Train2Game News Middle-earth Shadow of War

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced Middle-earth: Shadow of War™.
Shadow of War is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor™, winner of more than 50 industry awards, including 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards’ Game of the Year, Outstanding Innovation in Gaming at the 2015 D.I.C.E. Awards and the BAFTA for Game Design. Developed by Monolith Productions, Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ features an original story with the return of Talion and Celebrimbor, who must go behind enemy lines to forge an army and turn all of Mordor against the Dark Lord, Sauron.

The official Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ Announcement Trailer can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/sPhOCXzLBKA

In Middle-earth: Shadow of War™, players wield a new Ring of Power and confront the deadliest of enemies, including Sauron and his Nazgul, in a monumental battle for Middle-earth. The open-world action-adventure game is brought to life through the expansion of the award-winning Nemesis System. The robust personalization from the first game is now applied to the entire world where the environments and characters are all shaped by player actions and decisions, creating a personal world unique to every gameplay experience. 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ will be available for Xbox One, Project Scorpio, Windows 10 PC (Windows Store and Steam™), PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®4 Pro beginning 25 August, 2017. Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ will be available as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.

“Monolith Productions continues to innovate by introducing deeper, more personalised gameplay experiences, coupled with authentic storytelling,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ truly drives the genre forward by taking the Nemesis System to new heights and allowing players to create their own personal journey within Middle-earth.”

“Following the amazing reception to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor™, we massively expanded every dimension of the game, including the world, the story, the RPG systems, the core gameplay and of course the personal player stories of the Nemesis System,” said Michael de Plater, Vice President, Creative, Monolith Productions. “As lifelong fans of Middle-earth, we are so grateful to have the privilege to bring to life the most incredible fantasy world ever created in a new way, for a new generation. With Middle-earth: Shadow of War™, we can’t wait to see the amazing stories players are going to create and share.”

The innovative Nemesis System created unique personal stories through procedurally-generated enemies who remember every encounter and are differentiated by their personality, strengths and weaknesses. Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ expands this innovation with the introduction of Followers who bring about entirely new stories of loyalty, betrayal and revenge. The Nemesis System is also expanded to create a unique personal world through Nemesis Fortresses, which allows players to utilize different strategies to conquer dynamic strongholds and create personalized worlds with their unique Orc army.

Set between the events of The Hobbit™ and The Lord of the Rings™, Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ continues the original narrative of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor™. Players will be engrossed in a richer, more personal and expansive world full of epic heroes and villains, iconic locations, original enemy types, even more personalities and a new cast of characters with untold stories.

As an Xbox Play Anywhere title, players can purchase a digital version of Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ once and play it on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. Gamers can pick up where they left off on another Xbox One or Windows 10 PC, bringing all the saves, game add-ons and achievements with them at no additional cost.

For more information or to join the Middle-earth: Shadow of War conversation, visit www.ShadowofWar.com 

Train2Game News GameLift now supports C++ and C#

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), today announced that Amazon GameLift now supports games built with any C++ or C# game engine, including Amazon Lumberyard, Unreal Engine, Unity, and custom developed engines. With Amazon GameLift, developers can quickly scale their dedicated multiplayer game servers to support millions of players using AWS’s highly available cloud infrastructure, without investing thousands of hours in upfront engineering. 
AWS also announced that Amazon GameLift includes new matchmaking functionality that intelligently selects the closest available game server based on each player’s location, giving players the lowest possible latency by leveraging AWS’s broad global footprint. Game developers only pay for the compute, storage, and bandwidth resources their games use, with no upfront commitments or monthly contracts. To get started with Amazon GameLift, visit aws.amazon.com/gamelift.

Expectations for multiplayer games have never been higher. Gamers demand short wait times to connect to games, imperceptible server latency, and bulletproof stability. To meet these expectations, game developers have needed to invest thousands of hours of engineering to build systems that manage server infrastructure and scale capacity. 

