Train2Game News Jagex hits several milestones on 18th Birthday

Jagex has revealed today that on its 18th birthday the RuneScape franchise has reached an all-time high, soaring above the previous 2008 peak, following expansion on to mobile.

The successful launch of Old School RuneScape on mobile and early testing of RuneScape mobile has boosted subscriber levels to well above the 1million mark. During its strongest year to date, Jagex achieved a number of significant milestones:

  • More than 5million installs of Old School RuneScape on iOS and Android since launch
  • The RuneScape franchise achieved the highest ever paid membership total in its history over the Christmas period, surpassing previous record set in 2008
  • Cumulative lifetime revenue for the RuneScape franchise passed $1billion
  • Monthly active users more than doubled over the year with big gains in the last quarter
  • Highest ever attendance for annual player convention RuneFest
  • More than 100 new hires were added to the Jagex team

Phil Mansell, CEO, Jagex, said:

“2018 was a fantastic year for our RuneScape games, which have truly come of age. The franchise has been growing consistently for five years, and we’ve seen a surge of further community growth with the move to mobile. Old School RuneScape’s successful mobile launch was made possible by our incredible team who’ve been able to make this classic game play smoothly in a mobile form-factor, and which allows players to enjoy the convenience of completely interoperable PC to mobile cross-play. This achievement showcases our living games philosophy; bringing deeply engaging community experiences to players wherever they are.

“We find that the more we listen to, engage with, and empower the community the more if fosters a true connection; with each other and with the games. The big increases we’re seeing in both membership and active users show that we’re not only able to bring new players into RuneScape but we’re able to offer the kind of rich, evergreen content that keeps them engaged for the long term.

“With this success we’ve continued to increase investment levels to expand our games, as well as bringing in a slate of hugely talented people to join us in development, technology and publishing.”

Industry veterans Nick Beliaeff, SVP Development, and Rob Cordero, VP Technology, were added to the Jagex executive team in 2018, and will continue to build their departments in 2019 that will be focused on delivering more great content to RuneScape and Old School RuneScape players, further improving the game experience and expanding Jagex into new areas.

John Burns, SVP Publishing, Jagex, said:

“A number of initiatives really hit the mark for us in 2018, and we’ll be using all of our learnings from these activities to deliver even more this year. Our ongoing commitment to delivering bigger and better content begins this week with the first of three significant Old School RuneScape content updates, Kebos Lowlands, we continue to work on developing RuneScape on mobile and a number of other exciting plans are in the works. Coupled with the strides we’re making with Jagex Partners, 2019 looks set to be another great year for the company.”

Jagex Partners, which will deliver live game publishing and operational services tailored specifically to the needs of third-party studios, was launched in 2018. Development also continues on internal projects, including the mobile version of RuneScape which will soon join Old School RuneScape on iOS and Android devices. The game is currently in early testing. One membership subscription gains players access to expanded features and content in both flavours of RuneScape.

More news about Jagex Partners and the mobile version of RuneScape will be revealed soon.

Train2Game News Video Games Industry Worth Over Half of UK Entertainment Market

The video games sector now accounts for more than half of the UK’s entire entertainment market, according to a new report.

The industry is worth £3.86bn – more than double its value in 2007 – said the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

That makes it more lucrative than video and music combined.

The success is largely down to three games: Fifa 19, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

The games market has grown, despite the fact that the physical console and PC games market shrank slightly in 2018.

Chief executive of ERA, Kim Bayley said: “The games industry has been incredibly effective in taking advantage of the potential of digital technology to offer new and compelling forms of entertainment. Despite being the youngest of our three sectors, it is now by far the biggest.”

Three games – Fifa 19, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – each sold more than one million physical units in the UK during 2018.

This is all the more impressive when you realise that these games were all released in the latter part of the year.

The figures do not take account of the success of mobile and free games such as Fortnite, however, which has more than 200 million players around the world.

Mass market entertainment

Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games research at IHS Markit said: “During the last five years the games sector has benefited hugely from the mainstream adoption of games apps on smart devices, and the transition from physical distribution to digital distribution in established parts of the market such as console gaming.

“Games are now truly mass market and a very important part of the entertainment sector.”

He added: “Growth has been fuelled by the dominance of free content and in-game monetisation, which expands the adoption of games but also removes the cap on spending for those gamers that are really engaged in the experiences.

“The flexibility of interactive content means it is unique in that it can be monetised in this way, which is an advantage over other forms of entertainment.”

Source: BBC News

Train2Game News Track and Build with Jägermeister

Jägermeister has launched an exciting new initiative in the video games space, teaming with award-winning cinematic bass duo Koven for the ‘Track and Build’ competition.

‘Track and Build’ – which opens today – will search for a games studio to work with Koven on an exclusive track for one of its games.

