It’s “Game On.” for E3, as The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) officially unveils plans for a reimagined, all-virtual E3 2021 that will engage video game fans everywhere.
With early commitments from Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games, Koch Media, and more to come, E3 2021 will take place June 12 through June 15.
Developers will be showcasing their latest news and games directly to fans around the world. The ESA will be working with media partners globally to help amplify and make this content available to everyone for free.
“For more than two decades, E3 has been the premier venue to showcase the best that the video game industry has to offer, while uniting the world through games,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President & CEO of the ESA. “We are evolving this year’s E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable center stage for video games.”
While maintaining E3’s longstanding position as a central destination for industry networking — where new partnerships and connections between video game publishers, developers and media are made — the digital format for E3 2021 means more people than ever can participate.
The ESA looks forward to coming back together to celebrate E3 2022 in person, in the meantime see you online this June!
Today marks the launch of the first Annual Games Careers Week: a diverse programme of events dedicated to getting more people to explore careers and education in one of the UK’s highest growth and most exciting creative industries.
Running March 26th- 2nd April 2021, over 75 event partners – including video games studios, nonprofit organisations, and educational institutions – will come together for this free online festival to provide exhibitions, interactive workshops and panel discussions, with the aim to encourage students, parents, career advisers, and teachers, to explore the potential of and many pathways into video games careers.
The week will provide a comprehensive guide for anyone interested in a career in video games. Participants of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from the experience and advice of some of the UK’s top industry leaders – from how games are made, useful subjects and skills to study, to portfolio building, networking and how to break into the industry, and more.
Key themes and insight into games careers from social, political, cultural, and economic perspectives will include:
Highlighting the need for greater access to education and advice on games careers to people from all backgrounds
Tackling industry stereotypes and misconceptions
Improving diversity and inclusion in video games by showcasing the diverse talents, viewpoints, and experiences behind critically acclaimed bodies of work
Unconscious bias in parental perceptions of careers for their children
As part of the event’s focus on diversity in video games, the event organisers have recruited a very diverse range of spokespeople from the sector. They also called for an industry-wide sourcing of diverse images of studios, makers, and the people behind the games, to create a royalty-free image bank for games careers. The aim is for would-be game designers, programmers, artists, producers and anyone from diverse backgrounds to be able to see people like themselves already in the industry, showing that it’s a career option available to all, regardless of race, gender identity, sexuality, neurodiversity, or having a disability.
Games Careers week is a non-profit event funded and organised byThe BGI, Grads in Games, and Into Games. It has amassed the support of over 75 partners, all recognising the necessity for educating the public about an industry with a global sales value of over £100 billion in 2020 (Nielsen) – and the fact that many of the world’s top games development studios are UK based.
Rick Gibson, one of the founders of Games Careers Week, commented “We want to help diverse young people, their parents, and their educators to learn more about why creative technology are so important for their futures. The games industry should be a poster-child for the UK’s export-driven knowledge economy. Most parents don’t know the UK supports over 25,000 stable, exciting and well paid jobs, which number grew by over 12% in 2020 right through the pandemic. We recognise there are education and knowledge gaps about games careers, especially amongst women and underrepresented communities, and we think the best way to build a more diverse workforce is to provide the tools, advice, and information to encourage a range of diverse new talent to explore their digital skills and career potential.”
Games Career Week has also received support from UK Minister for Employment Mims Davies: “Gaming can traditionally be a rather challenging sector to break into, so it’s great to see the industry giving such exciting opportunities to young people this Games Careers Week.
“Many companies in the gaming world have already signed up to the DWP Kickstart Scheme to help our next generation of workers into brilliant new roles as part of our Plan for Jobs, and I encourage other employers to get involved across the sector as we push to build back better from the pandemic.”
A full schedule of the Festival’s events, news, as well as a permanent information resource on games careers can be found at https://gamescareersweek.org/
Major themes of the Festival include a focus on achieving equity and social justice, ensuring a thriving planet, promoting mental health, and regaining a sense of security.
