation changes we see in healthy ageing from the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
 

“The data from the mass-market phase of Sea Hero Quest is now helping to overcome this. My team has used the platform to show that we can detect people who are at genetic risk of Alzheimer’s based on how they play the game. These are people without deficits in standard neuropsychological testing.
 

“We are still in the early stages of our work with Sea Hero Quest and what it can help us to learn about the early stages of dementia. I hope that other areas of medical and psychological research take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the new phase of the project so that we maximise the potential of this powerful platform for research.”
 

To find out more about how to use Sea Hero Quest for research visit: www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/seaheroquest

Train2Game News Pokémon TCG Live App

Today, The Pokémon Company International unveiled Pokémon TCG Live, a new app that allows Trainers to enjoy the Pokémon Trading Card Game in an updated digital format.

Releasing as a free-to-play game, Pokémon TCG Live also marks the first time that the Pokémon TCG will be playable on smartphones, in addition to tablets, PCs, and Macs.

  The announcement comes as The Pokémon Company International continues its yearlong celebration of the brand’s 25th anniversary by engaging fans with innovative Pokémon experiences and products.

  “As we look back on 25 wonderful years of Pokémon, we are once again reminded of how the Pokémon Trading Card Game has always been a strong pillar of the franchise and beloved by young and veteran Trainers alike,” said Barry Sams, Vice President of the Pokémon TCG at The Pokémon Company International. “Pokémon TCG Live will go hand in hand with the tabletop version that fans know and love, and welcomes a new era of digital play where Trainers around the world can play together regardless of their preferred platform.”

  Pokémon TCG Live is designed to be easy for beginners to learn how to play the game, while offering fresh challenges for existing players to improve and test their skills. Players will be able to enjoy some of their favourite Pokémon TCG activities, including building decks and battling other Trainers around the world. They will also be able to tailor their experience with customizable avatars and Pokémon TCG accessories, participate in daily quests, and more. In addition, Pokémon TCG Live will continue to be updated with new content and features following launch.

  Pokémon TCG Live will be coming soon to supported iOS and Android devices, as well as PCs and Macs via Pokemon.com. Trainers looking to preview the game prior to broad availability will be able to participate in the mobile soft launch in Canada and the global open beta for PCs and Macs later this year.

  For more information about Pokémon TCG Live, please visit Pokemon.co.uk/TCGL.

Train2Game News Final Fantasy IV Now Available On Steam And Mobile

SQUARE ENIX® today announced that the critically acclaimed RPG FINAL FANTASY® IV is now available worldwide for Steam® and mobile platforms.

Fans will relive FINAL FANTASY IV’s timeless story of love and betrayal, alongside dynamic characters and battles, with upgraded pixel graphics and audio as a faithful recreation in the 2D pixel remaster series.

The story follows Cecil, a dark knight and captain of the Red Wings, who decides to fight against the tyrannical Kingdom of Baron with his trusted friend and his paramour at his side, and later join forces with Kain the dragoon, Rosa the white mage, Rydia the summoner, and many more skilled allies. FINAL FANTASY IV set the standard for role-playing games with its diverse cast of characters, deep plot and real-time Active Time Battle (ATB) system, where time moves even during battle, giving the players an exciting sense of urgency. This latest version of FINAL FANTASY IV, brings the original release to life with improvements and updates, including:

  • Universally updated 2D pixel graphics redrawn for modern hardware, featuring iconic FINAL FANTASY character pixel designs created by the original artist and current collaborator, Kazuko Shibuya
  • Beautifully rearranged soundtracks, overseen by the original composer, Nobuo Uematsu
  • Improved gameplay, including updated controller and touch controls, modernized UI, auto-battle options and more
  • Quality-of-life improvements including supplemental extras like the bestiary, illustration gallery, music player and the ability to save at any time

Those who purchase FINAL FANTASY IV on Steam® by September 23 will receive early purchase bonuses, including three specially rearranged music tracks, two wallpapers, and a 20% discount. These special tracks transition from the iconic original versions to the new arrangements and include:

  • The Red Wings (Timelapse Remix)
  • Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY IV (Timelapse Remix)
  • Battle 2 (Timelapse Remix)

FINAL FANTASY IV is rated Everyone 10+ (E10+) and is now available on Steam® and mobile platforms. All six games within the pixel remaster series are available for purchase as part of the FINAL FANTASY I-VI Bundle for a further discount. More information on the bundle is available on Steam at: https://store.steampowered.com/bundle/21478.