Amazon GameLift is a managed service for deploying, operating, and scaling dedicated game servers for session-based multiplayer games. With Amazon GameLift, developers simply add the Amazon GameLift SDK to their games, upload their game servers, and launch the service in the AWS Management Console. The service then automatically deploys game servers across the AWS Cloud and starts connecting players to games. 

Amazon GameLift’s new matchmaking functionality continually scans available game servers around the world and matches them against player requests to join games. If low-latency game servers are not available, the service’s autoscaling feature can automatically start one, hundreds, or even thousands of game servers across AWS’s global regions. Autoscaling also eliminates wasted capacity by stopping unused game servers in minutes, lowering Amazon GameLift costs by an average of 50 percent. With Amazon GameLift, developers can be confident that on day one that their multiplayer games can scale to support millions of players, while maintaining the high performance gamers expect.

“The majority of leading game companies use AWS, and our customers have consistently asked us for an easier way to deploy, operate, and scale dedicated game servers for their multiplayer games,” said Chris Dury, General Manager, Amazon GameLift. “We built Amazon GameLift to save developers time and money while delivering world-class experiences for their players. We are excited to now offer Amazon GameLift’s benefits to more game developers by adding support for any C++ and C# game engine.”                        

Gearbox Software, the award-winning developer of blockbuster franchises including Battleborn, Borderlands, and Brothers in Arms, is beginning to deploy Amazon GameLift. “Now that Amazon GameLift is available for all game engines, we’re excited about its potential to help us deliver the lightning-fast, seamless online multiplayer experiences our fans demand,” said Neil Johnson, Technical Director at Gearbox Software.

Independent developer Proletariat uses Amazon GameLift to quickly deploy and manage their multiplayer game servers. “For the team at Proletariat, the choice was pretty simple – hire a team of engineers to spend months building our own cloud infrastructure, or launch our game on Amazon GameLift in a couple of days,” said Seth Sivak, CEO of Proletariat. “Amazon GameLift made it easy for us to inexpensively give our fans world-class online experiences.”

South Korea-based AON Interactive, a mobile game studio, is adopting Amazon GameLift for their next game codenamed, Project Road-99. A real-time, multiplayer racing game, Project Road-99 lets players create and share their own tracks and compete with their friends. “Amazon GameLift is helping AON develop fast, stable multiplayer experiences for our players on mobile devices in any region of the world, with incredibly low latency,” said BR Choi, CEO of AON Interactive. “Amazon GameLift’s ability to smartly match players and instantly scale capacity will help AON give our players the best possible experience, while saving us time and money.”

Developers can start using Amazon GameLift using the AWS Management Console or by downloading the SDK at aws.amazon.com/gamelift

Train2Game News N64 Anthology Book

​The Nintendo 64 Anthology is the book made for a generation of 90’s gamers.
Written by Matt Manent, it provides the most comprehensive look at the much-loved Nintendo 64. Cramming in over 400 pages of facts, game reviews and interviews, it also tells the console’s story – chronicling it’s seven-year journey from development right through to it finally being retired.

What’s included:

    -All 388 games reviewed – including detailed information such as each title’s release date, developer, publisher, genre, rarity, and a rating out of five (includes full-page reviews of all the classics like GoldenEye, Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie!).

    -A huge array of content spanning cancelled games, accessories, collectors editions, and, of course, every Nintendo 64 version and bundle.

    -Interviews with the people involved at the time: Martin Hollis (Rare – GoldenEye) and Eric Caen (Titus – Superman; acknowledged as one of the machine’s worst games)

    -A collector’s guide section outlining all the games released in each territory (Japan, North America, Europe, and Australia) alongside checkboxes for collectors to mark the games they own and those they don’t.

General Manager of FunstockRetro.co.uk, Andy Pearson said:

“For those who grew up playing on the N64, this book is the ultimate gift. Covering every aspect of the console, from its games right through to its hardware, it has been assembled with all the care and attention you’d hope for as a fan. It’s the perfect addition to any N64 collection.”

The Nintendo 64 Anthology book is available to pre-order exclusively at Europe’s Number One Retro Gaming Destination, FunstockRetro.co.uk now at just £44.99 here!

