Train2Game News Reducing Screen Time for Kids

Newspaper journalist and father of three, Andy Robertson launches Taming Gaming book to help parents guide their child’s gaming towards health and wellbeing with unique “family gaming recipes”.

Taming Gaming is an unflinching look at the impact of gaming on family life. It compiles the latest research and advice from psychologists, industry experts, parents, schools and children’s charities.

Discover what really happens when a child plays a video game. Stop worrying about screen time and start guiding your child’s gaming activity from violence, expense and addiction, towards fulfilling, healthy, affordable experiences.

Andy was invited to create the book by crowdfunding publisher Unbound. The book project launches Friday 18th May and can be pre-ordered today as ebook (£10) or full colour hardback (early bird discount £20) via the campaign (https://unbound.com/books/taming-gaming/).

Beth Lewis, Commissioning Editor at Unbound, said, “Taming Gaming is an important and timely book. The gaming recipes offer parents an easy way to get involved in their child’s hobby and start guiding them towards healthy habits.”

Written with non-gaming parents in mind, the book helps you tame the games your child plays, by equipping you to make informed decisions, engage in this area of life and guide their gaming diet.

It’s packed with beautifully laid out tried and tested “family gaming recipes”. Each recipe shows you everything you need to know with jargon-free instructions that take the guesswork out of gaming together. Now parents who’d rather just lock it all away can access a broad diet of cutting edge games children will love, and help them navigate this unavoidable part of life.

“Parents are increasingly worried by what video games are doing to their children”, said author, Andy Robertson. “The NSPCC is warning of Fortnite child-predators, the American Psychological Association citing games as a risk factor for violent behaviour and the World Health Organisation is naming gaming disorder as a clinically significant syndrome.”

“I appreciate parents’ anxiety about this, but I’m also deeply grateful for what the skills and qualities that games have instilled in my children: curiosity, compassion, resilience, confidence, problem solving and patience.”

“I wrote Taming Gaming as a father wanting to air the real headaches of video games in the home, but also as a journalist offering parents an accessible way to solve this problem. The ‘family gaming recipes’ do this perfectly.”

Early responses about the book and recipes have been glowing from parents, industry and academics.

Ken Corish, Online Safety Director, UK Safer Internet Centre commented that “this book is a breath of fresh air in the current dialogue on children’s online gaming. It adds sophistication and insight to achieve the most rewarding gaming experiences rather than panic, fear and barriers. The recipes section for parents shapes each carefully chosen example to the needs and context of their child. Like all of the best cookbooks, the results keep you coming back for more.”

“I just feel alienated from the gaming world. Having advice and strategies in one place, and someone with ideas on how to make Fortnite and FIFA work for the whole family would be a godsend. The recipes are something that I’d actually try. Probably on my own to begin with.” Vanessa Pestridge, mum of two.

Andy Phippen, Professor of Children and Technology, University of Plymouth, “Having worked with gaming kids, education professional and parents over the years what is clear is that there is a lot of ill informed concern over gaming that can cause problems in the family dynamic. Clear, accessible and mature gaming advice like the recipes in this book, can make a tangible difference by equipping parents to play an active role in this crucial part of development.”

Professor Sonia Livingstone, OBE, Department of Media and Communications at LSE also commented on the gaming recipe idea. “Many parents feel anxious about digital technologies and are unsure where to get advice – their own parents are often less useful here than in other areas, for instance. Much of the advice on offer is commercially-motivated, or underestimates parents’ developing digital knowledge, or is frankly unrealistic about the everyday pressures of family life. So a new approach is definitely needed.”

Train2Game News SpecialEffect Develop Xbox Adaptive Controller

Gamers’ charity SpecialEffect are proud to confirm their involvement in the design and testing of Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, a customisable Xbox Wireless Controller designed primarily for gamers with limited mobility.

The controller features large programmable buttons and connects to external devices such as switches, buttons, joysticks, and mounts, to help make gaming more accessible for everyone.

“This has been a milestone collaboration for us,” said SpecialEffect Founder and CEO Dr Mick Donegan. “Our experience in helping people with complex physical disabilities to access video games has enabled us to provide not only very relevant advice about features and design, but also direct feedback from a user-centred perspective. Microsoft have a competitively-priced product here that has massive potential to help many more people globally to enjoy the magic of video games.”