Indie studios who have a game which will be ready for release in 2019 are invited to enter the competition for free.

Submissions are being taken via www.trackandbuild.io with the entry period closing on February 15th2019, when the shortlist of games will be revealed. The winning studio will be announced at the end of February and will have the unique opportunity to have a game track produced by Koven.

London-based cinematic bass duo Koven is the production alias of producer Max Rowat and Katie Boyle. Within the games industry they are best known for creating the track ‘My Love’ for Rocket League, as well as the trailer music for Driveclub.

“We’re incredibly excited about the Track and Build competition, as it represents our first steps into the games sector,” said Jägermeister’s Music Manager Tom Carson.

“Thanks to our friends at Koven, we can offer a games studio the unique opportunity to have a track created for them by artists who have already made a name for themselves in the genre through their work on Rocket League.”

Koven added: “This is such a mad and exciting opportunity for us to be a part of, and for anyone who we end up working with! We are so pleased to be involved and look forward to going through the entries.”

Jägermeister will announce a further element to the Track and Build competition in the New Year when it will engage with the composer community on the initiative.

To find out more about Track and Build and to enter, visit www.trackandbuild.io.

Train2Game News Nintendo Switch Fastest Selling Console

Nintendo Switch has become the fastest-selling video game system of this hardware generation through 21 months, according to The NPD Group, which tracks video game sales in the United States.

From its launch in March 2017 through November 2018, Nintendo Switch has sold more than 8.7 million units, outpacing U.S. sales of all other current-generation systems at the same point in their life cycles.

Nintendo is also the overall top-selling U.S. software publisher so far for 2018, according to NPD data through November. This performance should receive an additional boost from the December release of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game, which has become not only the fastest-selling Nintendo Switch game of all time, but also the fastest-selling game in the Super Smash Bros. series, with U.S. sales of over 3 million units in just 11 days, according to Nintendo’s internal sales data.

“We are thrilled to see such a strong reaction from consumers in the second holiday season for Nintendo Switch,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’re looking forward to delivering more excitement and smiles to our fans in the coming year and beyond.”

The following data from Nintendo of America is specific to the U.S. only:

  • Nintendo hardware unit and dollar sales for 2018 are at their highest annual totals since 2011.
  • Nintendo eShop sales have grown 105 percent over 2017.
  • Evergreen Nintendo Switch games have set new milestones, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe selling over 4 million and 5 million units, respectively. Super Mario Odyssey has sold over 4.7 million units.
  • In addition to the fast-selling Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game, other recently released games that continue to make a splash include Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, which together total 2 million units, and Super Mario Party at 1.4 million.

Remember that Nintendo Switch features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about other features, visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/.

Train2Game News The Sandbox wants your Art

Pixowl, a leading creator of world building experiences that was recently acquired by Animoca Brands (ASX: AB1), announced today that its forthcoming decentralized blockchain gaming platform, The Sandbox, is launching a massive $2 million USD Creator Fund to support artists around the globe making and sharing amazing creations on its platform.

The Sandbox is a community-driven platform where creators can monetize voxel assets and gaming experiences. The Sandbox has already achieved 40M installs and 1.2M monthly active players on mobile, and Pixowl will soon launch a decentralized version built on the blockchain, which will allow PC and Mac users to monetize the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) they use in the game. The Sandbox for blockchain aims to disrupt the market by providing the first blockchain platform offering the large community of creators its own NFT builder gaming ecosystem.

“With The Sandbox, we are developing the first User Generated Content NFT marketplace and providing a decentralized future for content discovery,” said Arthur Madrid, CEO and Co-Founder of Pixowl and The Sandbox. “Our new Creator Fund offers an attractive option for creators to really own their assets while benefiting through publishing their creations on our platform.”

In The Sandbox, any creative person can make their very own static or animated voxel objects. It’s as easy as using children’s toy building blocks, and the creative process is aided by the platform’s powerful, intuitive VoxEdit tool that will allow anyone to create and animate NFT objects from scratch or import existing creations.

For the first time, creators will be able to publish their voxel creations on the blockchain as NFTs, virtual tokens ensuring digital scarcity, security and authenticity without the limitations of central control. Models made by artists will be unique and their scarcity provable on the blockchain in perpetuity, allowing them to be freely and securely traded in The Sandbox as well as on third-party NFT marketplaces including OPSkins/WAX, a leading NFT exchange, and many others. With true ownership of their NFTs, creators will hold a vested interest in success of The Sandbox.

“The combination of the Creator Fund and our VoxEdit toolset provide an incentive for artists to get into The Sandbox early, potentially making their NFT assets the go-to models in their respective category,” said Arthur Madrid. “We want to fast track our vision of a voxel building platform online, as titles like Minecraft and Roblox have shown that creators of all ages can build online user generated content beautifully and at scale—anyone can build a ‘digital LEGO’ with almost no learning curve or special skills.”