Train2Game News TT Games joins forces with big mobile developer

TT Games, part of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and the makers of best-selling LEGO® titles including “LEGO® Star Wars™” and “LEGO® Dimensions™,” has acquired the UK-based Playdemic, one of Europe’s highest-regarded mobile games companies. 
Playdemic alongside TT Games studios, Traveller’s Tales and TT Fusion are creating new kinds of LEGO games designed and built for the latest generation of players on mobile.

“We couldn’t be happier to bring on board such a talented and capable team,” said Tom Stone, Managing Director, TT Games. “Playdemic brings a unique set of skills to complement our existing studios, and a tremendous track record on mobile. They’re a perfect fit – and will enable us to take advantage of exciting new opportunities to build new kinds of socially-connected LEGO games.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our company,” said Paul Gouge, Playdemic CEO. “We built Playdemic to create innovative, meaningful mobile games with high production values, which deliver a uniquely social, incredibly fun and shared experience for our players – and cannot imagine a better context in which to continue that work. We’re all huge fans of the LEGO Group and the LEGO games made over the years by TT Games, and we’re tremendously proud to be able to make a new contribution to that legacy.”

Based in Wilmslow, Playdemic employs 33 staff. Their existing portfolio of successful mobile titles, including “Golf Clash” and “Village Life,” have been downloaded more than 50M times, generating in excess of $50M of revenue and will remain live and supported by TT Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Playdemic’s latest release, “Golf Clash,” has achieved huge acclaim from players, making it a top grossing title in the US and Internationally.

Train2Game News GEEK Festival

Replay Events, the UK’s leading gaming entertainment company, announced today participation in the GEEK festival, a three-day celebration of all forms of gaming, taking place in UK half-term week from February 17th through February 19th 2017.
More than a mere video game show, GEEK features family entertainment on an epic scale, featuring a huge range of multi-player interactive games, board games, retro and current gen gaming, card games and real world games.

Leaders in consumer gaming events, Replay Events will be bringing a jaw-dropping selection of retro-gaming to GEEK, including the following attractions:

    -Multi-Player Lounge Play – Come chill out with a classic range of ‘couch-play’ four-player titles, from classic games like Micro Machines™ and Bomberman™ to brand new indie sensations like Ultimate Chicken Horse™ and Party Panic™!

    -Multi-Player Retro Gaming – Take a trip through time sampling forgotten classics from previous generations of consoles from the Atari® VCS and the Amiga™, to the PlayStation® 2, Gamecube™ and original Xbox™. See how the games of yesteryear compare to the modern classics on current generation consoles, also available to play at GEEK!

    -Minecraft™ Zone – Running continuously throughout the GEEK festival, the Minecraft Zone features three playable game modes including Survival Mode, Creative Mode and the ever-popular Hunger Games

    -16-Player Replay Ring – Experience local multi-player gaming on an impressively huge scale! The Replay Ring features 16 Xbox 360 consoles linked together, playing non-stop classics such as Halo™ 4, Blur™ and Blazing Angels™ 2

    -Tournament Zone – Replay Events brings the fun of competitive gaming to GEEK, running contests throughout the show on classics such as Halo 4, PES™ 2017, Street Fighter™ V and Minecraft. With prizes to be won, gamers can test their skills and win big!

   -Street Fighter ™ Celebration – Celebrate the most beloved fighting game of all time with a dedicated area re-living the classic series and featuring the following titles: Street Fighter™ II Turbo on the SNES, Street Fighter™ II: Championship Edition on the Megadrive, Street Fighter™ III: Third Strike on the Dreamcast, Street Fighter™ IV on the Xbox 360 and Street Fighter™ V on the PS4™

    -Rock Band™4 Stage Zone – Rock out with the legendary music game, featuring a full four-player band setup playable on the stage!

    -Iron-Geek Challenge – Not for the timid, show your skills on Pac-Man™, Sonic the Hedgehog™ and Super Mario Bros™ in the Iron-Geek challenge zone! Race through each of the games and win the coveted trophy!

