Train2Game News UK Video Game Industry Union

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is launching the first ever branch for workers in the UK’s video games industry, in an attempt to tackle the wide-scale exploitation now common in one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK economy.

The creation of the Games Workers Unite branch will not only make the IWGB the first union in the UK to represent games workers, but one of the first anywhere in the world.

Among other issues, the branch will look to tackle:

  • The use of excessive, often unpaid overtime, commonly referred to as “crunch”, where some workers have been reported to work as much as 100 hours a week
  • The use of zero-hours contracts, especially among Quality Assurance (QA) testers.
  • The industry’s lack of diversity and inclusion, as well as its failure to tackle the pervasive culture of homophobia and sexism.

The inaugural meeting of the IWGB’s Games Workers Unite branch, which will include the election of branch officials, will be held on 16 December. The IWGB expects hundreds to join the branch in the first few months.
The branch will be open to all past, current and soon to be workers in the video games industry, except those with hiring and firing power. The branch will include contract, agency and casual workers, as well direct employees.

The UK video games industry is the largest in Europe, with approximately 47,000 workers, according to UKIE.

Game worker and founding member of the IWGB’s Games Workers Unite branch Dec Peach said: “For as long as I can remember it has been considered normal for games workers to endure zero-hours contracts, excessive unpaid overtime, and even sexism and homophobia as the necessary price to pay for the privilege of working in the industry. Now, as part of the IWGB, we will have the tools to fix this broken sector and create an ethical industry where it’s not only big game companies that thrive, but workers as well.”

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “The game workers’ decision to unionise with the IWGB should be a wake up call for the UK’s gaming industry. The IWGB is proud to support these workers and looks forward to shining a massive spotlight on the industry.”

The IWGB is the leading union for precarious workers and workers in the so-called “gig economy”. It has led campaigns and strategic legal action against companies such as Uber, Deliveroo and CitiSprint.

Train2Game News Power UP Again Next Easter

Next Easter the Science Museum welcomes back its phenomenally popular interactive gaming event Power UP.

Returning for a fourth year this hands-on video game extravaganza features the very best video games, computers and consoles from the past four decades.

Power UP 2019 will take both gaming fans and novices on an interactive journey covering four decades of gaming history with 160 consoles and hundreds of games, right from retro arcade classics such as Space Invaders which also celebrates 40 years since carving out its place in pop culture, through to the latest in VR technology, catching a glimpse at what the future may hold for the world of gaming.

Michelle Lockhart, Science Museum Group Commercial Director said: ‘Following Power UP’s hugely successful run over the last three years, I’m thrilled that it will be returning to the Science Museum next spring. The allure of video games really is universal, there is something to excite and inspire everyone. This truly immersive experience offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to discover the technology and future possibilities of gaming in a fun and interactive environment.’

From Pong and Pacman to Sonic and Super Smash Bros, there is something to suit everyone, whether you’re a parent looking for child-friendly Easter holiday activities or a games aficionado who wants to revel in the classics. See the evolution of Super Mario Bros from Mario’s debut as a Donkey Kong villain to Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch, follow Lara Croft’s 22 year journey from the first PlayStation console to the latest generation PS4 and Xbox One, or get your nostalgia fix with the classic arcade games too good to update.

Evening adult-only sessions will run on Wednesday 10 and Wednesday 17 April, giving friends and competitive colleagues the perfect opportunity to battle it out on 18+ favourites like DOOM, Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto.

Register for priority booking by signing up to the Power UP email alert at sciencemuseum.org.uk/powerup

Train2Game News Kingdom Hearts III Opening

Internationally renowned singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada and eight-time Grammy Award winner Skrillex lend their talents to the opening movie of KINGDOM HEARTS III, the highly anticipated new title from SQUARE ENIX® and Disney.

The opening movie sets players up for the events to come in KINGDOM HEARTS III, as the ultimate battle for light and life comes to an epic conclusion. With the help of his loyal companions Donald and Goofy, Sora will team up with iconic Disney and Pixar characters in an attempt to defeat the darkness and save the universe.

To watch the trailer and listen to “Face My Fears,” visit: https://youtu.be/2VawSnaxtSI.

Fans can pre-order the track on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/face-my-fears-ep/1444855032?app=itunes

Skrillex, a long-time and self-professed fan of the KINGDOM HEARTS series, shares a close friendship with Hikaru Utada, which fostered the original collaboration, Face My Fears, to celebrate the game’s release.