Long-time fans and newcomers can look forward to additional details and the launch of FINAL FANTASY V and VI at a later date. Visit the official FINAL FANTASY pixel remaster series website for more information at: https://ffpixelremaster.com/

Train2Game News Tapjoy Reveals New Market Research On Parents Mobile Gaming

New market research from MobileVoice® by Tapjoy (www.tapjoy.com), a leading mobile advertising and app monetization company, shows that modern parents are far more tuned in and tech-savvy than their own parents were.

Because of their familiarity with the mobile ecosystem, they readily turn to their smartphones — particularly brand apps, social media, and rewarded ads — when it’s time to make a purchase.

This represents a major opportunity for advertisers who want to connect with the valuable parent demographic, according to Tapjoy’s report, Modern Mobile Gamer™ 2021: Parents Edition.

For the latest installment in Tapjoy’s Modern Mobile Gamer™ series, following the Gen Z Edition earlier this year, Tapjoy surveyed 5,498 of self-identified parent consumers in the United States.

Here are just a few of the insights that emerged:  

  • Parents love games, and mobile is their platform of choice. An incredible 90% of parents surveyed said they use mobile as a gaming platform, and 79% say games are one of their favorite mobile activities.
  • They shop on mobile because it’s convenient and saves time. Three quarters shop on mobile 1-4 times a week, and 73% cite convenience as a major factor.
  • Household spending is expected to increase as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. Nearly half of parents shopped on mobile more during the pandemic and plan to continue doing so. 56% said they planned to spend more on the winter holidays in 2021, while 47% are planning to spend more on back-to-school shopping.
  • The pandemic continues to have a lasting effect on mobile habits: 47% did more mobile shopping in 2020 and said they plan to continue doing so, while 83% played more mobile games and said they plan to continue.
  • When it comes to marketing, 51% of parents like to see humorous brand content. 25% of parents also prefer brand content to be educational, compared to 18% of non-parents.
  • Modern parents are very receptive to rewarded ads: 46% said it’s the type of ad format they most prefer to engage with, compared to 12% who prefer Instagram and 10% who prefer Facebook.

Additionally, Tapjoy’s latest report contains research and analysis about the modern family dynamic.

Only 55% of those surveyed are married, and today’s parents eschew stereotypical gender roles in favor of a more balanced approach to employment, childcare, and housework.

“Today’s parents are so much more aware of modern technology and trends than their own parents were,” said Lauren Baca, Senior Director of Marketing at Tapjoy.

“They grew up with the internet, so they’re well aware of what their kids are doing. They see smartphones as an essential tool that makes everything easier, from shopping to banking to monitoring the kids’ online activity. They have limited free time, so convenience is really important to them — we saw that meal kits and to-go food were especially popular mobile purchases in 2020. They like to unwind with mobile games at the end of the day, and they’re very receptive to rewarded ads thanks to the ease, convenience, and value they add to every transaction.”

The data in Modern Mobile Gamer™: Parents Edition was gathered from surveys run on the Tapjoy network in February and June 2021.

Responses were filtered to include all respondents who identified as United States residents and parents.

This report is the second in a series of four Modern Mobile Gamer™ 2021 e-books featuring key insights on Zoomers, Parents, Millennials, and Generation X. Modern Mobile Gamer™: Generation Z Edition is also available for download.

For more information on mobile advertising and app monetization you can go to https://www.tapjoy.com/

Train2Game News 2021 Pocket Gamer Mobile Award Winners

MiHoYo’s Genshin Impact took home the biggest prize as it scooped Game of the Year at Steel Media’s fourth annual and industry-leading Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards, supported by Game Insight, held last week.

The ceremony saw the action role-playing title also awarded Best Audio/Visual Accomplishment, while Tencent and TiMi Studio Group secured Best Publisher and Best Developer, respectively.
Innovation of the Year went to Niantic for its ingenious reworking of augmented reality hit Pokémon Go for the 2020 lockdown, Pollen VC was voted Best Service Provider, and Supercell’s Clash Royale conquered the opposition to the Best Live Ops trophy.

As ever the event, which in this pandemic-affected year took place later than its traditional January slot and adopted a hybrid live/digital format hosted by London’s Ham Yard Hotel, aimed to shine a spotlight on the work of the top mobile games companies over the previous year.