“The issues Games for Change has advocated for years have been accelerated through this time of adversity,” said G4C President, Susanna Pollack.
“We need to continue that momentum by sharing lessons learned and thinking big about the road ahead. We invite developers, researchers, innovators, and changemakers to create this shared vision for our industry and hope to inspire the next generation of media that tackles our world’s most pressing issues.”
Through an open call for session submissions, Games for Change is inviting the global gaming community to share the latest thinking around games and immersive media that imagine, inspire, and ignite a future rooted in tangible social impact. Talks, panels, workshops, and demos will be presented across multiple tracks, including but not limited to Civics & Social Issues, Health & Wellness, Games for Learning, and the return of the XR for Change Summit.
Given the increased interest from international communities joining the Festival virtually in 2020, Games for Change will feature more sessions and speakers whose work is making an impact outside of the United States. In addition, Games for Change reinforces that the Festival is a platform for all voices and backgrounds, providing the community an opportunity to celebrate and reinforce core values: cross-sector collaboration, innovative and progressive thinking, and diverse perspectives.
Nominations have also opened for the 2021 Games for Change Awards, which recognizes and celebrates games in various categories. Games and XR experiences released between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 are eligible to apply for one or more of the six award categories, such as Most Innovative, Best Gameplay, and Best Learning Game. Through a rigorous evaluation process by industry professionals, four finalists will be chosen in each category.
Submission portals for both speakers and awards open today and close on February 12. More information regarding selection criteria for each can be found on the Games for Change Festival website.
The Label’s annual Indie Showdown competition which celebrates indie game makers and honors excellence in the indie mobile game community is open through February 19, 2021.
Past winners include Levelhead by Butterscotch Shenanigans, What the Golf? by Triband, Mushroom 11 by Untame, Tiny Bubbles by Pine Street Codeworks, Old Man’s Journey by Broken Rules, and Bring You Home by Alike Studios.
Indie Showdown submissions will be judged not only on fun-factor, but on all aspects of the game’s craftsmanship – its design, technical, visual, and audio elements. With no cost to enter and cash prizes totaling $17,000, the world’s top mobile indie game makers are encouraged to submit today https://www.thelabel.game/indie-showdown.
“This is our sixth annual Indie Showdown and we’re excited to see what undiscovered games capture the judges’ attention and eventually land on the top charts,” said Mike Ouye, VP and General Manager, The Label. “While the year is just getting underway, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2021 when it comes to mobile games!”
The panel of judges will include the original Indie Showdown contest winner, Tim Garbos, Creative Director on What the Golf? as well as Itay Keren, founder of Untame Games and creator of Mushroom 11, and Joshua Babich, The Label’s Director of Product.
The top 10 games will be revealed on March 10, with winners announced shortly after. Prizes include: $10,000 for the grand first-place winner, $5,000 for the second place prize, and $2,000 for the third place winner.
Pre-launch: Your game must not be launched worldwide.
Indie: You must not have a publisher or signed publishing agreement.
Despite moving online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, AGDQ 2021 Online will find the world’s best speed-runners racing through a mixture of modern and classic games, all in the name of charity. The full schedule for the event, which runs from January 3-10, 2021, is now live at https://gamesdonequick.com/schedule
The event will also feature a brand new, virtual interactive crowd experience. GDQ Twitch subscribers can join the crowd on the GDQ website and use various emotes in the Twitch Chat to have the audience of Velocities (GDQ’s mascot) cheer on the runners, viewable by everyone. The interactive crowd experience will be available at GamesDoneQuick.com throughout the event.