“The GEEK festival is celebrating its fifth year in 2017 and Replay Events are proud to be partnering with the show,” said Andy Brown, Director for Replay Events. “GEEK is the perfect opportunity for gamers and families to come together and enjoy gaming on a massive scale. Replay Events are proud of our heritage in staging gaming events throughout the UK and a key part of our business lies with providing an unrivalled range of classic and retro-games for various partner events. With this in mind, we’re confident we’ll have something for everyone to enjoy and we look forward to welcoming guests to the show this February.”

Amongst the impressive roster of events taking place over the three days, GEEK is proudly teaming up with Nintendo® to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mario Kart™. Alongside offering visitors the opportunity to play every Mario Kart game through the ages, GEEK proudly plays host to the official Mario Kart tournament, taking place on Saturday 18th February. With a chance to win a brand-new Nintendo Switch™* home console, players will compete one-on-one in repurposed bumper cars from Dreamland’s historic amusement park as they tussle for first place across eight races from the best Mario Kart has to offer!

Tickets for GEEK are available now and start from as little as £7 per child and £12 per adult. For more info, please visit https://www.dreamland.co.uk/geek

For the purposes of this event, an adult is aged 15 and over. There will be some over 18s areas at the evening event.

Under 5s go free. Dreamland Members get 10% discount. For more info on Dreamland Membership, visit https://www.dreamland.co.uk/membership

*Nintendo Switch will be awarded to the winner post release

Train2Game News Scottish Games Company Receives Big Funding

Blazing Griffin, a digital entertainment group, today announced it has completed its Series ‘A’ round, raising £5 million led by private investors and matched by the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
The funds will be used to help support the group’s continued growth and to expand its game development portfolio, film output and post production services.

This latest round of funding builds on 5 years of substantial growth and an exciting year ahead for Blazing Griffin. From its current capacity of 30 staff, the group plans to use this investment to treble its headcount over the upcoming months.

Blazing Griffin is working on a number of on-going and unannounced game development projects. Following the launch of The Ship: Remasted and coupled with the investment, the games studio plans to build at least two new development teams.

The film department recently announced the start of principal photography for its first feature film project, Anna And The Apocalypse, starring Ella Hunt and Paul Kaye and backed by Creative Scotland. Blazing Griffin has many exciting licensed and original properties for film and TV in development with world-class talent and production partners, and is supported by slate development funding.

Building on their achievements and through the work on high profile shows, the post production team have created a new facility in Glasgow, with 4K delivery capabilities, to service UK-wide and international projects, specialising in remote workflows with international and UK partners – the first of its kind in Scotland.

“Having the hard work of all The Griffins be recognised in this way is an awesome feeling. I can’t wait for people to see everything we’re currently working on and very much looking forward to sharing all of our plans over the next couple of weeks and months.” said Managing Director, Peter van der Watt, “We all appreciate the continued support and confidence our investors and Scottish Enterprise have in our ambitious plan to become one of Scotland’s largest entertainment companies.”

The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s main economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

“Scottish Enterprise has been working with Blazing Griffin for over three years during which we have seen the company go from a fledgling games development studio to a diversified digital entertainment group” said Kerry Sharp, head of SIB, “Following on from our initial investment in February 2015, we are delighted to again support the group’s growth plans and, capitalising on the talented team it continues to build in Scotland, look forward to seeing the company create brilliant content across its games, film and post production portfolio that will be enjoyed by a global audience”.

Train2Game News PC Gaming Hardware breaches $30 Billion

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the leading research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, today announced that the global PC Gaming Hardware market has breached the $30 billion mark for the first time.
Comprised of pre and DIY built gaming computers, upgrades, and accessories such as displays, input devices and audio systems, the market exceeded $30 billion in 2016 and is forecast to grow at a 6% CAGR through 2019.

