The total raised for GameBlast21, the UK’s largest charity gaming weekend, has been confirmed at £228,300 ($317,800).
It’s more than double the original fundraising target for the event, and one of the biggest totals in its eight-year history.
Gamers across the UK and beyond took on gaming marathons and game-themed events over the weekend of 26-28 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 who took part, many major names in the games industry supported the event, including Twitch, EA DICE, Mediatonic, SEGA Europe, Unit 2 Games, Fanatical, Insert Coin Clothing and Turn 10 Studios, alongside a host of esports teams and popular streamers.
In addition, several other companies including HyperX, Noblechairs, Fierce PC and Big Potato Games, showed their support for by creating some awesome limited-edition products and running giveaways to reward people for taking part.
“We’d hoped to raise £100,000 this year,” said Becky Frost, the GameBlast Event Coordinator, “so we’re amazed and humbled by the final figure. To have the support of so many gamers is a huge boost for the charity, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of everyone involved. As result of their generosity, many hundreds of people will be able to enjoy the magic of video games for many years to come. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who took part.”
The dates for GameBlast22 have been announced as 25-27 February 2022.
SQUARE ENIX® today announced the debut of a new video program called SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS, a series of shows in which the company will reveal new games, updates and news directly to the global gaming community throughout the year.
The first show, debuting on March 18 at 10:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT on Square Enix’s official Twitch and YouTube channels.
These shows will run approximately 40-minutes and include the world premiere of the next game in the critically acclaimed and award-winning Life is Strange™ series, featuring an all-new protagonist wielding an exciting new power.
The show will also feature trailers, gameplay videos and announcements for the following:
Outriders™, the high-intensity RPG-shooter set in an original dark and desperate sci-fi universe, coming out on April 1
Balan Wonderworld™, which arrives on March 26
The ongoing celebration for the 25th anniversary of TOMB RAIDER®
Marvel’s Avengers, the story-driven, third-person action-adventure game from Crystal Dynamics
Upcoming action shooter Just Cause® Mobile
New mobile game announcements from the award-winning Square Enix Montréal studio
A look at a few of the whimsical games from Square Enix sister company TAITO
To receive event updates and other Square Enix news, sign up to become a Square Enix Member; and be sure to subscribe to Square Enix’s official Twitch and YouTube channels ahead of the showcase on March 18.
Video game playing rose to a new level, with UK consumers’ time playing up 4 percent over last year.
The desire to stay connected and entertained while stuck at home during the pandemic has driven online gaming popularity – more than a third of UK gamers (37 percent) have made new friends through online gaming in the last year. In fact, gamers in the UK are now playing video games an average of seven hours 10 minutes each week according to the “State of Online Gaming 2021,” a report commissioned by Limelight Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW), on global gaming preferences and habits.
New data shows that the increases in gaming over the last year are driven by gamers’ desire for social connections. Over a third of UK gamers (37 percent) say they’ve made new friends through online games in the past year and 15 percent say the ability to interact with other players is extremely important. Opportunities for interactivity and social engagement are likely drivers for video game adoption with the majority (51 percent) of UK gamers saying they started playing online video games in the past year.
Additional findings from the report include:
Performance drives demand for next-generation consoles. Three quarters (74 percent) of global gamers are interested in purchasing a new console, due to updated technology (32 percent) and faster game play (31 percent). Gamers in China are most likely to consider upgrading their console (92 percent).
Gamers demand fast gaming experiences. Fast performance is extremely important to 35 percent of UK gamers, the lowest response among all countries surveyed. In addition, 87 percent of UK gamers say the process of downloading games is frustrating.
Binge-gaming reached an all-time high. The average global gamer has played video games consecutively for five hours and six minutes, which is a eight percent increase from last year. Sessions in the UK were 4 percent higher than the global average, at five hours and 18 minutes per week. Young gamers ages 18 to 25 have binge-gamed for the longest at an average of nearly six hours.
Video games have become a spectator sport. Over half (56 percent) of global gamers say they’ve started to watch others play video games in the past year. The proportion of UK gamers watching others play video games online on a weekly basis reached a tipping point in the past year, increasing from 49 percent to 53 percent.
