Train2Game news: BAFTA announces new award categories for debut, online gaming and performing talent

Train2Game students will be aware of the increasing popularity of online brower based games, which has seen industry giants attempt to grab a piece of the action.

Now BAFTA are set to recognise the importance of browser based games from next year, with Online – Browser one of four new categories for the GAME British Academy Video Games Awards.

The other categories new for 2012 are Debut and Performer and Online – Multiplayer.  Debut will reward the best game from a new game development studio that releases its first title in 2011, with the idea of rewarding the work of new studios. Perhaps a Train2Game student could potentially win this one in future?

The Performer award will recognise “excellence in performance featured in a game,” which could include anything from voice work to motion capture.  Meanwhile, Online – Multiplayer will be awarded to “the best online multiplayer games experience,”

“BAFTA annually reviews its Awards categories to ensure they remain relevant and valued within the industry,” said Chairman of BAFTA’s Video Games Committee, Ray Maguire.

“Over the last year, we have witnessed the increased sophistication and popularity of online gaming, and so our two new Online categories will ensure the scope of creative work in this area is being properly recognised.”

“We are equally delighted to begin recognising the performance aspect within games, as we do for film and television, which further demonstrates the common ground between the industries.”

“Debut Game is another important addition this year, which reflects the changing game-development landscape and the rise of new, independent studios.” he added.

The GAME British Academy Video Games Awards will take place on Friday 16 March 2012. As reported by the Train2Game blog, Heavy Rain was the big winner at this year’s ceremony, taking three awards.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the new categories? And who do you think currently deserves to be nominated?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game students take note – one third of UK population using smartphones

 

One third of people in Great Britain own a smartphones, while gaming is the fastest growing online pastime.

That’s according to a report from Ofcom, which argue confirms something the Train2Game blog has reported on a number of times – that mobile gaming is becoming a huge phenomenon. It’s therefore an area that Train2Game students would be wise to think about pursuing a career in.

And while the Ofcom report states the iPhone, with its easy to use App store, is still the preferred choice of smartphone for many, the Train2Game blog previously reported that Android devices are increasing their share in the market.  Indeed, many Train2Game forum users own Android smartphones themselves.

Interesting, the Blackberry is the most popular smartphone among teenagers.

Meanwhile, the Ofcom report reveals that there’s been a 23% increase in online gaming over the last year, with smartphones likely to have contributed to this too. Online social media games are also becoming more and more popular, with the Train2Game blog reporting that more and more developers are using it as a platform to release games.

Indeed as reported by the Train2Game blog earlier this week, Civilization developer Sid Meier said games ‘will take over the world’ and social media gaming will play a part in this.

“I think now is one of the most exciting times to be a Game Designer” said Meier.

“With the rapid growth of social network games there are new opportunities for smaller indie developers to make and distribute games, so we’re seeing a wider variety of games on all kinds of cool devices than ever before. That’s great for the whole industry.”

And as previously reported by the Train2Game blog, both smartphone and social media gaming, free-to-play could provide a viable model for making revenue from games.

“The guys who are making more money are allowing people – if they like the game – to keep upgrading. And instead of the maximum amount of that money you can make from customer being 99c you can make $5, in some cases $30.” Industry analyst Nicholas Lovell previously told the Train2Game blog.

So with one third of Brits using a smartphone, that’s a huge potential audience for any iPhone games produced by Train2Game students; it could very much be your future.

So Train2Game, do you see developing games for smartphones as a good career path?  Is the potential audience just going to keep growing?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Develop]

Train2Game students will be happy, Over half of UK population plays games

 

If Train2Game students ever needed something to remind them about what reach the games industry has, this is it; over 50% of people in the UK play games.

That’s according to a report from games market research firm Newzoo, which suggests estimates the 31million people in the UK, or 52% of the population, spend money on video games.

Train2Game students probably aren’t surprised to hear that its consoles that bring in the most money, with an estimated £1.6 billion to be spent on the various consoles and their games this year.

Other estimates suggest that £450 million will be spent on physical copies of PC & Mac games, £400 will go on casual games, with£350 million being spent on MMOS. Digital downloads of PC and Mac games through programmes such as Steam will see £330 million being spent on them, while Brit is will spend £300 million on mobile games.

The average person in the UK plays games on 3.9 of the above platforms, with casual gaming websites proving the most popular. Consoles are the second most popular means of playing video games. People spend an average of 43 minutes playing games everyday.

“Compared to the US, the UK shows a more traditional divide of money spent by consumers, with 56 per cent spent on console and boxed PC/Mac games, whereas in the US, this figure has dropped to 45 per cent,” Newzoo CEO and co-founder  Peter Warman said..

“No other country surveyed shows such a significant difference between time and money spent. For instance, in the UK, online and mobile gaming takes 60 per cent of time but only 35 per cent of money.

“We expect the free-to-play business models on all platforms, including consoles, to not only push the UK market back to growth but also decrease the current gap between time and money spent.”

Warman may be right when it comes to predicting that free-to-play model will expand, indeed, as reported by the Train2Game blog just last week, EA believe freemium can be as profitable as console games.

