Train2Game News Eleven new companies join the UK Games Fund community

The fourth round of companies to be awarded grants from the UK Games Fund has been announced today.

Eleven projects including PC, console and VR games developed by companies based across the UK have been selected and will now receive grants to develop their prototypes and undertake to support fellow developers with knowledge-sharing.

The fourth round of funded projects is the most demographically diverse group of companies since the UK Games Fund launched in 2015; 40% of project development teams are female-led and for the first time no London-based companies have made the final selection.

Competition for this round of funding was particularly tough as applicants seeking funding from the UK Games Fund were encouraged to self-select which route was most appropriate for them with the introduction of the Pitch Development Programme. Companies with past experience of shipping a game, a development team in place and ready to mobilise, a business plan and strategy for sustainability in place and with an already well-defined USP were encouraged to apply via the direct application route to Round 4.

Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries said:

“It’s marvellous to see grants awarded to companies that reflect such strength and diversity in the video games sector across the UK.

“The UK Games Fund has a proven track record of supporting innovative early stage games development, and I look forward to seeing these teams realise their creative potential.”

To date, the UK Games Fund has supported over 90 projects, and has a growing community with the increasingly popular Tranzfuser competition currently underway with 18 graduate development teams participating.

Paul Durrant, Managing Director, UK Games Talent and Finance CIC said:
“Our aim is to grow the UK’s early-stage games development ecosystem using a community-led approach and these new grant recipients have all agreed to give back significant time to support other companies through various peer-to-peer activities as part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal. Sharing knowledge and experience in this way adds significant value to the investment.”

Train2Game News Funding for your game

Global Top Round’s 2018 accelerator program is now accepting applications from independent video game studios around the world, with successful parties potentially receiving up to $300,000 USD of funding.

Now in its fourth consecutive year, GTR is an interactive accelerator program dedicated to supporting small studios, comprised of around one to ten staff members, from all over the world with the development, publishing, and fundraising expertise they need to take their games global and make their businesses sustainable.

The application period for the 2018 program is open from July 1 until August 19, with submissions to be made via the Global Top Round website. All submitting studios must have a playable game/demo build developed, with intentions to launch by mid-2019, and relevant assets prepared. Games that are already fully launched are not eligible.

A total of 20 games, from 20 studios, will be selected from the applicants and invited to attend the GTR 2018 Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 27-28 (for which travel and accommodation expenses of up to $2,000 USD will be covered). The event offers attendees two days of networking and showcasing, and it is held in conjunction with the Level Up KL Game Conference, the largest gaming conference in Southeast Asia.

At the GTR 2018 Conference, the 20 studios/games will be assessed by GTR’s core team and participants, with input from attending professionals including the event’s speakers, and a final 10 will move forward into the accelerator program. These 10 studios will be eligible to receive $40,000 USD in direct investments, guidance and exposure after a series of due diligence processes.

A few selected projects, deemed to be of considerable promise, will further benefit by receiving additional direct investments of up to $300,000 USD total from GTR. There is no set limit to the number of studios that could receive this investment, as GTR seeks projects of substantial potential, and talented teams and individuals to believe in. Initial investment and support of projects is provided in exchange for a percentage of studio equity not surpassing 5% and a small portion of the project revenue.

Games to have previously benefited from GTR’s program and its support since 2015 include Relic Hunters Legend by Brazilian studio Rogue Snail, Earth Atlantis by Thailand’s Pixel Perfex, UK team Dream Harvest’s Neuroslicers, and Woodpunk by Spain’s Meteorbyte Studios. These games, and many more to have been through GTR’s accelerator program, have enjoyed several award wins and nominations, and generous media attention.

“We put our greatest efforts into identifying talent and building trust with the studios,” says Global Top Round CEO, Danny Woo. “We’re prepared to go the extra mile once we’ve found the right team.”

“We have an impressive mix of both Western and Eastern publishers keen to review our games,” says Rick Nahm, GTR’s COO. “They take us seriously because we’ve proven of what we can offer, and we try to work very closely with them.”

For further information about Global Top Round, please visit the program’s official website.