Set to be released on January 18, 2019, the track has been produced in collaboration with Poo Bear, the acclaimed record producer who previously produced Justin Bieber’s multi-platinum selling single, What Do You Mean?

KINGDOM HEARTS III will be available for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X on January 29, 2019. For more information, please visit http://www.kingdomhearts.com/.

Train2Game Mortal Kombat 11 Announced

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have announced Mortal Kombat 11, the newest game in the award-winning franchise.

The official Mortal Kombat 11 Announce Trailer sets the stage for an epic, time bending story and features an original music track created in collaboration with multi-platinum selling rapper 21 Savage. Mortal Kombat 11 is developed by award-winning NetherRealm Studios and is scheduled for release beginning April 23, 2019 for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®4 Pro computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch™ system and PC.

The official Mortal Kombat 11 Announce Trailer is viewable here: https://go.wbgames.com/MK11_Announce_Trailer.

The song by 21 Savage featured in the trailer is titled “Immortal” and overlays scenes of an epic battle between two iconic characters, Dark Raiden and Scorpion, with a tease of a new character who is at the center of Mortal Kombat 11’s story.

Mortal Kombat 11 will make its first gameplay debut at Mortal Kombat 11: The Reveal, a highly experiential, community celebration of Mortal Kombat, taking place at 11 a.m. PST on Jan. 17, 2019 in Los Angeles and 7 p.m. UTC in London.

Mortal Kombat 11: The Reveal will be livestreamed globally at www.twitch.tv/NetherRealm and will feature a keynote presented by NetherRealm Studios. The event will also include the first opportunity for hands-on with Mortal Kombat 11 gameplay, tournaments and other Mortal Kombat themed activities.

Mortal Kombat 11 deepens and personalizes the experience unlike ever before with an all new Custom Character Variation System that gives players the creative control of building customized versions of the character roster. In addition, the game will introduce a new cinematic story that continues the epic saga that is more than 25 years in the making.

“By giving players more creative control, Mortal Kombat 11 is a testament to why this iconic franchise is so strong and increasingly relevant after more than 25 years,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “This game showcases NetherRealm Studios’ extensive talent to innovate and create epic experiences for the Mortal Kombat fans and new players alike.”

“It’s exciting to finally announce Mortal Kombat 11 and showcase what the team has been working on,” said Ed Boon, Creative Director, NetherRealm Studios. “Our Custom Character Variation System opens up an infinite amount of options for players to personalize their favorite fighters. We can’t wait until January when we’ll be showing more of the game.”

All pre-orders will receive the in-game, playable character, ‘Shao Kahn’. Those who pre-order on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One, at select retailers, will also receive access to the beta, which will be available in March for those platforms.

To learn more about Mortal Kombat 11, please visit mortalkombat.com or join the community conversation on Facebook (MortalKombat), Instagram (@MortalKombat), Twitter (@MortalKombat), Twitch (NetherRealm), YouTube (Mortal Kombat), Discord (MortalKombat), or Reddit (MortalKombat).

Train2Game News Get paid for your content

Indie Boost is excited to announce its partnership with Game Jolt, which will provide paid opportunities to content creators on the platform.

Through the partnership between Indie Boost and Game Jolt, all verified content creators on the Indie Boost platform are eligible to earn a portion of the revenue for specified Game Jolt titles.

This opportunity is available to all content creators who are currently using Indie Boost to discover new games.

All tiers––Verified and Partner––can get paid playing games they love by linking a partnered Game Jolt account to the Twitch or YouTube account they used to sign up to Indie Boost.

Games participating in Game Jolt’s revenue sharing program are indicated on the Indie Boost platform with a pie icon on the game’s thumbnail. Once a content creator on Indie Boost receives a key for an eligible game, they can obtain a partner link through Game Jolt. They can then include this link wherever their content is posted––on their stream or video––to start earning a share of all sales made from purchases made through that link.

Indie Boost is thrilled to be providing opportunities for content creators to earn rewards for promoting games.

Please check out the Partner page for more information about paid opportunities for content creators through Indie Boost: https://www.indieboost.com/partner.html

Train2Game News Nintendo Switch Christmas Offer

Nintendo UK is launching one of its hottest deals of the year.

Just in time for the festive season – a great value Nintendo Switch Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundle which includes a Nintendo Switch console and a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe game download code is available to purchase from the Nintendo Official UK Store now for just £279.99, a saving of £49.99 if purchased separately.