What’s certain is that with an ever increasing number of people playing games, partially thanks to the rise of casual and mobile games, it’s a good time to attempt to get into the games industry through completing a Train2Game course.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the figures? Does anything surprise you? Does it offer you encouragement about your choice of career path?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Barriers of entry into industry “being blown away” say Remedy (Good news for Train2Game students then!)

Remedy logo

In a statement that Train2Game students may mind surprising coming from a big developer, Alan Wake producers Remedy believe casual and social games are very good for the games industry.

Last week, the Train2Game blog reported on Angry Birds reaching 200 million downloads; it’s just one sign of how huge this relatively new sector of the games industry has become.

And Remedy Executive Vice President Aki Järvilehto believes that this is a positive thing, which allows easier entry into the games industry – some Train2Game are likely to see themselves getting their first job in a mobile development role.

“I think the market is changing in a radical fashion. Barriers of entry are literally being blown away. New business models are booming and this is not about devaluation,” Järvilehto told Industry Gamers.

“Facebook is doing tremendous things to gaming and attracting completely new people to enjoy different more casual and social games. I can’t see how the fact that mainstream consumers are finally embracing our industry could be negative. After all isn’t that what we’ve been hoping for since forever?”

“Games and gaming as an experience is certainly changing – platforms are evolving and developers and consuming is evolving with it” Järvilehto concluded.

Facebook games have certainly become popular, with the Train2Game blog previously reporting on the success of titles such as Cityville.

Last month, the Train2Game blog even reported that the role of a Game Designer is even more important for a casual title; so working on one could provide a Train2Game student with large amounts of experience!

Meanwhile, earlier this month the Train2Game blog revealed how Remedy believe game developers learn from their mistakes.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Järvilehto’s comments? Do you agree with his views about casual games? Can you see yourself developing one in future?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Industry Gamers]

Nintendo boss labels ‘cheap mobile games’ biggest risk to games industry

Reggie Fils Aime Train2Game blog image

The Nintendo of America boss has labelled low price mobile phone games are one of the biggest risks for the games industry. Reggie Fils-Aime made the comments in an interview with GameTrailers TV.

“I actually think that one of the biggest risks today in our industry are these inexpensive games that are candidly disposable from a consumer standpoint,” said the Nintendo Executive.

“Angry Birds is a great piece of experience but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that for one or two dollars I think actually create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be two dollars.

“I actually think some of those games are overpriced at one or two dollars but that’s a whole different story.”

The comments could be seen as a direct attack on the Apple App store, which sells many games for less than £1…with each iOS owner downloading an average of 60 apps. The remarks come just weeks after Capcom suggested that mobile gaming is drawing people away from traditional handheld consoles. It’s an opinion that Train2Game forum users agreed with.

Nintendo themselves are preparing for the global launch of the 3DS, and you can find out about the device on the Thoughts of Train2Game blog. The price of Nintendo 3DS games is expected to be as much as £39.99, but the company still believe the device will have a ‘rocket start’

Meanwhile, it’s been predicted that the revenues of social media gaming will surpass $1 billion this year.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Reggie Fils-Aime’s comments? Does he have a legitmate concern or is he just ‘trash talking’ one of Nintendo’s biggest rivals? Are the games too cheap? Or do you think the Nintendo 3DS titles are too expensive?

As usual, you can leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum. Alternatively, you can let us know what you think via Twitter.

Train2Game, in association with DR Studios and the University of Bedfordshire, will be holding a Game Jam at the end of March. For more information, see this Train2Game blog post or the Train2Game Game Jam Facebook page. Alternatively, keep an eye on the Train2Game Game Jam Twitter account.

Almost 70% of internet users play casual games

Train2Game Games Survey blog image

Almost 70% of the UK’s online population now use the internet or mobile phones to play games. The good news for Train2Game students – who may look to develop casual games in future – comes from the Newzoo National Gamers Survey 2010 of US and key EU markets.

The number of people playing on social networks, mobile devices or dedicated casual game websites has grown to 67% of the online population in the US and UK.The report says:

On average, online casual game destinations, such as RealGames/Zylom, King.com and PopCap.com reach two-thirds of this audience. As these players extend their games offering to social networks and mobile devices, they find themselves servicing the majority of the nations’ online population and 73% (Germany) to 88% (US) of all gamers. Overlap between platforms is considerable, illustrated by the fact that 46 million Americans – or 33% of all casual gamers – play games on all three platforms.
Graphs on US, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium are available at www.newzoo.com

Peter Warman, Newzoo MD adds

It is clear from our data that there is no such thing as “the typical casual gamer”, as almost everyone plays a casual game at least now and again, including people playing World of Warcraft or Call of Duty Black Ops. As games become a more integrated part of people’s lives, there is a place and time for every type of game, regardless of platform”.

The Newzoo survey comes less than a month after the Social Gaming Smart Pack from Econsultancy revealed one fifth of all consumers play social media games. You can read about the report here on the Train2Game blog.