The charity were one of several accessibility non-profits and special interest groups asked by Microsoft to be in involved in the planning and development phases of the controller. Other organisations included The AbleGamers Foundation, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect and Warfighter Engaged. This also included a large number of gamers with accessibility needs who work with and through these organisations.

“Creating complex game control setups for people with severe disabilities takes time, care and specialist expertise,” said Dr Donegan. “With so many factors to be considered – comfort, safety, positioning, equipment selection and mounting – this first-party product provides a terrifically versatile and effective way of connecting our game setups to the console.”

Train2Game News Green Man Gaming 8th Anniversary Sale

Green Man Gaming has launched the next stage of its 8th Birthday celebrations with a party filled with even more discounts of up to 75% off hundreds of games throughout the month of May.

In addition, customers will get extra savings with publisher-specific vouchers that will only be redeemable on birthday sale titles.

The birthday sale will include the following themes:

  • Ubisoft sale – use voucher code UBI15 to save an extra 15%
  • Bethesda sale – use voucher code BETH20 to save an extra 20%
  • Konami sale – use voucher code KON25 to save an extra 25% (country restrictions apply)
  • Square Enix sale – use voucher code SE25 to save an extra 25%
  • Deep Silver sale – use voucher code DS25 to save an extra 25%
  • Curve Digital sale – use voucher code CURVE25 to save an extra 25%
  • 2K Games sale – use voucher code 2K20 to save an extra 20%
  • NIS sale – use voucher code NIS27 to save an extra 27%
  • Rockstar sale – use voucher code ROCKSTAR20 to save an extra 20%
  • Best of the Rest – use voucher code BOTR25 to get an extra 25% off the best picks from other publishers.

Games to look out for during the 8th Birthday party sale:

  • Assassin’s Creed Origins – Deluxe Edition – 53% off (with UBI15 voucher included)
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole – 58% off (with UBI15 voucher included)
  • For Honor – 79% off (with UBI15 voucher included)
  • Watch Dogs 2 – 72% off (with UBI15 voucher included)
  • XCOM 2 – 75% off (with 2K20 voucher included)
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Directors Cut – 81% off (with SE25 voucher included)

Visit Green Man Gaming to shop the sale now.

Train2Game News Fancensus update

Fancensus’ pioneering, bespoke analytical tool Fusion sees its first major update since its launch in September 2017.

Fancensus.com, founded in 2004, provides unique in-depth business and communications analytics, to video games and movie companies, globally. 2017 saw the company launch Fusion, it’s pioneering, bespoke platform offering, with an intuitive UI, which grants clients a real-time, fully customisable monitoring solution. Fancensus also publish free reports, analysing key industry events and a monthly publication, Tactics, which includes industry insights, opinion pieces and interesting stats.

Several big new features have been added, along with many smaller optimisations. The all-new sentiment functionality enables PR activities to be categorised into positive, negative or neutral, a first step into machine learning for full automation of sentiment analysis to follow down the line. Facebook Reactions enhances this sentiment insight even further, allowing users to filter the interactions with posts by type of reaction, going beyond just the number of likes. Lastly, the introduction of a word cloud function enables a visualisation of the top used words on press sites or social relating to any particular product, again highlighting any positive or negative reactions.

As Fancensus gathers data on all video games, from independent through to AAA products, past, present and unreleased, Fusion now provides an immediate Gap analysis insight, giving clients the ability to directly compare the campaigns of two products, with a clear colouring system providing instant, visual results. Other smaller additions include the ability to schedule reports for a specific time and day with multiple email recipients, the facility for the user to create their own bespoke groupings of data to view EMEA together or plot Europe to USA instantly, plus various security, speed and overall performance enhancements.

Fusion was launched Q3 last year and is Fancensus’ custom-built, totally unique analytical platform that puts the user in complete control. Easily one of the World’s most powerful, intuitive dashboards, Fusion allows you to effortlessly monitor, compare and interpret complex, real time data in an instant.