Train2Game News A new market for you to sell your games

Two entrepreneurs who are creating a new marketplace for online gamers have secured a £200,000 investment from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

The funding will allow Alex Booth and Nick Gillett to bring their idea to market. Player Lands, which will be based in Nottingham, will allow gamers with no previous experience of e-commerce to open online stores and sell the content they create or find while playing.

The system will tap into the growing global market for in-game downloads and aims to become the leading e-commerce platform of its type.

Alex, a serial entrepreneur who also has a yacht and private jet hire business, came up with the idea after working as a consultant in the gaming industry. He joined forces with Nick, an angel investor and founder of London-based digital agency C360 which he sold in 2006. They set up Transaction Technologies in 2016 to pursue the idea.

Player Lands will offer customers a secure and straightforward way to buy content for their favourite games. It will give shopkeepers their own customisable store, together with tools to manage inventory, market their products and run promotions, while also providing detailed reporting to help them increase sales. The platform will be secure, easy-to-use and provide a safe environment for children as well as more seasoned players. It will use blockchain technology to create a completely transparent public ledger for each item traded.

Alex Booth, CEO of Transaction Technologies, said:
“This is an incredibly exciting time to be involved with the games industry, which despite its enormous size is still growing fast. We want to give gamers the opportunity to capitalise on their hard work in-game, letting them trade the items they’ve found or won for real cash. The investment from Mercia is going to help us bring the idea to market quickly and with the technical excellence this market demands.”

Dr Sandy Reid, Investment Manager with Mercia Fund Managers, said:
“The worldwide market for downloadable in-game content is growing rapidly and already dwarfs the income from pay-to-play games. However, it is served by mostly low-level e-commerce providers and content creators are struggling to find platforms that offer the professionalism and service that they need. The funding will enable Alex and Nick to put their idea into practice and fill this gap in the market. We feel there is a real opportunity for Player Lands to become the leading platform of its type in the coming years.”

Lewis Stringer, MEIF Senior Relationship Manager at the British Business Bank, commented:
“The innovative nature of Transaction Technologies is testament to the thriving creative and digital content sector across the Midlands. It’s great to see finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund being deployed in such exciting, early-stage technologies, and we look forward to Alex and Nick making a success of this forward-thinking concept.”

Lindsay Wetton, Senior Programme Manager for Business Engagement at the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“Creative and digital businesses, such as Transaction Technologies, form an integral part of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire economy. With help from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and its Growth Hub is working to ensure that businesses across its area are given the support that they need to grow, succeed and flourish.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

Train2Game News Scottish Games Company Receives Big Funding

Blazing Griffin, a digital entertainment group, today announced it has completed its Series ‘A’ round, raising £5 million led by private investors and matched by the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
The funds will be used to help support the group’s continued growth and to expand its game development portfolio, film output and post production services.

This latest round of funding builds on 5 years of substantial growth and an exciting year ahead for Blazing Griffin. From its current capacity of 30 staff, the group plans to use this investment to treble its headcount over the upcoming months.

Blazing Griffin is working on a number of on-going and unannounced game development projects. Following the launch of The Ship: Remasted and coupled with the investment, the games studio plans to build at least two new development teams.

The film department recently announced the start of principal photography for its first feature film project, Anna And The Apocalypse, starring Ella Hunt and Paul Kaye and backed by Creative Scotland. Blazing Griffin has many exciting licensed and original properties for film and TV in development with world-class talent and production partners, and is supported by slate development funding.

Building on their achievements and through the work on high profile shows, the post production team have created a new facility in Glasgow, with 4K delivery capabilities, to service UK-wide and international projects, specialising in remote workflows with international and UK partners – the first of its kind in Scotland.

“Having the hard work of all The Griffins be recognised in this way is an awesome feeling. I can’t wait for people to see everything we’re currently working on and very much looking forward to sharing all of our plans over the next couple of weeks and months.” said Managing Director, Peter van der Watt, “We all appreciate the continued support and confidence our investors and Scottish Enterprise have in our ambitious plan to become one of Scotland’s largest entertainment companies.”

The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s main economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

“Scottish Enterprise has been working with Blazing Griffin for over three years during which we have seen the company go from a fledgling games development studio to a diversified digital entertainment group” said Kerry Sharp, head of SIB, “Following on from our initial investment in February 2015, we are delighted to again support the group’s growth plans and, capitalising on the talented team it continues to build in Scotland, look forward to seeing the company create brilliant content across its games, film and post production portfolio that will be enjoyed by a global audience”.

