Train2Game News

It’s time to soldier up because Black Ops is back!

The series which has become the most played in Call of Duty® history as well as a cultural phenomenon around the globe returns October 12th with the release of Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4, a gritty, grounded, all-out combat experience.

Black Ops 4 raises the bar for Multiplayer mode that increases tactical gameplay and player choice, along with the biggest Zombies offering ever with three full experiences at launch, and Blackout, where the Black Ops universe comes to life in a massive battle royale experience featuring iconic characters and locations from all four Black Ops games in a one-of-a-kind offering that is uniquely Black Ops. Published by Activision and developed by award-winning studio Treyarch, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4transforms the established universe played by hundreds of millions of fans with the largest gameplay experience ever created in the series.

“Black Ops 4 gives our community more ways to have fun with their friends than anything Treyarch has ever created and introduces meaningful innovations to every element of the game, including next level tactical team-based multiplayer, the biggest zombies offering yet and Blackout, where the largest map in Call of Duty history brings together the rich universe of Black Ops,” said Rob Kostich, EVP and GM, Call of Duty. “More than 200 million players have called Black Ops home, and they’ve played for more than 15 billion hours. This is an incredible community that has inspired the development team to take their innovative gameplay design to new heights.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is scheduled for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on October 12th. Fans can pre-order now and get access to the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Private Beta*. Black Ops 4 for thePC delivers a fully-optimized experience, which for the first time in Call of Duty’s history will be available exclusively on Battle.net, Blizzard Entertainment’s online gaming service.

The game was revealed earlier today in a livestreamed community event broadcast worldwide across 10 languages, as Activision and Treyarch unveiled an unprecedented first look along with a trove of detailed game information.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 features gritty, grounded combat, along with new levels of customization and tactical gameplay, and a variety of new weaponry, maps and modes for the ultimate Black Ops multiplayer experience. The game features the return of the iconic Pick 10 system, along with a series of innovations in weapon controls, combat flow, health regeneration, and player movement. Black Ops 4 goes deeper than ever before into the fiction of multiplayer, where players will explore the world of Specialists – who they are, why they exist, and what battles they fight together – while mastering their gameplay through solo and multiplayer combat experiences. Black Ops 4 features a combination of new and returning Specialists, each with their own unique weapons, equipment and playstyles. Players will be powerful alone, but devastating as a team working together.

“Black Ops 4 is by far the most ambitious title our team has ever created,” said Dan Bunting, Co-Studio Head, Treyarch. “At its core Black Opshas always been about challenging convention and boldly taking our gameplay in new directions. With Black Ops 4, we’ve designed an experience for all play styles and skill levels from casual to competitive. It brings a layer of tactical depth that rewards players for mastery, and just feels so good to play.”

Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the original Call of Duty Zombies, Black Ops 4 also debuts an entirely new and unprecedented Zombies experience that’s the biggest Day One offering in franchise history – with three fully-featured Zombies experiences at launch – IX, Voyage of Despair and Blood of the Dead. With immersive new adventures, a brand new cast of characters and a nefarious new enemy, Black Ops 4 Zombies will feature the deep gameplay and easter eggs that the rabid community of fans devours.

It also includes the most customizable action to date, new systems for creating and completing community challenges, and social systems designed to connect players. Black Ops 4also reintroduces difficulty levels and an in-game tutorial to onboard new players to the Zombies universe, while giving hardcore players the option of ratcheting up the challenge. Additionally, Zombie Rush is a brand new mode that streamlines the gameplay experience, introducing enticing new challenges to grizzled veterans, while creating a whole new tempo of gameplay for newcomers.

In addition to unveiling Multiplayer and Zombies in today’s world premiere, the team also introduced Blackout – the new battle royale-style experience that combines Black Ops’ signature fast, fluid, guns-up combat, with fierce new levels of survival competition across iconic Black Ops settings re-imagined at a colossal scale. Blackout is an experience unlike any other game or mode in Call of Duty history, where players will have to scavenge, strategize, compete and survive to win.

Featuring the largest map ever built in Call of Duty – 1,500 times bigger than Nuketown – Blackout thrusts players into a collision course as they play as classic characters spanning the history of the Black Ops series including the original Call of Duty Zombies Origins cast. Battling solo or in teams, players will engage in diverse combat complete with ground, air and sea vehicles across a gamespace unlike anything ever in Call of Duty. Players will encounter fan-favorite Black Ops map locations and call upon a massive arsenal of Black Ops weaponry and equipment as the winner-takes-all action creates a new way to play Call of Duty.