Playing video games is the top entertainment choice for many. Nearly half of UK gamers (44 percent) say they prefer to play video games versus watching a movie or TV show.
“Video gaming has evolved into a social platform. Gamers want interactive, high performance, disruption-free experiences that allow them to connect with others and play longer,” said Nigel Burmeister, Vice President at Limelight Networks. “This evolution is putting pressure on gaming companies to match this demand and requires technology investments like edge computing to deliver high-quality gaming environments to users across the globe.”
The “State of Online Gaming 2021” report is based on responses from 4,000 consumers in China, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam, ages 18 and older who play video games. This included 500 respondents in the UK.
Leading online retailer Ebuyer has joined forces with Make-A-Wish® UK as their official tech gaming partner.
Every day, the lives of 10 families in the UK are changed forever when a child is diagnosed with a serious illness. From that moment, childhood takes a backseat to medical appointments and worry.
When children with serious illness or life-limiting condition are referred to Make-A-Wish, they really do make a wish, and the charity does everything it can to make it come true. The charity, established in 1986, works with partners around the world to help fulfil those wishes.
Ebuyer E-Commerce Director Andy Roberts said, “We’re really excited about being the official tech partner of Make-A-Wish. They do such an incredible job creating life-changing wishes. Ebuyer is playing a small part by providing the tech that the children and young people wish for, yet this small gesture can make a huge difference to them and their families.”
The East Yorkshire based online retailer has over 6 million registered customers and supplies tech to consumers, businesses and educational establishments throughout the UK.
Make-A-Wish Corporate Partnerships Manager Gina Fuoco said: “Ebuyer has been helping us grant our gaming and tech wishes since August 2020. Their support came at a vital time – making 54 wishes a reality when so many had to be cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic.
“That included 21 wishes for PS5s which were like gold dust to obtain! Gaming enables young people to interact, improve their motor skills and have fun. It often creates a level playing field online that contrasts with a seriously ill child’s real life experience so these wishes have a long-term impact.
“Ebuyer’s support has also included gifts-in-kind worth £22,636 which is incredible. We are hugely grateful to Ebuyer and excited to grow our partnership to grant even more wishes together this year.”
Over the weekend, during a Pokémon Presents video presentation, Tsunekazu Ishihara—president and CEO of The Pokémon Company—announced Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, Pokémon Shining Pearl, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus—new video games coming to the blockbuster series that spans 25 years.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl will launch in late 2021, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus will launch in early 2022. All three games will be available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch™ system.
In 2006, Trainers were introduced to the Sinnoh region with the release of Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl on the Nintendo DS system. Players can once again visit the Sinnoh region in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl, which are faithful remakes of two iconic Pokémon games. Pokémon Legends: Arceus will introduce fans to the Sinnoh region of old—before the existence of Pokémon Trainers and Pokémon Leagues. It’s in this long-gone era that players will embark on an entirely new adventure to create the region’s first Pokédex.
“Trainers caught their first Pokémon in 1996 and began an adventure that has lasted 25 years. Through eight regions, many different platforms, and countless Pokémon encounters, they have strived to be the very best,” said Mr. Ishihara. “We hope that fans of all ages will enjoy creating new memories while exploring the Sinnoh region in these new games.”
More details about the highly anticipated New Pokémon Snap game were also shared in the video presentation, in addition to information about special in-game events taking place in celebration of Pokémon’s 25th anniversary.
For more information about the Pokémon 25th anniversary celebration, please visit Pokemon.uk/25.
It’s time again to suit up and hit the frontlines of Geonosis with Delta Squad in the fight for the Republic of the Clone Wars!
Aspyr today announced the return of a Star Wars classic – Star Wars Republic Commando, the fan-favorite, first-person tactical shooter where players lead a team of clone commandos as they battle through increasingly difficult missions that take place throughout the legendary Clone Wars.
The game, brought back as a single player experience with modernized controls, arrives for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on April 6 for $14.99.