Train2Game News UK Games Fund

​Consider yourself the next Kojima? Ready to become the next Rocksteady? Maybe you’ve got the skills to become a future Meier?
UK games developers could be in with a chance of securing up to £25,000 of government funding, as the hunt begins to find the UK’s next big video game.

The UK Games Fund is inviting developers to apply for the grants in a bid to support video games projects and help develop new talent.

The fund, which in now its third round, has so far helped 50 developers from across the nation see their gaming dreams transformed into reality thanks to more than £1.3m in government grants. 

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock MP said:

“The UK is a world leader when it comes to making video games, and we’re determined to make sure this continues long into the future.

“Our UK Games Fund has already helped many young games companies turn prototypes into a reality. Together with the Government’s video games tax reliefs this shows how we’re supporting this dynamic sector to attract further investment and new talent.”

The UK’s video games sector plays a vital role in the country’s thriving creative industries, which contributes £84 billion to the economy.

Video games developer Sensible Object, who successfully applied for funding from the first round of the UK Games Fund, have brought their game “Beasts of Balance” to life thanks to the government grant. About to be launched in retailers including John Lewis, “Beasts of Balance” is an ambitious mixture of a physical tabletop and digital game in which players stack beast-shaped pieces into a balancing tower that’s scanned by a connected smartphone or tablet.

On a visit to the Sensible Object studios in Somerset House, the Minister was shown how the developers have developed their designs and are now bringing them to market.

Alex Fleetwood, Sensible Object founder, said:

“Launching any venture is fraught with risks, but creative businesses like game companies come with even more challenges and the UK Games Fund is a very timely form of support for those that hope to grow and succeed in that area.

“The fund is well-run, straightforward to apply for, and clear in its decision-making, making it a valuable asset to game companies like ours and the industry as a whole.”

The Government’s UK Games Fund is aimed at supporting new video games businesses, encouraging talent, accelerating growth in regional games clusters and complements UK’s video games tax relief. Many small businesses lack the capital to help develop their ideas and attract private investment. The Fund has been created to help bridge that gap and help developers take their ideas from the drawing board and into production.

Paul Durrant, head of the UK Games Fund, said: “We’re really excited about this funding round, given the high demand and the quality of projects we’ve seen so far. It’s also good to see the success stories arising from our support. Sensible Object’s rapid progress shows just what we can achieve when we assist the UK’s top games development talent.”

  Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie,  said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s best and brightest creative games talent, and support from the UK Games Fund has already helped many projects get a much needed boost towards development and funding. The fantastic games that have already emerged from previous rounds shows what a huge asset this fund is to the games sector in the UK, and Ukie is proud to continue supporting the project through this next round.”

To apply for funding visit: ukgamesfund.com

Train2game News Jay and Silent Bob Game Funding

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Jump into the shoes of Lunch Box and Mr. Snoogans! The team at Interabang Entertainment is making a Jay and Silent Bob video game, called Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch!

Longtime fans of Kevin Smith’s Askew-niverse, the Interabang team is creating a game that captures the satire and irreverence of the movies and brings back the tone of the gone-before-its-time Clerks cartoon series. To kick off the project, Interabang Entertainment and Fig Publishing are giving fans a chance to get involved through a rewards and investment crowdfunding campaign for Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch on the Fig platform (www.fig.co ).

In Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch, players get into a tag team combo fight fest and wreak havoc on their foes with fists, feet, and the magic of self-esteem-destroying jibes while embarking on a mission to find their long-lost pot customers trapped in an Orwellian mega super shopping mall. The mall turns out to be a Utopian labyrinth with apartments, restaurants, hospitals and everything that a post-World War II nuclear bunker would contain—with a candy coating of fun.

Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch is a colorful side-scrolling 2.5D, over-the-top multiplayer tag-team brawler whose action escalates as the player travels deeper into the mall of purgatory. The team is creating the narrative through environment, design, combat and a new conversation combat system called the Convo Combo mode. This mechanic changes the dynamics of enemy showdowns through cutting insults combined with an intricate facial animation system that bonds dynamic fighting with timed phrase matching. This delivers a completely different kind of storytelling experience. Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch also includes co-op play, where players finish each other’s combos, and create havoc in the world’s largest mall.