AGDQ 2021 Online will be held this year in support of Prevent Cancer Foundation. Donations can be made directly to the charity during the event via the viewing page available at GamesDoneQuick.com. One hundred percent of all AGDQ 2021 Online donations go directly to Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Across the past decade, Games Done Quick has teamed with charities around the world, including Doctors Without Borders, AbleGamers, Organization for Autism Research, and Prevent Cancer Foundation, while bringing gamers together to marvel at the achievements of the most high-level speedrunners out there. To date, Games Done Quick has raised over $28 million for charity.
Last year, more than 2,750 people attended Awesome Games Done Quick 2020 in person, while the Twitch live stream saw a peak of 236,000 concurrent viewers. Through donations made during the event, more than $3.16 million was raised for Prevent Cancer Foundation.
The 2021 London Games Festival will showcase a range of unreleased titles from around the world, explore how games have aided players’ lives under COVID-19, and connect creators with global investors when it returns next year – running from Friday 19 March to Sunday 28 March.
Next year professionals and players alike have a wealth of activity to enjoy, the majority of it from home. This includes a brand new showcase of new games, some of which will be playable at home for free, broadcasts and streams from iconic London locations and a must-attend business track.
A select number of outdoor elements are also planned for LGF and will be fully unveiled in early 2021. These include a public exhibition celebrating Ensemble, the festival’s showcase of Black, Asian and marginalised ethnicity UK video games talent, plus events run by Now Play This, which returns to Somerset House at the end of March.
London Games Festival is backed by the Mayor of London and seeks to make London the games capital of the world. It is delivered by Games London, an initiative from Film London, the capital’s screen industries agency, and video games trade body Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment).
Highlights for London Games Festival 2021 include:
For the first time in its six years, LGF will curate an Official Selection of titles across key themes such as narrative excellence and diverse creators while offering enhanced ways for players to experience these games, from developer sessions through to streaming gameplay
Ensemble, Games London’s acclaimed exhibition of Black, Asian and marginalised ethnicity UK video games talent, returns with an outdoor exhibition in partnership with the City of London Corporation, showing in Aldgate Square and Guildhall Yard across March, April and May
Games Finance Market, running across 22 March to 25 March, which will connect 60 major investors with games businesses for private online pitch meetings curated by Games London
BAFTA Games Awards, the games industry’s most prestigious accolades, broadcast on the night of 25 March
Plus another head-turning collaboration with Now Play This. Now Play This runs 25 March to 28 March and is set to feature experimental gaming installations and activities at Somerset House
All content will be underpinned with daily broadcasts from London. This includes keynotes with major developers and creatives, plus explorations on key themes such as games’ impact on culture, how creators can address burning issues such as sustainability and diversity, collaborations with filmmakers, and the ways audiences found solace in virtual worlds while living under lockdown
LGF was one of the first events globally to switch to digital platforms in early 2020 and to great success: its programming this year generated millions of pounds of business for 402 participating global games companies. The call is now open for game submissions and applications for investor meetings in 2021.
Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London Games Festival will unlock more potential for the capital next year. The festival was one of the first events to switch to all-digital and we’re proud to see it evolve the model further with a dedicated games showcase and more. The games sector has proven its resilience in 2020 and we remain hugely committed to championing London and connecting the city’s game businesses to colleagues across the world, all while continuing to promote this exciting sector.”
Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said: “London Games Festival will focus on topics that are close to our industry’s heart – namely diversity, sustainability, and the ways many of us have used games to escape to at challenging times. As games continues to prove its value commercially, it’s never been more important to build invaluable connections between creators and funders to support the creation of world-changing games businesses in the UK.”
You can discover more about the programme in the coming months via www.games.london and @londongamesfest.
Following the success of GGJ NEXT Online – the Global Game Jam event for younger participants that takes place each summer, and this year also moved to a digital format – GGJ Online is officially announced to take place January 27-31, 2021. Join thousands of hobbyist, student, and professional game developers from over 115 countries across the world online this January to celebrate creation, collaboration and togetherness despite being apart!