“Our deep understanding of the video games sector enables us to offer clients a bespoke service that no other media monitoring agency can provide” Kerri Davies Managing Director and Founder of Fancensus commented.

She continued, “Each one of our new features are driven by client feedback and our flexible Fusion platform offers such a pioneering approach that appeals to PR manager through to upper management. Being involved in a fast moving industry means we are always striving to give more meaningful tools and still have many exciting new ideas to implement over the coming months, widening the gap even further between us and our competitors”

To find out more about Fancenus visit http://www.fancensus.com/

Train2Game UK Studio recognised as one of 1000 studios to inspire

Outplay Entertainment has been named as part of 1000 Companies to Inspire.

Devised by London Stock Exchange Group, this report celebrates the fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK and Europe. It also examines the opportunities and challenges facing SMEs today and looks at the sectors and trends that will shape the future of the British and European economies.

Douglas Hare, CEO of Outplay Entertainment comments: “To be acknowledged in 1000 Companies to Inspire is testament to our team’s ability to develop and market engaging games that can be enjoyed by players from across the world, and is further proof that we’re heading in the right direction. We started small and built on our initial success, and are very bullish about the future. 2018 is proving to be another exciting time for Outplay Entertainment.”

This recognition follows a string of business accolades for the largest independent mobile developer in the UK. The studio ranked 61st in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (December) – a league table of the fastest-growing technology companies in EMEA and placed 11th in the UK Fast 50 (November). It also reported 1,904% revenue growth since 2013.

Headquartered in Dundee, Scotland, Outplay’s 170-strong team has developed several critically acclaimed games which have surpassed over 150 million downloads to date.

For more information about Outplay Entertainment please visit https://outplay.com/

Train2Game News Retro Gaming Festival Hitting Manchester

Retro gaming festival Power Up is set to return to Manchester with more consoles than ever before.

The two-week extravaganza will be at the Museum of Science and Industry from August 3.

A limited number of early bird tickets for daytime sessions go on general sale on Thursday, May 24. They are available until June 21 – but once they’re gone, they’re gone. For access to priority booking from Tuesday, May 22, sign up to the Museum of Science and Industry mailing list at msimanchester.org.uk/powerup.

Household names PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch sit alongside iconic retro consoles including the SNES, SEGA Dreamcast and the original educational computer, the BBC Micro. There are also specialist areas for Pacman, Minecraft and Fortnite.

Visitors to Power UP can see for themselves how far gaming technology has advanced in the four decades since early games like Pong carved out their place in pop culture. Modern innovations like PlayStation VR will provide a glimpse into what the future may hold.

Evening-only sessions will take place on Friday, August 10 and Friday, August 17, giving the opportunity to play 18-only games including DOOM, Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto.

Ticket prices vary, visit msimanchester.org.uk/powerup for more information.

Train2Game News Jagex Charitable Giving Initiative Success

As Mental Health Awareness Week begins (14th-20th May), Jagex today announced a highly successful first year for its Charitable Giving initiative, raising £225,000 for its three chosen mental health charities.

The company, together with the support of the generous RuneScape and Old School RuneScape player communities, smashed its 12-month £150,000 fundraising target to raise the £225,000 total, which has been donated to its three charities – CPSL Mind, The Prince’s Trust, and YMCA Right Here – to promote mental health on a local, national, and international level.

Earlier this month, Jagex hosted the launch of CPSL Mind’s STOP Suicide 2018 campaign, a community-based initiative that sets out to empower communities to prevent suicides across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and South Lincolnshire. The campaign, which is directly funded by Jagex’s donation, was launched at the company’s Cambridge headquarters, and played host to dignitaries, companies, and organisations, where they were invited to sign a pledge supporting the aims of the campaign.

Jagex has also been recognised in Mind’s prestigious Workplace Wellbeing Index for 2018 with a Silver Award, which building on the Bronze received in 20178, and is awarded in recognition of ‘Achieving Impact’ in promoting staff mental health and demonstrating progress and impact over time. In 2018, Jagex is one of only two games studios to be awarded with a place on the Index, underlining the Cambridge developer’s continued commitment to promoting staff mental health and wellbeing.