“People have asked me for years why I never made a Jay and Silent Bob video game,” said Kevin Smith.  “Now I can tell them I was waiting for Justin Woodward from Interabang Entertainment and our own Elias to bring it together.  Couldn’t be happier to hand our characters off to folks who know them as well as I do.”

“Kevin Smith’s films have long inspired our team,” said Interabang founder Justin Woodward.  “During development for our first game, we’d take breaks to watch them back to back. The iconic characters, hilarious dialogue, and sheer surrealism of the Askew-niverse got us through rough patches during development and life’s struggles. We kept coming back to thinking about how amazing it would be to see Jay and Silent Bob in a game like the ones we design, and we’re amazed that we have this opportunity now.”

“The first time I heard about Justin creating a game based on Jay and Silent Bob, I wanted it to be a Fig campaign. I mean, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes in a Castle Crasher style brawler, fighting with fists, feet and insults – what’s not to like?!” said Justin Bailey, CEO, Fig. “This campaign will provide traditional rewards, and accept accredited investment as well as unaccredited reservations which will be collected once they are re-confirmed after the SEC filing process is complete.”

Beginning today at 9AM PT, anyone can help fund the project at Fig.co, the only video game-centric funding platform that offers investment and rewards-based crowdfunding. Fig.co provides game studios and their fans with a more balanced and sustainable approach to game development that helps unite fans, investors and developers.

The Fig campaign funding goal for Jay and Silent Bob: Chronic Blunt Punch is $400K and the campaign is open to investment (through Game Shares to be offered by Fig Publishing) and rewards (being offered by Interabang). Rewards range from premium digital goodies and new action figures based on designs from the game, to signed custom Kevin Smith-style jerseys and a walk-on in Kevin Smith’s next movie!

Train2Game News BrightLocker funding

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BrightLocker, a revolutionary new crowdpublishing platform created by a diverse group of video game industry veterans, is set to redefine the crowdfunding landscape for videogames with a platform that goes beyond simply allowing backers to fund projects. BrightLocker is the first platform to allow its community to actually participate in the funding, creation, selection and development of games.

Preparing for live launch in early 2016, the BrightLocker platform is now accepting signups for its Closed Beta testing, which will begin in early December.

“In the traditional crowdfunding model for videogames, consumers play the role of a pay-and-pray bystander, often backing games that never get made,” said Ruben Cortez, CEO, BrightLocker, Inc.  “BrightLocker will ensure that every game that gets funded actually gets made and published. We use the power of the crowd to put the ‘fun’ in funding, engaging with users throughout the entire development process, giving gamers the chance to imagine, choose, create, play and even earn money.”

By gamifying the process, BrightLocker rewards gamers at every step of the crowdpublishing process, from game concept through development to launch. For active members of the community, the platform and process are unique opportunities to make their favorite ideas become reality – all while earning rewards, achievements, and currency they can use on the platform and in future games, creating a never-ending virtuous cycle.

In addition to benefits for players, BrightLocker is also attractive for developers. Crowdpublishing on BrightLocker allows developers to work on games ‘pre-approved’ by gamers, reducing user acquisition cost and making development more efficient, dramatically increasing a titles chances of being a hit product. The games on BrightLocker are not limited to any one platform.

BrightLocker is set to officially launch and provide unprecedented power for gamers in early 2016. For more information on BrightLocker, and to sign up for the Closed Beta, please visit www.brightlocker.com.

Train2Game News adjust gets huge funding

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adjust, the leading business intelligence firm for mobile apps, has received $17M in funding from Highland Europe.

The funding round takes the company to a total of $30M raised since it was established in 2012.

Over the past three years, adjust has quickly expanded from its Berlin (DE) office to six additional cities: San Francisco (US), Istanbul (TR), Beijing (CN), Shanghai (CN), Tokyo (JP) and Sydney (AU). adjust now processes over 1 petabyte of mobile data each month and its SDK recently surpassed 1.3 billion live instances in mobile devices. The company also turned profitable in 2015, and is further demonstrating its ability to scale fast and efficiently.