This limited bundle which includes a FREE full game download code for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the ideal gift for friends and family looking to rev their engines and race together anytime, anywhere this Christmas. This great value Nintendo Switch Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundle is also available to purchase across selected retailers from today whilst stocks last.

Comprising a Nintendo Switch console, a pair of Joy-Con controllers (Neon Red/Neon Blue), and a free full game download code for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a game which has already to date sold a staggering 11.71 million copies globally, this great value bundle has got everything two players need to start racing right from the get-go. Up to four players can get in the fun by using additional Joy-Con controllers, sold separately.

Nintendo Switch can be played anytime, anywhere, with anyone, so those races could be on the big TV screen at home, in the back of the car, or wherever else the racers in your life feel like hitting the track.

Available on the Nintendo Official UK Store and across selected retail outlets today whilst stock lasts, the great value Nintendo Switch Mario Kart 8 Deluxe bundle – containing a Nintendo Switch console, a pair of Joy-Con controllers, and a free full game download code for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – is ideal for the gift-giving season.

You can purchase the console at https://store.nintendo.co.uk

Train2Game News Help Fundraising

War Child UK today launched its latest instalment of the legendary Help fundraising campaign, developed alongside its US fundraising partner Children in Conflict.

Available to download now on Android via Google Play and Amazon Appstore, HELP features five brand new games available in one app, published by PlayStack, with all proceeds going to support War Child UK’s projects around the world.

Berlin-based Wooga, creators of hit story-driven casual mobile titles like June’s Journey and Tropicats, has brought to the table the chaotic ‘Rupert, Sell ‘em Don’t Break ‘em’, in which players take control of a clumsy elephant doing his best not to smash up his own work place – an antique store filled with delicate china goods.

A stalwart of War Child’s gaming activity, Football Manager creator Sports Interactive returns this year with new title ‘Tickets Please’, letting players take up the mantle of a train conductor that must check passengers’ tickets for validity while under the pressure of time and progressively grumpier commuters.

Mobile gaming giant Gameloft, maker of the enormously popular Asphalt series, has created ‘Fifty Buddies’. Players take charge of the fate of fifty jelly babies racing around a track, desperately dodging wrecking balls and avoiding traps.

Finally, Featherweight Games introduces ‘Mediocre Housekeeping’, which is the most fun a gamer will ever have putting their laundry away.

“The mobile games industry offers a great opportunity to engage and entertain millions across the globe,” said Adam Holmes, Gaming Partnerships, at War Child UK. “It’s been amazing to see the industry rally behind HELP, and we’re blown away by the games that have been created in just six days. Our partners in this represent the best in mobile gaming talent and we’re hugely grateful for their support.”

HELP on Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore will cost £2.99 – the price of a coffee – and 100% of net proceeds will go to War Child.

“HELP demonstrates what can be achieved through the combined endeavours of five great studios – and it shows the appetite in the industry to give back,” said Miles Jacobson, Studio Director at Sports Interactive. “For a small donation, less than a price of a pint, these awesome games will be yours and the life of an innocent child who has been affected by war will be transformed for the better, as will your soul.”

“It’s inspiring to see so many profoundly creative people work together for such a worthy cause,” said Harvey Elliott, Chief Executive at publisher PlayStack. “We’re deeply honoured to be involved and support through publishing the release in the app stores.”

HELP has had industry support from more than just developers too – partners goGame, Unity, Adjust, The ASO Co, SEGA Forever, TapJoy, Venatus Media, Vungle and Silver Linings QA have all been part of bringing the project to life and helping create the most enjoyable method of donating to a good cause in years.

For more information visit: http://helpmobilegame.com/

To download from Google Play visit: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.playstack.helpthegame&hl=en_GB

To download via Amazon Appstore visit: https://www.amazon.co.uk/HELP-Puzzle-Games-Support-Child/dp/B07KP93YTX

Train2Game News Nintendo Switch Sales

Nintendo Switch set two new records from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

It became the best-selling Nintendo console in U.S. history for that five-day period, surpassing even Wii system sales.

Nintendo Switch also had its best-selling week ever in the United States. In fact, according to Adobe Analytics, Nintendo Switch was among the most-purchased items online on Thanksgiving Day and the overall top-selling video game product online for the Black Friday-Cyber Monday time period.

Strong demand resulted in shoppers buying more than $250 million in Nintendo products from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, according to Nintendo’s internal sales figures, demonstrating that Nintendo has something for everyone this holiday season. That sales total accounts for video game systems like Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, retro systems like Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition and Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition, as well as all Nintendo-produced games and accessories. Total U.S. hardware sales for Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday increased 45 percent over the same period in 2017.