Further highlights from the night included the Rising Star award, shared – an event first – by Jana and Sham Al Bdour of Sakura Games, Unity continuing its Best Game Engine dominance with a fourth win in as many years, and Jam City CEO Chris DeWolfe joining the ranks of Mobile Legend.

The coveted People’s Choice Award, nominated for and voted on by readers of Steel Media’s leading consumer site, PocketGamer.com, went to Tilting Point’s SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off.

“We believe the MGAs have a vital role to play in recognising the efforts and achievements of the entire ecosystem that makes mobile gaming the best industry in the world,” said Steel Media CEO, Chris James.

“This is doubly important considering the forced disconnects of the last 16 months and also the incredible role that the mobile games industry has paid not just in contributing to the economy and keeping people in jobs, but moreover in keeping billions of citizens feeling a little more connected and engaged.”

As the full winner breakdown below demonstrates, the 22 categories (including three new additions this year) represent firms spanning the whole industry, from the games developers and publishers to the tools companies, service providers, support agencies, investors and recruiters that all contribute towards this $90 billion sector being the largest and most pervasive in gaming.

After the lobbying and shortlisting phases – the biggest and most complex to date – which took place from March to May, the finalists were subsequently voted on throughout June by our panel of 100-plus mobile games experts from every corner of the industry.

Steel Media is hugely grateful to everyone who took the time to submit themselves, their colleagues, company, or contemporaries, as well as everyone who attended the ceremony itself during these tricky times – whether in person or digitally.

Additionally, we would like to thank main sponsor Game Insight, together with Admix, Huawei Ads, Jam City, Scopely and Tilting Point for coming on board as category sponsors – their support helped make the event a success in a particularly challenging year.

And last but by no means least, congratulations to all the finalists – it really was a hard-fought affair this year – and, of course, the heartiest of praise to the winners themselves.

More info on all things PG Mobile Games Awards at the official website:
www.mobilegamesawards.com

Train2Game News AR Witcher Mobile Game Released

Available now for free on iOS and Android, The Witcher: Monster Slayer is a brand new game set in The Witcher universe.

Developed and published by Spokko, the game challenges players to take on the role of a freshly trained witcher adept and step out into a dark fantasy realm using only their mobile phone.

Using advanced AR features, as well as their location and the time of day, players will be able to hunt down over 100 witcher-world monsters both old and new.

Watch the live-action launch trailer — Your Hunt Begins

By logging in to the game no later than July 28th, 11:59 PM CEST, Android and iOS users will find the Kaer Morhen Steel Sword in their inventory. This weapon increases the number of Experience Points gained from killing monsters by 10%, and will surely aid new witchers beginning their journey on the Path.

Download the game for free

The Witcher: Monster Slayer is available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play. For more information, please visit the official website and follow the game on Facebook and Twitter.

Train2Game News Hypercasual Heroes Mobile Game Funding

Kwalee, a world-leading developer and publisher of hypercasual mobile games, has launched ‘Hypercasual Heroes’ to reward independent game developers making compelling and original mobile titles with up to $100,000 in advances and a publishing deal including substantial uncapped profit share.

There is even a Tesla Model 3 up for grabs for the first dev to pass the challenge!
 

With the limited-time challenge open for submissions until 31st August 2021, Kwalee is particularly looking for mobile games that feature new gameplay mechanics or ingenious twists on existing ones. This is in-keeping with Kwalee’s DNA, with many key figures at the company – including CEO David Darling and COO Jason Falcus – having begun their game development careers independently as teenagers and remaining passionate about the new strides being taken by independent developers worldwide.
 

Hypercasual games are titles which can be played in short bursts and have incredibly broad appeal, not just among traditional ‘gamers’, so hitting upon that combination of gameplay and visuals to entice all kinds of players will be the key for developers to become bonafide Hypercasual Heroes.
 

“One of the most satisfying aspects of hypercasual game development is that such a great variety of themes and gameplay styles can make for global hits with millions of players,” said Kwalee CEO David Darling.

“We’re always looking to develop titles that are completely unlike what’s been seen before and now we’re investing heavily in encouraging other developers to do the same with Hypercasual Heroes. We don’t even need to see a full game – just a video or a few levels can be enough to see a game’s potential!”
 