This investment will further accelerate adjust’s product expansion, while strengthening its commitment to the mobile marketing industry through the prevention of fraudulent traffic, encouragement of user-friendly advertising practices and prioritization of privacy protection in mobile marketing.

Christian Henschel, CEO and Co-Founder of adjust, said: “As an independent third-party attribution solutions provider, we assume a central role in connecting app developers to ad networks, publishers and other ecosystem parties. We have now reached a critical scale where as a market leader within the ecosystem, we are uniquely positioned to drive both product innovation as well as industry standards.”

Sam Brooks, Partner at Highland Europe, added: “At Highland, we seek to invest in rapidly growing companies with global ambitions and a commitment to product excellence. We consider adjust’s technical expertise, vast device coverage and deep network integrations as industry-leading within the premium mobile measurement space, demonstrated by the business’ impressive momentum and trusted position among leading international brands. We are thrilled to partner with the adjust team.”

The investment will also enable the company to expand its offering and presence among underserved, high-potential businesses.

Henschel continued: “The growth of mobile-born companies around the globe signals a positive environment for the development of tracking solutions that provide quality data for business decision makers. As these companies become market leaders, more and more businesses will require a holistic mobile marketing tool. Our ambition is to become that essential part of their business intelligence and process data at scale, just as SAP broke out of its market scope decades ago.”

Train2Game News Video Games Prototype Fund

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The new Prototype Fund announced in the July Budget, following concerted lobbying by Ukie, has been launched today.

The Fund will have £4 million over the next four years with which to aid access to finance for both present and future games talent.

The Video Games Prototype Fund, run by the UK Games Talent and Finance CIC, will provide grants of up to £25k to help businesses turn ideas into working prototypes, used to attract private investment. Young and start-up companies will benefit from the scheme,  which is aimed at small and micro-businesses in the UK games industry. An emphasis will also be on nurturing new talent in the sector, with mentoring opportunities and skills support being provided along with the financial backing to successful applicants to the fund.

The project takes over from the Abertay Fund, which supported many earlier businesses to access finance when it ran from 2010 to 2014.

Access to finance is an ongoing problem for fledgling games development businesses attempting to create and retain new Intellectual Property. This financial and business support in the early stages of a studio’s opening will bridge the gap until private investment can be procured. Support for smaller, regional companies will indirectly help larger companies by developing the talent pipeline and stimulating the creation of more IP in the UK.

Successful grant applications will be decided upon published criteria, including potential for commercial success, viability and scalability.

CEO of Ukie, Dr Jo Twist, responded to the announcement, saying:

    We lobbied for this kind of support and we are pleased to see the Fund launch. It has enormous potential for the future of the UK games industry. Access to finance has been an on-going challenge for small and micro games businesses, and the financial support of the fund, as well as the mentoring opportunities that are provided, will open doors to a huge amount of unearthed games talent in the UK. Ukie is really proud to continue to support this project. It is one more step towards the UK becoming a world leader in games development.

Further information about how to apply for the Video Games Prototype Fund and the criteria can be found on their website.

Train2Game News Infinario Funding

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Aspiring game studios now have the opportunity to set themselves apart from the crowd and get funding for their game from INFINARIO, the first player analytics platform for game designers.

More than 100,000 EUR is waiting to be awarded to the most promising games in early stages of development from all around the world. All eligible projects can win either (or both!) of the two prizes – one picked by a jury of experts and the other one awarded in a public voting.

All that’s needed is to start tracking the game in INFIARIO by the end of April and get crazy with dashboards, segmentations, funnels and other useful analyses for 30 days. Moreover, developers who register and start to track their games early, INFINARIO will provide valuable feedback to boost their chances to secure the funding.

Using INFINARIO during the Get Funded campaign is absolutely free for all, with no strings attached and definitely no credit card needed. Find out more at http://infinario.com/getfunded

The grand launch of INFINARIO is going to take place at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Don’t miss the chance to meet INFINARIO’s team of game experts, learn why you need player analytics and get in touch with the latest trends in game design.

To learn more visit www.infinario.com , check out the blog and follow INFINARIO on Facebook and Twitter.