“The Black Ops community means everything to us, so we knew in order to deliver something really special for our fans like Blackout, with the biggest map we’ve ever created in Call of Duty, we had to push ourselves and our tech to the absolute limits,” said Mark Gordon, Co-Studio Head, Treyarch. “The same goes for our PC community. They have inspired and fueled us to set a new standard on PC across every aspect from dedicated servers and security to full optimization and polish that’s worthy of both Black Ops and Battle.net.”

For the PC, Treyarch is co-developing with Beenox, who together are working closely with Blizzard to optimize Black Ops 4 for Battle.net. Black Ops 4 represents the largest development team assembled for a PC title in the series. Black Ops 4 on PC will have uncapped framerate, 4K resolution and HDR, support for ultra-wide monitors and the ability for players to extensively customize the performance and visual quality for their specific hardware. In addition, players will be able to select from pre-set control options, including options for left-handed players, or fully customize the keyboard and mouse controls to their preference. In addition, Treyarch and Beenox worked closely with the team at Blizzard to incorporate Battle.net’s social systems, security, and server stability into Black Ops 4 to prepare for the release on Battle.net on October 12th.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is published by Activision, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), and developed by Treyarch with additional development support from Raven Software and PC development with Beenox. For more information and the latest intel check out: www.callofduty.com , www.youtube.com/callofduty and follow @Treyarch and @CallofDuty on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.

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 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 Caffeine and eSports

Caffeine announced a deal with ESL, the world’s largest independent esports company, to bring esports content to Caffeine’s social broadcasting platform.

Live coverage kicks off this week with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at the Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship in Katowice, Poland on March 3 -5, 2018.

Caffeine was co-founded in April 2016 by Ben Keighran and Sam Roberts. The company is developing a social broadcasting platform that aims to fundamentally change the way people create, consume, share, and monetize live entertainment.

The partnership will see the formation of three social broadcasts of ESL content on the Caffeine platform: a live broadcast featuring AAA esports tournaments (Caffeine.tv/ESL_Live), a 24/7 Greatest Matches broadcast (Caffeine.tv/ESL_Replay), and a 24/7 Highlights broadcast (Caffeine.tv/ESL).

A “Made for Caffeine” esports talk show, The Magazine, will premiere later this spring. Each broadcast will use Caffeine’s social, real-time features to bring a more personal and friendly experience to live-streamed esports.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with ESL. We want to bring friends together around the content they love in a casual, friendly way, and what better way to do that then to host the world’s most popular esports gaming company’s content on Caffeine,” said Ben Keighran, CEO of Caffeine. “This week, fans from around the world will be able to join each other and tune in to ESL live coverage, with highlights of the best events from this year and previous years following close behind.”

“Caffeine brings a new type of social experience to ESL’s esports content,” said Nik Adams, Senior Vice President, Global Media Rights & Distribution of ESL. “ESL is at the frontier of new streaming concepts and new technologies. One of ESL’s goals is to expand esports to new audiences and the partnership with Caffeine brings us one step closer to our goal.”

As a social broadcasting platform, Caffeine users find content based on the people they follow in their social circles and come together to share that content. Personal conversations between friends and broadcasters are given preference, enabling more meaningful social engagements while disposing of toxic chatter and endless feeds of meaningless comments. Since Caffeine is built on its own infrastructure, it will deliver ESL’s content and conversations with no latency, allowing broadcasters to answer questions in real-time and build stronger relationships with their fans.

To watch ESL on Caffeine and get notified of upcoming events, fans need only sign up for a Caffeine account, follow the ESL account of their choosing, and then invite their friends to join them as they tune in.

ESL on Caffeine:
– Live content of AAA eSports tournaments.
– Recent highlights from global tournaments.
– Replayed broadcasts from some of ESLs greatest matches, shown “live” for the first time on Caffeine.
– “The Magazine”, an eSports talk show that will premiere later in 2018, which allows broadcasters to present the latest esports news live, and to react in real-time to audience questions.

For more information or to start broadcasting your content, visit www.caffeine.tv .

Train2Game News Super Mario jumping back to the big screen

Everybody’s favourite red hat wearing plumber (and probably his less popular green hat wearing brother) are coming back to the big screen.

Nintendo have officially announced a partnership with animated movie producer Illumination Entertainment, the studio behind big hits such as the Minions franchise.

The film will be co-produced by Nintendo representative director Shigeru Miyamoto and Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri.

Universal Pictures and Nintendo are co-financing the project, and Universal Pictures will handle the film’s theatrical distribution worldwide.

This has all the makings of a huge hit.

However this isn’t the first time the Mario brothers have hit the big screen but the less said about that the better.

We will bring you more news on the movie when we know more.