Due to an entrenched PC gaming culture, large population, and lack of significant console traction, the Asia Pacific Region leads the world in both growth and market size with a forecasted 7% CAGR to 2019 from a value of almost $11.3 billion in 2016. India claims the largest growth rate in Entry-Level (sub $1000) and is forecast for an eye watering 28% CAGR; breaking through the billion mark across all segments in the next few years.  North America and Western Europe both individually lead Asia Pacific for High-End gaming systems (over $1800). Germany is forecast to enjoy impressive growth in High-End, reaching $1.6 billion in sales in 2019 and Russian gamers are forecast to consume Mid-Range Hardware at an 8.65% CAGR through 2019.

Ted Pollak, Senior Game Industry Analyst for JPR said, “Consumers continue to embrace the PC for video games due to multiple factors. The desktop ergonomic is popular because of superior detail using most HD and UHD monitors, and unrivaled control with mouse and keyboard interface. This has been validated with eSports overwhelmingly being played on PCs. Additionally, product designers have created thousands of options for complete customization from a functionally and aesthetic perspective. Examples include dedicated driving and flight systems, multi-display setups, and a wide selection of notebooks ranging from desktop substitutes to innovative ‘thin and light’ offerings. Liquid cooling, advanced PSUs, SSDs, genre specific gaming mice, mechanical keyboards, notebook graphics amplifiers and Xbox accessory compatibility offer gamers more choices than they have ever had.”

Jon Peddie, President of JPR, said, “PC gaming is so successful because it allows all levels of customers to participate including those with lower budgets. Nvidia and AMD are not ignoring this opportunity, and offerings like the GTX 1050 bring powerful graphics processing for around $120. We are very excited about the prospects for the AMD Ryzen CPU platform and think it will be adopted at all three hardware tiers. Of course Intel CPUs currently offer amazing performance for gamers of every budget level and their integrated graphics can rival game consoles.”

Nevertheless, a key phenomena JPR observes is that the ranks of PC gamers are growing in the Mid and High-End where ASPs are high. Also the average PC sale is increasingly motivated by the video game use model, which is important to understand in a stagnant or declining overall PC market. As basic computing functions become more entrenched with mobile devices, the PC ultimately becomes a power user’s tool. Whether for gaming, photo and video editing, content creation, etc.

The Worldwide PC Gaming Hardware Market report series by Jon Peddie Research covers 33 countries, notebooks and desktops, DIY, and accessories. It is released twice a year in three segments: Entry-Level, Mid-Range, and High-End.

Train2Game News Games Report 2017

​Last year was a record breaker for games, with tech M&A advisor Digi-Capital’s new Games Report 2017 (www.digi-capital.com/reports/#global-games-investment-review ) recording $30.3 billion games deals in 2016. 
The $28.4 billion of games mergers and acquisitions (M&A) was 77% higher than 2014’s previous record, and $1.9 billion games investment was the second highest ever. With games revenue set to grow from $117 billion in 2017 to over $170 billion by 2021, games has turned into a two speed market driving massive consolidation around mobile games in particular.
So what’s behind the consolidation around mobile games? Mobile apps (not just games) revenue grew an unexpected 40% last year, with China a major driver. Taking over three-quarters of all mobile apps revenue globally, mobile games had an absolute flyer. Despite this outperformance, mobile games growth could slow to 14.5% annually long-term (CAGR) for over $80 billion revenue by 2021 (gross apps revenue across iOS, Google Play and all the Chinese app stores). That’s more revenue than the entire games market a few years ago.

At the other end of the spectrum is the land of the indies, where there isn’t enough money yet for the big boys. VR hardware, AR games and VR games have a lot of runway and look set to drive over $20 billion revenue combined by 2021. Together with the games tech/services and mobile games, these smaller, faster sectors are where billions of dollars from VCs and corporates were invested into games in the last 12 months. 

Train2Game News Performance Gaming Wear

KontrolFreek® today announced its Performance Gaming WearTM apparel line, the first to be specifically designed for gamers and eSports professionals.
Items in the collection include the Icon Performance Gaming Hoodie and Icon Performance Gaming Shorts and feature DRYV® Technology, a patented system that blends ultralight, high-performance moisture-wicking fabrics with an absorbent outer layer, allowing gamers to easily dry hands and stay cool.  