The Sandbox’s Creator Fund is an initiative supporting all talents without any distinction of age, sex or country of origin. The fund will predominantly be used to reward and incentivize artists to submit original voxel models via grants on a per asset basis. Artists will be able to register to qualify for grants, submitting their voxel models to The Sandbox team for approval. The Creator Fund is a revolving fund that will be replenished using transaction fees from the game’s Marketplace, scheduled to launch in Q2 2019.

Artists can visit fund.sandbox.game to sign up today to get notified when the Fund begins accepting applications.

Voxel artists and creators are invited to learn more about VoxEdit at sandbox.game/editor and get involved into the community through The Sandbox Discord channel at discord.gg/vAe4zvY. Community members will be considered for early access to the first public beta of VoxEdit, expected to launch before end of year.

Further details on the Creator Fund will be unveiled on the company’s Medium channel at medium.com/sandbox-game in the future.

Train2Game News UK Video Game Industry Union

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is launching the first ever branch for workers in the UK’s video games industry, in an attempt to tackle the wide-scale exploitation now common in one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK economy.

The creation of the Games Workers Unite branch will not only make the IWGB the first union in the UK to represent games workers, but one of the first anywhere in the world.

Among other issues, the branch will look to tackle:

  • The use of excessive, often unpaid overtime, commonly referred to as “crunch”, where some workers have been reported to work as much as 100 hours a week
  • The use of zero-hours contracts, especially among Quality Assurance (QA) testers.
  • The industry’s lack of diversity and inclusion, as well as its failure to tackle the pervasive culture of homophobia and sexism.

The inaugural meeting of the IWGB’s Games Workers Unite branch, which will include the election of branch officials, will be held on 16 December. The IWGB expects hundreds to join the branch in the first few months.
The branch will be open to all past, current and soon to be workers in the video games industry, except those with hiring and firing power. The branch will include contract, agency and casual workers, as well direct employees.

The UK video games industry is the largest in Europe, with approximately 47,000 workers, according to UKIE.

Game worker and founding member of the IWGB’s Games Workers Unite branch Dec Peach said: “For as long as I can remember it has been considered normal for games workers to endure zero-hours contracts, excessive unpaid overtime, and even sexism and homophobia as the necessary price to pay for the privilege of working in the industry. Now, as part of the IWGB, we will have the tools to fix this broken sector and create an ethical industry where it’s not only big game companies that thrive, but workers as well.”

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “The game workers’ decision to unionise with the IWGB should be a wake up call for the UK’s gaming industry. The IWGB is proud to support these workers and looks forward to shining a massive spotlight on the industry.”

The IWGB is the leading union for precarious workers and workers in the so-called “gig economy”. It has led campaigns and strategic legal action against companies such as Uber, Deliveroo and CitiSprint.

Train2Game News Power UP Again Next Easter

Next Easter the Science Museum welcomes back its phenomenally popular interactive gaming event Power UP.

Returning for a fourth year this hands-on video game extravaganza features the very best video games, computers and consoles from the past four decades.

Power UP 2019 will take both gaming fans and novices on an interactive journey covering four decades of gaming history with 160 consoles and hundreds of games, right from retro arcade classics such as Space Invaders which also celebrates 40 years since carving out its place in pop culture, through to the latest in VR technology, catching a glimpse at what the future may hold for the world of gaming.

Michelle Lockhart, Science Museum Group Commercial Director said: ‘Following Power UP’s hugely successful run over the last three years, I’m thrilled that it will be returning to the Science Museum next spring. The allure of video games really is universal, there is something to excite and inspire everyone. This truly immersive experience offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to discover the technology and future possibilities of gaming in a fun and interactive environment.’

From Pong and Pacman to Sonic and Super Smash Bros, there is something to suit everyone, whether you’re a parent looking for child-friendly Easter holiday activities or a games aficionado who wants to revel in the classics. See the evolution of Super Mario Bros from Mario’s debut as a Donkey Kong villain to Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch, follow Lara Croft’s 22 year journey from the first PlayStation console to the latest generation PS4 and Xbox One, or get your nostalgia fix with the classic arcade games too good to update.

Evening adult-only sessions will run on Wednesday 10 and Wednesday 17 April, giving friends and competitive colleagues the perfect opportunity to battle it out on 18+ favourites like DOOM, Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto.

Register for priority booking by signing up to the Power UP email alert at sciencemuseum.org.uk/powerup

Train2Game News Kingdom Hearts III Opening

Internationally renowned singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada and eight-time Grammy Award winner Skrillex lend their talents to the opening movie of KINGDOM HEARTS III, the highly anticipated new title from SQUARE ENIX® and Disney.

