Train2Game News One Special Day 2019

One Special Day, the games industry’s biggest annual day of fundraising, returns on Friday 4th October 2019 and already some of the giants of the industry have pledged their support.

Over 50 partners from across the games industry including SEGA, Codemasters, Jagex and Zynga will be rolling up their sleeves and getting involved in the event, which promises to be the biggest yet. Many companies will be donating a day of their income from game sales whilst others will stage their own fundraising events.

All the funds raised will support the work of SpecialEffect, the games industry charity dedicated to levelling the playing field for disabled gamers.

Since its inception in 2016, One Special Day has been supported by developers and gamers from all over the world and has raised over £900,000. The vital funds enable SpecialEffect to help disabled gamers both the UK and around the world through personalised help, developer support and initiatives such as EyeMine, software for controlling Minecraft with the eyes.

SpecialEffect CEO and Founder, Dr Mick Donegan, said “We’re overjoyed with the response again this year and very grateful to our One Special Day partners. The day unites the worldwide games industry and their fantastic communities of gamers because they all understand what incredible work we’re doing here. SpecialEffect has a profoundly positive impact on the lives of disabled gamers and events like One Special Day play a huge role in enabling us to reach more in the coming year.”

Companies including Rocksteady, Space Ape, Miniclip, Seriously, Outfit7 and Rare have also signed up. Craig Duncan, Rare Studio Head, said “Because of their unique work, SpecialEffect hold a special place in our heart, and indeed the whole of the video games industry, so we’re looking forward to making One Special Day 2019 the biggest so far.”

Rich Eddy, Director of Communications at Jagex, added “Our RuneScape community has celebrated SpecialEffect’s incredible work for many years, so there was no question that Jagex would be a proud supporter of this year’s event and play a big part in One Special Day. By putting the fun and inclusion back into the lives of those with physical disabilities to play video games, the work of SpecialEffect really levels the playing field”.

For more information on how your company can get involved in One Special Day, email Nick Streeter at nick@specialeffect.org.uk or go to www.onespecialday.org.uk

Train2Game News Jagex Recruitment Drive

Jagex today announced key senior hires within its development teams to drive forward the company’s growth plans to continue the stellar performance of the RuneScape franchise, build new game experiences and support its third-party games publishing initiative.

With Jagex aiming to grow its workforce by 25% in 2019, Melissa Bachman-Wood joins as Vice-President of Studio, a games industry veteran holding more than 20 years’ experience. Melissa started her career at Maxis, and continued with Electronic Arts, managing cross-functional teams of The Sims franchise.

Today, Melissa is a leader in game development and live services, and has held senior studio head roles at Backbone Entertainment, KIXEYE, and Jam City.

In addition, James Burns has joined Jagex as Technical Director working on the company’s as-yet unannounced online action role-playing game. Burns holds over 18 years in the games industry specialising in online engineering with stints at PlayStation, Activision and Splash Damage.

At Jagex, Burns will be the driving force behind the game’s development, ensuring the project is at the frontline of technical innovation.

Malachy O’Neill has been appointed as Director of Quality Assurance. Formerly of Nintendo Europe, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Natural Motion and Zynga, O’Neill will head Jagex’s experienced team to deliver a range of high-quality QA services.

Nick Beliaeff, SVP of Game Development, Jagex, said:

“With the significant talent we’re able to continuously attract to Jagex, it’s very clear that big things lie ahead for the studio. These great new additions to the team add industry leading experience and knowledge, which fuel our goals to build and expand RuneScape and Old School RuneScape for players on both PC and mobile, extend the franchise to new platforms and new game experiences, and bring new living games into the Jagex portfolio.”

Melissa Bachman-Wood, VP of Studio, said:

“I’m thrilled to join the Jagex team and delighted for the chance to enable our teams to deliver even more great games to our players. I’m eager to help lead Studio strategy and execution to enable Jagex to excel in its ambition to be the home of living games, building out our world-class studio teams and processes.”