   -The Icon Performance Gaming Hoodie is designed with an oversized hood to accommodate headphones while still giving players a sense of enclosure, increasing their ability to focus.
    -The Icon Performance Gaming Shorts have extra-deep storage pockets and a low-waist design that falls just above the knee when sitting, maximizing player comfort.

    -Implemented DRYV® moisture-absorbent panels featuring patented technology provide multiple areas for gamers to easily dry their palms and fingers, mitigating thumb slippage to increase control and accuracy.

    -All pieces of Performance Gaming Wear apparel were developed with input from top eSports teams like The Rise Nation and Team Kaliber to ensure they met performance standards of the best professional gamers.

    -KontrolFreek unofficially debuted its line of Performance Gaming Wear apparel during the Major League Gaming (MLG) Vegas tournament in December 2016. Throughout the event, The Rise Nation and Team Kaliber wore KontrolFreek’s Performance Gaming Wear apparel while practicing and competing. The Rise Nation went on to win the event’s Call of Duty World League invitational. 

“Our extensive research indicated there was a need within the eSports community for performance garb tailored to the gaming lifestyle,” said Ashish Mistry, CEO of KontrolFreek. “When developing our Performance Gaming Wear apparel, we coordinated directly with top gaming professionals to ensure our apparel met the specific needs of the competitive gaming community. We strategically placed DRYV® Dry Hand Zones in our garments to provide multiple areas where gamers naturally reach to dry their palms and fingers. With DRYV®, we decrease thumb slippage and, therefore, increase accuracy and control. Grip and accuracy are hallmarks of the KontrolFreek brand.”

The leading developer of Performance Gaming Gear™, KontrolFreek’s mission is to create high-quality products that increase player comfort and performance to enhance the overall gaming experience. Its products range from Performance ThumbsticksTM and KontrolFreek GripsTM for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers to apparel and accessories like the recently announced  KontrolFreek 12FT Gaming CableTM.   

“Just like traditional athletes, eSports players want to maximize their competitive advantage with the gear they use; this includes what they’re wearing in practice or during competition,” said Rodger Saffold III, Co-Founder of The Rise Nation and offensive guard for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. “Success in eSports is driven by precision and speed. A fraction of a second can be the difference between winning a championship or going home empty handed. KontrolFreek knows that the details matter and it really shows with their new Performance Gaming Wear.”

KontrolFreek’s first line of Performance Gaming Wear is now available for sale online at KontrolFreek.com.

Train2Game News Pokémon Duel

​The Pokémon Company International announced today that Pokémon Duel is now available for download at no charge on the App Store and on Google Play.
Pokémon Duel is an exciting mobile strategy game in which fans deploy digital Pokémon figures and battle based on strategic moves to reach a goal in the opponent’s territory. Pokémon Duel gameplay details follow:

    -By strategically assembling their team of six Pokémon, each with its own strengths and a set number of steps it can take, players can take different routes to rush toward the goal or block the opponent’s Pokémon from advancing.

    -When two Pokémon from opposing teams meet, a battle commences, and the players spin each Pokémon’s Data Disk to see which Attack each Pokémon will use.

    -In addition to moving Pokémon and battling, players will also be able to use a plate at the start of their turn. These plates have various effects, including swapping positions of Pokémon in play and giving their Pokémon various battle enhancements for that turn.

    -The player who reaches their goal first wins the duel. Players can duel against real opponents at any time by tapping League Match on the Home screen. They will then be automatically matched, according to skill, with other players around the world.  A variety of items, including Pokémon figures, can be earned through Time Boosters that are unlocked with every League victory. Winning League matches also increases the player’s rating and provides a chance to get different Pokémon figures as they compete in higher-level leagues.

More plates and Boosters can be purchased at the Shop within the app. Materials collected from purchased Boosters can be traded for desired Pokémon. In-game currency known as Gems can be purchased at the Shop or earned in several ways, such as by playing Pokémon Duel daily and clearing missions.

For more information about Pokémon Duel, please visit: www.Pokemon.co.uk/Duel .