And that doesn’t even take into account that one of the most anticipated video game events of the year is still to come: the Dec. 7 launch of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game. As previously announced, the game has become not only the most pre-sold Nintendo Switch game of all time, but also the most pre-sold Super Smash Bros. game ever in the series.

Unless otherwise noted, the following data from Nintendo covers Nov. 22 to Nov. 26, and is specific to the U.S. only:

Nintendo Switch

  • Nintendo Switch hardware sales grew 115 percent compared to the same period in 2017.
  • Lifetime sales of Nintendo Switch, which is entering only its second holiday season, have reached more than 8.2 million units.
  • Sales of first-party games, including digital downloads, topped 1 million units Nov. 22-26, beating 2017’s totals by 78 percent.
  • Nintendo Switch games Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! have hit combined U.S. sales of more than 1.5 million units since their Nov. 16 launch.
  • Super Mario Party surpassed lifetime U.S. sales of 1 million units, becoming the fastest-selling game in the Mario Party series and the fifth million-selling first-party Nintendo Switch game in the U.S. alone, joining The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2.

Nintendo 3DS

  • Thanks in part to strong Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday sales, the total installed base for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems has hit 22 million.
  • Additionally, after 12 months of availability, lifetime combined sales of the Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon games crossed 2.2 million.

Classic Gaming Systems

  • Also aided by strong Nov. 22-26 sales, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition system surpassed lifetime sales of 2.5 million.
  • And the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition system surpassed lifetime sales of 2 million.0

Remember that Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems feature parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access.

For more information about other features, visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/ or https://www.nintendo.com/3ds.

Train2Game News LEGO Movie 2 Videogame

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group today announced The LEGO® Movie 2 Videogame, inspired by the much-anticipated sequel The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part from Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Animation Group.

The LEGO® Movie 2 Videogame will be available for Nintendo Switch™ system, PlayStation® 4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X, and PC in 2019 alongside the film and a collection of The LEGO® Movie 2 building sets.

Based on events from The LEGO® Movie 2: The Second Part, alien invaders have left Bricksburg in ruins!

It is now up to Emmet, Lucy and a host of heroic characters to go beyond their world and save their friends from the strange inhabitants of the Systar System. “Packed with fan-favourite and exciting new characters, mysterious locations and action from both the sequel and the original blockbuster The LEGO® Movie, The LEGO® Movie 2 Videogame is a wild adventure for kids to explore,” said Arthur Parsons, Head of Design, TT Games Studios.

“Players must scour the stars for rare items, materials and tools to complete their collections and help their journey across the LEGO® universe, experiencing a wide array of amazing environments, wacky vehicles and incredible creatures along the way.” “The LEGO® Movie 2 Videogame is a one-of-a-kind experience full of fantastic characters and open-world adventures with a strong emphasis on creative solutions to puzzles and building within the film’s universe,” said Sean William McEvoy, VP Digital Games & Apps, The LEGO Group.

“LEGO® fans of all ages will have fun rebuilding their own world using tools to create roads, change the landscape and build structures to unlock more rewards and missions.”

For more game information, visit LEGOMovie2-videogame.wbgames.com and follow the official social channels on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Train2Game News Hey Duggee game wins BAFTA

Educational app, Hey Duggee: The Counting Badge, has won a BAFTA Children’s Award for the ‘Digital in 2018’ category.

Created by Scary Beasties, a BAFTA award-winning digital agency in association with BBC Studios and Studio AKA, a multi-BAFTA winning, EMMY awarded & OSCAR-nominated independent animation studio, Hey Duggee: The Counting Badge is based upon the popular animated children’s television series, Hey Duggee (with the narration voiced by Alexander Armstrong).

Designed with Early Years Foundation Stage learning outcomes at its core, the app features a diverse mix of engaging counting tasks and automatically adjusted difficulty levels to help children of young ages learn and enjoy numeracy.

Hey Duggee: The Counting Badge is available on GooglePlay, Amazon, the Apple AppStore and retails at £2.99.

Peter Hickman, BBC Studios Producer for Children’s and Drama said, “it’s fantastic to see the Hey Duggee Apps win their second BAFTA at the Children’s Awards this year. Hey Duggee is an incredible brand that is loved by children and adults across the world. I’m immensely proud of the brilliant work BBC Studios and Scary Beasties have done to earn us this award, and look forward to seeing the brand’s continued success.”