Additionally, Seattle video game industry veteran and champion for game development and climate science, Tim Cullings, joins Global Game Jam, Inc as Director of Operations, replacing Jo Summers who served as the GGJ Executive Producer for over three years. A Systems Engineer at Oculus and Founding Board Member for Seattle Indies, Cullings also helped found GUILD, a support group for indie game developer community organizers, as well as Games For Our Future, a multi-city game jam that brings together climate science researchers and game developers to make games about climate change related issues.
“We’ve been discussing GGJ Online with our community on social media for a few months already. Given the current global situation, it was really never an ‘if’, it was a ‘when’ and ‘how’,” said Kate Edwards, Executive Director of Global Game Jam. “The tenets of Global Game Jam – creativity, collaboration, inclusion and fun – are more important now than ever, and we are so excited to have Tim Cullings joining our staff. His extensive background in supporting indie developers and organizing charity game jam events for change will prove invaluable as we steer into the uncharted waters ahead.”
The Global Game Jam® (GGJ) is the world’s largest game creation event taking place around the globe, typically at physical locations. A “game jam” is essentially a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. It is all condensed into a 48 hour development cycle. The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.
For individuals interested in running a GGJ Online site, please click here to fill out the application.
Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., unveiled today details for its upcoming slate of Magic: The Gathering releases through 2021.
The Magic team previewed the highly anticipated set Zendikar Rising – releasing on MTG Arena September 17 and September 25 for tabletop – by showing off first-looks at brand-new cards, new and returning card mechanics, and the set’s booster packs. The company also revealed exciting collaborations with AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and K-Swiss, set names and graphics for 2021, teased Magic: The Gathering Arena release on mobile, and much more.
Today’s announcements were part of the Zendikar Rising Debut Moment, a streamed event giving Magic players a look at what’s ahead for the entire brand, ensuring there’s something coming for everyone regardless of how they play.
Zendikar Rising takes players back to the popular world where a new adventure lies around every corner. Over 20 Zendikar Rising cards debuted today, including all-new powerful Planeswalkers cards for Nahiri, and Jace, with art for a new Nissa. Players also got a glimpse of returning gameplay mechanics Kicker and Landfall, as well as new ones: Party and Modal Double-Faced Cards. Booster Fun and Set Booster packs were also previewed.
Set Roadmap for 2021 Also revealed today were upcoming sets in 2021:
Kaldheim – Magic’s Viking world – Winter 2021
Strixhaven – The most elite university in the Multiverse – Spring 2021
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms – Dungeons & Dragons comes to Magic – Summer 2021
Innistrad (two unnamed sets) – Werewolves and Vampires are back – Fall 2021
Time Spiral Remastered – Recapture the fun of a fan-favorite block
Modern Horizons 2 – A follow-up to the popular Modern Horizons set
New Secret Lair Drops Magic teased two upcoming drops from its highly collectable, lovingly curated line Secret Lair: Yargle Day and an exciting collaboration with AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead.” Fans should follow @MTGSecretLair on Twitter for more news and availability.
Magic: The Gathering X K-Swiss Limited Edition Sneaker In collaboration with K-Swiss, the American heritage tennis brand, Magic unveiled a limited edition sneaker inspired by the iconic look of one of its most beloved characters, Jace Beleren. The reimagined Gstaad ’86 sneaker is crafted with premium leather overlays and underlays that are accented by glow-in-the-dark elements — the leather collar lining, printed designs, rubber outsole and extra laces. Metal lace clip-ons modeled after Jace’s character design and a debossed Magic: The Gathering logo at the tongue and a sublimated sockliner of Jace’s artwork complete the magical reinvention of this classic K-Swiss style. They are packaged with a special-edition box and tissue paper. The limited run sneakers go on sale today exclusively on Hasbro Pulse.
Magic: The Gathering Arena Comes to Mobile Magic confirmed what fans have long been asking for: the upcoming launch of Magic: The Gathering Arena for mobile devices. More details will be revealed soon.