Jagex has also welcomed back Mark Faulkner as its new Director of Publishing Platform, while Ben Albon is promoted to IT Director from his previous role as Lead Operations Engineer.

To find out more about further career opportunities at Jagex, visit the studios careers portal, http://www.jagex.com/careers.

Train2Game News Old School RuneScape wins at BAFTA’s

Old School RuneScape has been named EE Mobile Games of the Year at the 2019 BAFTA Games Awards.

The award, the only category open to a public vote, was confirmed at the gala ceremony held last night in London. Old School RuneScape, which launched on iOS and Android in October 2018, held off incredibly strong competition from five other mobile games, including Fortnite, Pokémon Go, and Clash Royale.

Old School RuneScape is the first comprehensive Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) to feature full cross-platform gameplay across PC and mobile devices and is uniquely driven forward by its passionate community. Since its launch on mobile, the game has been downloaded and installed on 6.4 million devices.

Phil Mansell, Chief Executive Officer, Jagex, said:

“This is astounding recognition by our players of all the great work and effort invested in bringing Old School RuneScape to mobile and making it a great British success story, and we want to say thank you to everybody who voted for us – it is very, very humbling. Since we launched on mobile just a few months ago, we have seen players return to Old School in their droves, with nearly six and a half million installs, and a resurgence of membership over the Christmas and New Year period that broke all records for the franchise. We’re looking forward to bringing new adventures to Old School RuneScape over the coming years, as well launching RuneScape on mobile devices in the months ahead.”

Old School RuneScape is part of the $1 billion RuneScape franchise and is based on the iconic MMORPG as it was in 2007. Featuring adventures for solo play through to 100-player raids and delivering new lands and new adventures that take it far beyond a purely nostalgic experience, Old School RuneScape’s popularity has continued to grow in its six years as a living game.

Train2Game News Jagex hits several milestones on 18th Birthday

Jagex has revealed today that on its 18th birthday the RuneScape franchise has reached an all-time high, soaring above the previous 2008 peak, following expansion on to mobile.

The successful launch of Old School RuneScape on mobile and early testing of RuneScape mobile has boosted subscriber levels to well above the 1million mark. During its strongest year to date, Jagex achieved a number of significant milestones:

  • More than 5million installs of Old School RuneScape on iOS and Android since launch
  • The RuneScape franchise achieved the highest ever paid membership total in its history over the Christmas period, surpassing previous record set in 2008
  • Cumulative lifetime revenue for the RuneScape franchise passed $1billion
  • Monthly active users more than doubled over the year with big gains in the last quarter
  • Highest ever attendance for annual player convention RuneFest
  • More than 100 new hires were added to the Jagex team

Phil Mansell, CEO, Jagex, said:

“2018 was a fantastic year for our RuneScape games, which have truly come of age. The franchise has been growing consistently for five years, and we’ve seen a surge of further community growth with the move to mobile. Old School RuneScape’s successful mobile launch was made possible by our incredible team who’ve been able to make this classic game play smoothly in a mobile form-factor, and which allows players to enjoy the convenience of completely interoperable PC to mobile cross-play. This achievement showcases our living games philosophy; bringing deeply engaging community experiences to players wherever they are.

“We find that the more we listen to, engage with, and empower the community the more if fosters a true connection; with each other and with the games. The big increases we’re seeing in both membership and active users show that we’re not only able to bring new players into RuneScape but we’re able to offer the kind of rich, evergreen content that keeps them engaged for the long term.

“With this success we’ve continued to increase investment levels to expand our games, as well as bringing in a slate of hugely talented people to join us in development, technology and publishing.”

Industry veterans Nick Beliaeff, SVP Development, and Rob Cordero, VP Technology, were added to the Jagex executive team in 2018, and will continue to build their departments in 2019 that will be focused on delivering more great content to RuneScape and Old School RuneScape players, further improving the game experience and expanding Jagex into new areas.