Kwalee’s Hypercasual Heroes is open until 31st August 2021. Full information on how to submit a game and potentially earn the aforementioned awards can be found on our website: https://kwalee.com/blog/inside-kwalee/introducing-hypercasual-heroes
 

Train2Game News Contra Returns

Contra Returns, a new addition to the legendary KONAMI run-and-gun action franchise Contra, is available for pre-registration on mobile devices starting today.

Developed by TiMi Studio Group and KONAMI, Contra Returns will be bringing a fresh twist to the iconic retro arcade shooter. Players can pre-register on Google Play and the Apple Store today to gain exclusive rewards.

Contra Returns will be launching on July 26.

Contra Returns brings fans of the franchise an authentic new take on the Contra series, enhanced with all new graphics, gameplay upgrades, and more. New characters, storylines and customizable weapons allow players to unlock skills and conquer the battlefield with the same thrill of the arcade originals.

Contra Returns offers over 200 levels, new game modes including One Life Mode, 1v1, and 3v3 modes, player and equipment upgrades and customization, and more, creating the ultimate Contra experience!

For more information on Contra Returns, visit https://www.contrareturnsm.com/en/ and follow on Twitter @ContraReturns_

Train2Game News Discover Mobile Gaming Trends With PickFu

Consumer research platform PickFu has released a fresh update designed to help mobile app and game marketers.

PickFu has added a host of new features including a redesigned dashboard, improved tagging, and a bank of pre-written poll questions based on the thousands of polls already run by users of the online service. With these improvements, game developers can collect hundreds of responses in minutes.

Due to Apple’s recent introduction of App Tracking Transparency (ATT), app marketers can no longer rely as heavily on programmatic advertising to drive installations and acquire new users. It’s more important than ever for mobile game publishers to test and refine their marketing to give their apps the best possible chance of being downloaded and played. 

Hundreds of mobile game publishers, including the industry’s biggest, already use PickFu to test game names and logos, character designs and art styles, gameplay mechanics, app icons and screenshots, and mobile advertising creatives. 

Unlike A/B testing, where variations of an ad are shown to different users to see which performs better, PickFu gives companies a quick and easy way to gather useful feedback from real consumers, drawn from thousands of poll respondents based in the U.S.

“Before Apple’s changes, game publishers were already using PickFu as part of their development and post-launch marketing alongside other testing methods. Now, with the mobile advertising landscape currently in a state of flux, testing and improvement is even more important for UA strategies, said John Li, PickFu co-founder. “The new features we’ve added make it easier than ever for even novice app marketers to gather feedback and understand their audiences.”

Founded in 2008, PickFu helps businesses make better informed decisions. To date, over 110,000 PickFu polls have collected more than 3.2 million written consumer responses across industries including publishing, e-commerce, app development, insurance, and marketing. 

For more information on PickFu’s new features, visit https://pickfu.com/blog/all-new.

Train2Game News NieR Re[in]carnation Pre-Registration Open Now

SQUARE ENIX® and Applibot, Inc. today announced that pre-registration for the North American, European and Korean version of NieR Re[in]carnation, the first mobile title in the NieR series, is now live in select regions*.

Bringing together an all-star team including creative director YOKO TARO, composer Keiichi Okabe from MONACA and producer Yosuke Saito, the Action Command RPG NieR Re[in]carnation tells the story of a girl who awakens in a mysterious place known as The Cage. Guided by a creature who calls herself Mama, the girl sets off on a journey through The Cage to reclaim what she has lost and to atone for her sins.

A new promotional video for the title can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/m7WPrDc7i4w

Players can pre-register* through the AppStore and Google Play now.

Those who pre-register through the Google Play Store may be randomly selected to participate in an upcoming closed beta test.

Further details will be disclosed later on the official NieR Re[in]carnation social pages. Additional pre-registration information can be found here: https://nierreincarnation.com/preregistration/.

Additionally, by reaching 300,000 pre-registrants, all players will receive 3,000 gems upon the game’s release, allowing them to complete one 10x Summon for free.

Fans of the NieR series can also jump into NieR Replicant™ ver.1.22474487139…, the re-telling of NieR Replicant for modern consoles, which is now available on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X, and PC (Steam®). NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is rated M (Mature). Complete details on all editions of the game are available at: http://www.niergame.com.

  NieR Re[in]carnation will be available as a free download with in-app purchases on iOS and Android devices. Text will be supported in English and Korean. For more information, please visit: https://nierreincarnation.com.