With more and more reports suggesting social media and casual gaming is on the rise, a small team of Train2Game students who produce a good game could potentially find that takes off thanks to how relatively simple it now is to distribute a product online.

The massive success of casual game Angry Birds has seen merchandise based on the game appear in stores around the world. While the ever increasing recognition of social media gaming has seen it become part of BAFTA. (See the Thoughts of Train2Game blog for more information)

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on yet another survey reporting an increase in casual gaming? Are you starting to think this might be a market you want to develop games for? And how big do you think it can get?

As usual, you can leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum. Alternatively leave us a comment on the Train2Game Twitter.

[Source: Newzoo]

Train2Game, in association with DR Studios and the University of Bedfordshire, will be holding a Game Jam at the end of March. For more information, see this Train2Game blog post or the Train2Game Game Jam Facebook page. Alternatively, keep an eye on the Train2Game Game Jam Twitter account.

Sony: casual gaming “a growing market that we simply cannot neglect”

Sony PSP2 Train2Game blog image

Train2Game students will probably know it as the worst kept secret in gaming, but today the PS2P was finally officially revealed. You’ll be able to read all about it on the Thoughts of Train2Game blog shortly.

Not only are Sony confident the PSP2 (codename: NPG) will attract hardcore gamers, but they’re also planning to corner the casual market through Android enabled smartphones. This will happen through the newly revealed ‘PlayStation Suite’ which will allow Sony games to be played on Android devices.

Writing on the PlayStation Blog,  President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Andrew House said the opportunity was too hard to ignore:

“Casual gaming on multi-purpose mobile devices is a growing market that we simply cannot neglect. With that in mind, PS Suite is a new initiative to offer PlayStation quality games on Android based portable devices, be it mobile phones, smartphones or tablet PCs. By offering a fantastic selection of legacy PlayStation games (PS one classics), alongside content made specifically for PS Suite, we believe that we will be offering the PlayStation experience to a wider base of users.”

“Via a program, called PlayStation Certified license program, we will work with hardware manufacturers to provide devices that optimize the gaming experience. We want to give consumers the freedom to choose between various devices when they wish to enjoy a certain piece of PlayStation content.”

“We also realise that PlayStation content should be provided through a secure and unique means, that is both reliable and user friendly. Therefore we also plan to open PlayStation Store to download content on the Android based portable devices. This is a significant move for us and one that we firmly believe will make PlayStation content more accessible than ever before.”

Sony’s move towards the casual market may not come as a surprise to regular Train2Game blog readers, with a recent report stating that social media and casual games are booming.

While earlier this month Capcom suggested that smartphones are drawing people away from handheld consoles. Could developing games for Android phones therefore be a good move for Sony?

Last month Android revealed that their latest operating system – Gingerbread – is optimised for Game Development.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the Sony move towards the casual market? If you’re an Android phone user, would you use it to play Sony games?  And do you think gaming giants like Sony moving towards casual games is a positive thing when it comes to finding work in the games industry?

As usual, you can leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Remember, you can follow Train2Game on Twitter here.

iPhone game Angry Birds merchandise heading to High Street

Angry Birds Train2Game blog image

In recent weeks the Train2Game blog has been reporting on the rise of social media and casual games, and all evidence does point to the genre becoming more and more successful in future.

When it comes to the realm of Facebook, Cityville is currently the most popular standalone game with over 100 million users playing in the less than two months since it was released. However, when it comes to casual games for mobile phones Angry Birds is King.

Angry Birds is the most popular game on the iPhone, with over 50 million downloads and is an almost permanent fixture in the top paid software chart in the Apple App store. Now this success looks like it could lead to even more revenue for developers Rovio, with Angry Birds merchandise now seemingly set to invade the High Street. It’s something that Train2Game students may dream of seeing happen with their own games!

Speaking to MCV, Rovio spokesperson Ville Heijari said:

“We have licensing agents in North America and Europe going through various opportunities. We want to address fans of all ages with fun and inspiring Angry Birds merchandise – solid products that will contribute to building a strong brand.”

“The full console games will be available later in 2011. We’re looking at digital distribution as our main channel at the moment, but have not ruled out boxed games.”

Yes, you read that correctly Train2Game blog reader, later this year it may be entirely possible to walk into a High Street retailer and buy a game that first appeared on the iPhone.

Cuddly toys and mobile phone covers are already available, while Rovio say stationary, board games and clothing are also on the way.

Game PR boss Neil Ashurst says Angry Birds “will become like Harry Potter in terms of the enthusiasm around it.”

There is certainly a lot of enthusiasm around the casual mobile game, with the New York Post reporting that a TV series could be on the way! Would any Train2Game students like to see games they create made into a broadcast series?

Whatever happens with Angry Birds in future, it’s already clear that mobile gaming could be a very lucrative market for a Train2Game student development team.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the ever rising success of Angry Birds? Have you played it? Is it worth the hype? And would you like to see games you develop end up with merchandise including pencil cases and board games!?

As usual, you can leave your thoughts here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Souce: MCV Online]