John Burns, SVP Publishing, Jagex, said:

“A number of initiatives really hit the mark for us in 2018, and we’ll be using all of our learnings from these activities to deliver even more this year. Our ongoing commitment to delivering bigger and better content begins this week with the first of three significant Old School RuneScape content updates, Kebos Lowlands, we continue to work on developing RuneScape on mobile and a number of other exciting plans are in the works. Coupled with the strides we’re making with Jagex Partners, 2019 looks set to be another great year for the company.”

Jagex Partners, which will deliver live game publishing and operational services tailored specifically to the needs of third-party studios, was launched in 2018. Development also continues on internal projects, including the mobile version of RuneScape which will soon join Old School RuneScape on iOS and Android devices. The game is currently in early testing. One membership subscription gains players access to expanded features and content in both flavours of RuneScape.

More news about Jagex Partners and the mobile version of RuneScape will be revealed soon.

Train2Game News Old School RuneScape Mobile Launch

Old School RuneScape will launch on iOS and Android devices on Tuesday 30th October, Jagex announced.

The MMORPG offers a full cross-platform experience on mobile and PC, and will be available for members and non-members to enjoy.
Jagex also confirmed Old School RuneScape is now available to Pre-Order and Pre-Register from the App Store and Google Play at https://osrs.game/MobilePreRegistration.

John Colgrave, Producer, Old School RuneScape Mobile said:
“The next few weeks are going to be incredibly exciting for myself, the Old School RuneScape mobile team, and for Jagex as a whole, as we count down towards the 30th October launch date. It’s been an incredible journey for us; we’ve worked tirelessly to bring the full Old School RuneScape adventure to mobile platforms, as well as enable a seamless cross-platform experience for our current, returning, and new players! Today’s invitation to Pre-Order and Pre-Register the game on the App Store and Google Play is a hugely significant one, and we can’t wait to throw open the doors next month.”

The highly-anticipated announcement comes after this summer’s extensive and overwhelmingly successful ‘Members Only Beta’, in addition to soft launches in Canada and Nordic countries, which have already seen some 500,000 Android players continue their adventures while on the move, on the sofa, or poolside on vacation.

Conor Crowley, Director of Game Development, Jagex said:
“2018 has been a year of significant milestones for Old School RuneScape on mobile, from the first closed betas at the start of the year, to the successful Members Only Beta and recent Canadian and Nordic soft launches over the summer, but none of them have been as highly anticipated as this. We are incredibly proud to confirm that Old School RuneScape on mobile is now just a matter of weeks from a full launch; we know our players – both existing and returning – have long wanted to play the game they love while away from their PCs. The countdown to 30th October is underway!”

Ever since a prototype of Old School RuneScape on mobile was shown at RuneFest 2017, the development team at Jagex has worked closely with the game’s community to ensure it delivers the same immersive living game experience, regardless of platform or device. Its top-level interface has been refined and optimised on mobile devices, including the introduction of a customisable, one-touch action button, and intuitive touch-screen controls. Featuring the RuneScape franchise’s trademark accessibility, players with devices running Lollipop (Android 5) and iOS 10 will be able to start or continue their Old School adventures across the world of Gielinor on the sofa or on the move.

The announcement coincided with the launch of Old School RuneScape’s 139th quest: Making Friends with My Arm, where players will assist the maligned troll ‘My Arm’ as he tries to establish relations with the troll town, Weiss. Mobile players will be able to help My Arm out, as well as experience the many thousands of hours of available adventures, mini games, and skilling activities Old School RuneScape has to offer, in just a matter of weeks.

Train2Game News Old School RuneScape Mobile Beta

Access to Old School RuneScape Mobile’s new members’ beta is being made available to every single Old School RuneScape or RuneScape subscriber, as part of a staggered rollout.