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, Jagex’s award-winning game, RuneScape, is selling a brand-new, in-game item – a baby yeti – for players to purchase, with proceeds going towards the company’s three chosen charities.

Kelvin Plomer, Director of Customer Support and Jagex Charitable Giving, Jagex, said:
“We’ve had a remarkable first year for Jagex’s Charitable Giving initiative, and I am so proud of the work that we have supported as well as the funding we have raised for our mental health charities. Raising £225,000 over the past 12 months is a remarkable achievement and I want to thank everybody involved, from our players to everyone at Jagex – this money will make a difference and literally save lives. Jagex, through our charitable strategy, wants to make a real difference to people’s lives, and we are immensely proud to work with our chosen charity partners to help achieve that.

Commenting on the Workplace Wellbeing Index award, Alice Turner, HR Business Partner at Jagex, said:
“It’s a great privilege for Jagex to be recognised with a Silver Award on Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index 2018, which really shows the dedication our company has to support the mental health of our staff. We felt very humbled to be the first games studio to be recognised in the Index last year, so to see that progression and stand alongside some of the biggest organisations in the country as a Silver Award recipient is testament to the continued progress Jagex has made over the past year.”

Train2Game News Call of Duty Endowment

The Call of Duty Endowment today begins its application process for the sixth annual “Seal of Distinction” Awards, recognising U.S. and U.K. based non-profits that demonstrate the highest levels of effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity in placing ex-service personnel into high-quality jobs.

The prestigious award for grantees is accompanied by a £23,000 unrestricted grant, as well as the opportunity to apply for future funding. Past beneficiaries include: Goodwill Southern California, Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainer Region, NextOp, RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, and Walking With the Wounded.

To be considered, organisations must complete an online application at: www.callofdutyendowment.org/seal

Applications will be accepted now through June 1, 2018. Nominees for the “Seal of Distinction” must meet a number of criteria, including:

  • Organisation must be a charitable, non-profit, with 501©(3) status (or, in the case of the U.K., a charity determined to have the equivalent status of a U.S. non-profit with 501 ©(3) status);
  • Mission must include directly assisting unemployed and underemployed ex-service personnel to find high quality jobs;
  • Group must complete an application, provide requested documentation and be prepared to submit to verification procedures by Deloitte;
  • Applicants will be assessed by metrics including, the number of ex-service personnel placed in jobs, the quality of those placements, average cost-per-placement, average starting salary, six- and twelve-month retention rate, key employee background checks, and a variety of organisational and financial health indicators; and
  • Applicants must not be a previous Seal of Distinction winner.

The “Seal of Distinction” is the preeminent standard of excellence in the ex-service personnel employment sector. In the last year alone, organisations supported by the Endowment placed 11,974 ex-service personnel in jobs at an average cost-per-placement of $504.

“We are honored to continue the ‘Seal of Distinction’ program into its sixth year,” said Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director of the Call of Duty Endowment. “We’ve seen a growing demand from ex-service personnel for help securing high quality careers—a 60% increase last year alone—and we’re committed to finding and funding the highest performing non-profits that successfully address this challenge in both the U.S. and U.K.”

All applications will be reviewed and evaluated by the Call of Duty Endowment’s outside Board of Advisors. Semi-finalists will be independently assessed on a pro bono basis by Deloitte and ultimately approved by the Endowment’s Grants Committee.

The Call of Duty Endowment launched the Seal of Distinction in August 2013. In its sixth year of operation, the program has awarded $27.6 million in grants. With an ambitious goal of placing 50,000 ex-service personnel into high-quality jobs by 2019, the program has placed more than 46,000 ex-service personnel into full-time jobs with an average 2017 starting salary of $58,000. As a result, the Endowment has helped ex-service personnel capture more than $2.3 billion in first year salaries and demonstrated the value of ex-service personnel in the civilian workplace to companies across the U.S and the U.K.

Train2Game News Mega Man Classic Cartridges Available

Capcom and iam8bit are kicking off “Mega May” with the announcement of two nostalgic Mega Man® collectibles: the Mega Man® 2 – 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridge and Mega Man® X – 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridge.