The opening movie sets players up for the events to come in KINGDOM HEARTS III, as the ultimate battle for light and life comes to an epic conclusion. With the help of his loyal companions Donald and Goofy, Sora will team up with iconic Disney and Pixar characters in an attempt to defeat the darkness and save the universe.

To watch the trailer and listen to “Face My Fears,” visit: https://youtu.be/2VawSnaxtSI.

Fans can pre-order the track on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/face-my-fears-ep/1444855032?app=itunes

Skrillex, a long-time and self-professed fan of the KINGDOM HEARTS series, shares a close friendship with Hikaru Utada, which fostered the original collaboration, Face My Fears, to celebrate the game’s release.

Set to be released on January 18, 2019, the track has been produced in collaboration with Poo Bear, the acclaimed record producer who previously produced Justin Bieber’s multi-platinum selling single, What Do You Mean?

KINGDOM HEARTS III will be available for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X on January 29, 2019. For more information, please visit http://www.kingdomhearts.com/.

Train2Game Mortal Kombat 11 Announced

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have announced Mortal Kombat 11, the newest game in the award-winning franchise.

The official Mortal Kombat 11 Announce Trailer sets the stage for an epic, time bending story and features an original music track created in collaboration with multi-platinum selling rapper 21 Savage. Mortal Kombat 11 is developed by award-winning NetherRealm Studios and is scheduled for release beginning April 23, 2019 for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®4 Pro computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch™ system and PC.

The official Mortal Kombat 11 Announce Trailer is viewable here: https://go.wbgames.com/MK11_Announce_Trailer.

The song by 21 Savage featured in the trailer is titled “Immortal” and overlays scenes of an epic battle between two iconic characters, Dark Raiden and Scorpion, with a tease of a new character who is at the center of Mortal Kombat 11’s story.

Mortal Kombat 11 will make its first gameplay debut at Mortal Kombat 11: The Reveal, a highly experiential, community celebration of Mortal Kombat, taking place at 11 a.m. PST on Jan. 17, 2019 in Los Angeles and 7 p.m. UTC in London.

Mortal Kombat 11: The Reveal will be livestreamed globally at www.twitch.tv/NetherRealm and will feature a keynote presented by NetherRealm Studios. The event will also include the first opportunity for hands-on with Mortal Kombat 11 gameplay, tournaments and other Mortal Kombat themed activities.

Mortal Kombat 11 deepens and personalizes the experience unlike ever before with an all new Custom Character Variation System that gives players the creative control of building customized versions of the character roster. In addition, the game will introduce a new cinematic story that continues the epic saga that is more than 25 years in the making.

“By giving players more creative control, Mortal Kombat 11 is a testament to why this iconic franchise is so strong and increasingly relevant after more than 25 years,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “This game showcases NetherRealm Studios’ extensive talent to innovate and create epic experiences for the Mortal Kombat fans and new players alike.”

“It’s exciting to finally announce Mortal Kombat 11 and showcase what the team has been working on,” said Ed Boon, Creative Director, NetherRealm Studios. “Our Custom Character Variation System opens up an infinite amount of options for players to personalize their favorite fighters. We can’t wait until January when we’ll be showing more of the game.”

All pre-orders will receive the in-game, playable character, ‘Shao Kahn’. Those who pre-order on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One, at select retailers, will also receive access to the beta, which will be available in March for those platforms.

To learn more about Mortal Kombat 11, please visit mortalkombat.com or join the community conversation on Facebook (MortalKombat), Instagram (@MortalKombat), Twitter (@MortalKombat), Twitch (NetherRealm), YouTube (Mortal Kombat), Discord (MortalKombat), or Reddit (MortalKombat).

Train2Game News Get paid for your content

Indie Boost is excited to announce its partnership with Game Jolt, which will provide paid opportunities to content creators on the platform.

Through the partnership between Indie Boost and Game Jolt, all verified content creators on the Indie Boost platform are eligible to earn a portion of the revenue for specified Game Jolt titles.

This opportunity is available to all content creators who are currently using Indie Boost to discover new games.

All tiers––Verified and Partner––can get paid playing games they love by linking a partnered Game Jolt account to the Twitch or YouTube account they used to sign up to Indie Boost.

Games participating in Game Jolt’s revenue sharing program are indicated on the Indie Boost platform with a pie icon on the game’s thumbnail. Once a content creator on Indie Boost receives a key for an eligible game, they can obtain a partner link through Game Jolt. They can then include this link wherever their content is posted––on their stream or video––to start earning a share of all sales made from purchases made through that link.

Indie Boost is thrilled to be providing opportunities for content creators to earn rewards for promoting games.

Please check out the Partner page for more information about paid opportunities for content creators through Indie Boost: https://www.indieboost.com/partner.html