Following a limited test rollout yesterday, with the cap reached in just two hours, the members’ beta is today being opened up to enable a further 250,000 subscribers gain access.

Over the coming weeks, access will be scaled up to give every subscribed player the opportunity to continue their Old School RuneScape journey on Android devices while sat at home on the sofa, during the commute, in the canteen, and even in flight, leaving no excuse for XP waste.

On launch later this year, Old School RuneScape Mobile will become the first mainstream Western online RPG to deliver the complete MMO experience across both mobile and PC platforms, enabling players to seamlessly jump between devices and continue their adventure on either platform.

Conor Crowley, Director of Game Development, Jagex said:
“Since announcing our plans to bring both RuneScape games to mobile, the community has been clamouring to get their hands on the titles. Old School RuneScape Mobile has been running 24/7 in invite-only closed beta for the past couple of months, and, with development progressing really well, we wanted to share this progress with the most important people: our members. That begins now and, soon, every Old School and RuneScape subscriber will have access to Old School mobile – the next stage of bringing two of the world’s most popular online RPGs to the world’s most popular gaming platforms”

Since it first launched in February 2013 with the backing of 450,000 members of the RuneScape community, Old School RuneScape’s success has continued to grow, delivering new lands and new adventures that take it far beyond a purely nostalgic vanilla experience. One of Jagex’s flagship living games, Old School features player-polled content including the recently released raid, Theatre of Blood, the Deadman Invitational competitive game mode, and continues to be at the vanguard of collaboration between developers and its community.

While Old School RuneScape Mobile is becoming accessible to all members over the next month, RuneScape Mobile’s closed beta is currently invite-only.

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 GameBlast18 Total Raised

The official total raised for GameBlast18, the UK’s largest charity gaming weekend, has been confirmed at over £220,000 ($300,000).

It’s the largest total in the event’s five-year history.

Gamers across the UK and beyond took on gaming marathons and game-themed events over the weekend of 23-25 February to raise money for the charity, who help people with physical disabilities to experience the fun and inclusion of video games.

As well as the hundreds of individual gamers and communities, many major names in the games industry backed the event, including Jagex, GAME, Multiplay, Twitch, Insert Coin and Ukie, alongside a host of eSports teams, streamers and studios.

Jagex, who raised over £100,000, hosted the GameBlast Games – a livestream of gaming, chaos and gruelling challenges broadcast live from their Cambridge headquarters.

GAME and Multiplay Events staff also hosted a major 24-hour stream, while across the country GAME stores and BELONG arenas brought GameBlast to the high-street, with charity promotions, auctions and esports tournaments amongst the activities on offer to customers throughout the weekend. Collectively they raised over £41,000.

“It’s an incredibly humbling total,” said Tom Donegan, the charity’s Events Coordinator. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of everyone involved, and to have the support of such a huge number of gamers is a massive boost to our team. As a result of their generosity, many hundreds more people will be able to enjoy the magic of video games for many years.”

The dates for GameBlast19 has been announced as 22-24 February.

Donations for GameBlast can still be made at through https://www.gameblast18.org.uk

Train2Game News Jagex GameBlast Success

SpecialEffect’s GameBlast saw RuneScape developers take part in a variety of ridiculous activities live on Twitch.

The inaugural GameBlast Games, held over a 24-hour period at Jagex’s Cambridge headquarters, has successfully raised over £100,000 ($125,000) for the charity, SpecialEffect.

Taking place from 12 noon on Friday 23rd February, the fundraiser was watched by more than 340,000 unique viewers on the RuneScape Twitch channel. The money raised by the event, held as part of the annual GameBlast18 fundraising weekend, will help SpecialEffect in their mission to make videogames accessible to people with physical disabilities.

Watch the highlights video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEhETmfUibA .

The RuneScape and Old School RuneScape player communities helped raise funds by purchasing GameBlast-themed cosmetic items, while Twitch viewers could also directly donate to the studio’s JustGiving page, and bid on gaming swag and experiences in an online auction.