These brand new, limited edition reproductions are now available for pre-order on iam8bit.com for $100 each. Units are expected to ship late September 2018.

Each game is a Limited Edition of 8,500 units. Each cartridge comes in one of two available colors. Cartridge colorways are randomly inserted into sealed, unmarked boxes so each package is a surprise.

Mega Man 2 – 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridge – $100

  • Limited Edition of 8,500
  • Opaque Light Blue (7,500 units total) or Translucent, Glow-in-the-Dark Blue (1,000 units total)
  • Brand-new playable cartridge
  • Dual-Fold Box w/ Foil, Gloss & Embossments
  • Premium Instruction Booklet w/ Foreword by Author Salvatore Pane
  • Retro Pack-In Surprises
  • Package Design & Restoration by Jango Snow Art & Design
  • Manufacturing by Retrotainment Games + Infinite NES Lives

Mega Man X – 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridge – $100

  • Limited Edition of 8,500
  • Brand-New Playable Cartridge
  • Opaque White (7,500 units total) or Translucent, Glow-in-the-Dark Blue (1,000 units total)
  • Tri-Fold Box w/ Foil, Gloss & Embossments
  • Premium Instruction Booklet w/ Foreword by Jirard “The Completionist” Khalil
  • Retro Pack-In Surprises
  • Package Design & Restoration by Jango Snow Art & Design
  • Manufacturing by Retrotainment Games + Infinite NES Lives

The Mega Man 30th Anniversary Classic Cartridges aren’t just mantelpieces, each cartridge houses the original game code on a brand new PCB board and are fully playable on NTSC consoles.

For more information, please visit iam8bit.com.

Train2Game News Atari console pre-sales

Atari® — One of the world’s most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers — today announces that pre-sales of its new Atari VCS™ hardware platform will start May 30, 2018.

The pre-sale is exclusive to Indiegogo and features the time-limited Atari VCS Collector’s Edition featuring the special retro-inspired wood-front. In addition to the Collector’s Edition, fans will have the option to pre-order the Atari VCS Onyx, a sleek black version. Early-bird Atari VCS packages will be offered, including the Onyx starting at $199 USD for a limited period of time. Other packages will include the Classic Joystick and Modern Controller. Initial Atari VCS shipments are planned for Spring 2019. Fans who have signed up for “insider” email alerts at AtariVCS.com before May 24, 2018 will be eligible for special purchase incentives during the pre-sale.

The VCS is a completely new Atari connected device, designed in California by Atari. The company has partnered with AMD who provides the Atari VCS custom processor with Radeon Graphics Technology. The Atari VCS platform will offer support for 4K resolution, HDR and 60FPS content, onboard and expandable storage options, dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as USB 3.0 support. A complete list of Atari VCS product specs will be posted with the pre-sale.

The updated Classic Joystick and new Modern Controller for the Atari VCS are being developed in partnership with leading video game peripherals maker Power A. Both items will be available in select packages and as standalone purchases.

Retro-inspired, but not a “retro-box,” the Atari VCS will be a fully customizable entertainment experience. This means access to a vast array of games, media and streaming content options. As an homage to the past, Atari VCS covers the classics with the included Atari Vault of more than 100 classic games, including all-time arcade and home entertainment favorites like Asteroids®, Centipede®, Breakout®, Missile Command®, Gravitar® and Yars’ Revenge®; a growing list of games, especially a full range of popular modern titles, will be announced at later dates.

“We continue moving forward on the Atari VCS project and are excited to see this pre-sale kickoff and to share more updates with our fans as we look toward the first shipments,” notes Michael Arzt, Atari COO of Connected Devices. “We are building outstanding teams and forging alliances that will make this product great and truly worthy of the Atari VCS name. Expert hardware partners are helping make this project possible and we couldn’t be more pleased with their contributions.”

Atari appreciates the community’s intense curiosity about VCS games and content, hardware specifications, production timelines and other key information, and is confident that it is putting the right pieces in place for a successful product and launch.

All Atari VCS branding and communications channels now reflect the product’s official name. Fans can follow Atari VCS on Facebook, Twitter @TheAtari_VCS and Instagram.