A mix of gaming, gruelling – and disgusting – challenges and utter chaos, the marathon GameBlast Games saw three teams of staff and influencers compete in 3-a-side office chair football, budget robot battles, and drinking smoothies with a mixture of vile ingredients. Joining in the fun with Jagex were fellow games studios Frontier Developments, Codemasters and Slingshot Cartel, as well as peripherals producer, Razer, and esports teamwear designers, Raven.

Neil McClarty, VP of Product Management, Jagex, said:

“It was fantastic to once again host a GameBlast fundraising live stream for SpecialEffect, the staff always get stuck into taking part and helping raise money for what is an amazing and extraordinary cause. Many thanks to Codemasters, Frontier Developments, Razer, and our other industry friends, who came along to help take part during the 24 hours. This year was our most ambitious yet with The GameBlast Games, and having raised over £100,000 in such a short amount of time we just want to thank our incredible RuneScape communities for their generosity.”

Tom Donegan, Events Coordinator at SpecialEffect, said:

“Once again we’ve been completely blown away by the generosity of the Jagex and the wonderful RuneScape communities. The money raised will enable us to make an immense and immediate impact on the lives of many more disabled people by enabling them to play mainstream video games. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in this incredible event.”

Train2Game News GameBlast18

There’s just one week to go before gamers across the UK join forces to raise money for SpecialEffect in GameBlast18, the UK’s biggest charity gaming weekend.

Hundreds of gamers, including eSports teams, streamers, and community groups, will take to their PCs and consoles throughout the weekend of 23-25 February to host sponsored marathon livestreams, gaming tournaments and many other challenges in support of the charity, which enables anyone, whatever their physical disability, to enjoy video games and leisure technology.

Now in its fifth year, the event aims to raise £100,000 for SpecialEffect.

Many major names in the games industry are also backing the event, including Jagex, GAME, Multiplay, Twitch, Insert Coin, SEGA, Nomad, Lockwood Publishing and Ukie. So far, almost 300 Justgiving fundraising pages have been created, meaning this year’s GameBlast is set to have the highest number of participants in its five-year history.

Jagex will be hosting the GameBlast Games – a 24-hour marathon of gaming, chaos and gruelling challenges. Broadcast live from their Cambridge headquarters and beginning 12pm GMT on Friday 23 February, the event will be streamed via the official RuneScape twitch.tv channel. The stream will feature regular faces from Jagex, the RuneScape and Old School dev teams, along with Twitch content creators and friends from the industry – including Codemasters and Frontier Developments – who will all go head to head in the ultimate games battle.

As Jagex clock-off at 12pm GMT on Saturday 24, staff from GAME and Multiplay Events will take up the baton with their own marathon broadcast, promising another 24 hours of gaming challenges and stretch-goal forfeits. GAME stores and BELONG arenas across the country will be hosting their own GameBlast activities, with raffles, tournaments and eSports tournaments on offer to gamers throughout the weekend. Meanwhile, GAME’s charity trade-in offer will continue until the end of the month, with customers being given the opportunity to donate £1 or more from every trade-in to SpecialEffect.

In addition, both Jagex and GAME will be running eBay auctions of gaming swag, merchandise and experiences.

“We can’t wait for GameBlast18” said Tom Donegan, the charity’s Events Coordinator.

“I love seeing the variety of challenges on offer – the creativity and generosity of our supporters is just so inspiring! The funds raised will enable us to help more like Will (http://bit.ly/willspecialeffect), who suffered a spinal injury but who’s gaming again using shoulder and chin movements.”

“GameBlast18 is an opportunity to bring the gaming community together to do what they love and level the playing field for people with disabilities at the same time.”

More details about GameBlast18 can be found at https://www.gameblast18.org.uk or on Twitter @GameBlast18