“Since its original launch in 2005, Republic Commando continues to be a fan-favorite Star Wars game. We’re honored to be able work with Lucasfilm Games to bring back this beloved moment in franchise history.” said Ted Staloch, Aspyr Co-founder.
Star Wars Republic Commando
Chaos has erupted throughout the galaxy. As leader of an elite squad of Republic Commandos, your mission is to infiltrate, dominate, and ultimately, annihilate the enemy. Boss, Fixer, Scorch, and Sev, better known as Delta Squad, are back! Your squad will follow your orders and your lead, working together as a team – instinctively, intelligently, instantly. Relive the legendary campaign.
Welcome to the Clone Wars: Chaos has erupted throughout the galaxy. As leader of an elite squad of Republic Commandos, your mission is to infiltrate, dominate, and ultimately annihilate the enemy.
Battle Relentless Enemies: Battle a variety of highly intelligent and deadly enemies—from brutal Trandoshan mercenaries to the flying insectoid warriors of Geonosis.
The Squad is Your Weapon: Your squad will follow your orders, performing complex commands and strategic maneuvers. You are their leader. They are your weapon.
Pre-orders start today for Nintendo Switch on the eShop LINK.
Star Wars Republic Commando launches April 6 on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4
Leading UK games publisher and developer Jagex has today shone a light on the genuine habits of players when it comes to gaming, from preferred play location, to snack choice, to hours spent and more.
Polling just under 2,000 gamers from around the world, the in-depth study disputes – and sometimes embraces – the habits that popular culture has often linked to the gamer stereotype.
So, how do gamers play? How have lockdowns affected their habits? And how accurate is the basement-dwelling, pizza-eating gamer cliché?
From the basement to the bedroom
Contrary to popular belief, it seems that gamers do not confine themselves to basements, with over half of respondents (52.5%) actually playing games in their bedrooms. The living room follows second, with 23% seeking its relaxed confines, whereas 20.5% prefer the more formal set-up of a home office. A mere 3.5% live up to basement expectations.
Continuing the popularity of the bedroom, overwhelmingly, and across all age groups, gamers wear pyjamas and loungewear for their stints at the keyboard or at the console (43%). In lockdown life though, a surprisingly large amount (30%) are still happy to slip on a T-shirt and jeans. And a liberated 7% freely admit to wearing absolutely nothing while gaming!
When it comes to gaming in our new, indoors-focused reality of the past year, many have sought extra comfort from this hobby, both across the age groups and across the globe. Almost half (49%) say they now game more than they used to, and 15% game during the ‘standard’ working hours of 8am- 4pm. However, only a brave 8% owned up to specifically gaming when they should be working. Around13% have altered the times at which they game but maintained the same amount of gameplay, and 25% haven’t seen their habits change at all due to lockdowns. Just 5% say they now game less.
Players are also enjoying connecting with friends online while socialising in real life is on hold: A massive 71% of gamers play with other people, be they online friends, friends from “real life” or family members – this certainly suggests that gaming is a more sociable than solitary sport! Overall, people tend to game slightly more with online friends (36%) than real-life friends (28%).
Sociability is the name of the game when it comes to time of day to play too, with only 7% playing midnight to 4am as gaming night-owls, and just 2% potentially pulling all-nighters (or very early starts) and playing in the 4am – 8am slot. In general, gamers stick to much more sociable hours, with 48.5% playing during the evening slot of 8pm – midnight, and 26.5% playing 4pm- 8pm.
Phil Mansell CEO of Jagex, said: “Although the past 12 months have been incredibly challenging for everyone across the world, it’s great that gaming has cemented its place as a go-to pastime for more and more people looking to interact and socialise through online games, especially as we cope with the restrictions and lockdowns used to fight the pandemic. This past year has also clearly been important in overturning negative stereotypes about video games that linger in popular culture.”
Gaming – and other healthy lifestyle choices
Despite what people might assume when it comes to the food and drink choices of players while gaming, there’s a lot less snacking on fast food and sweets than you might imagine. Perhaps surprisingly, 37% of all players surveyed don’t eat at all while gaming, while the next biggest group (21%) only polish off home-cooked food. Less than half of that amount (10%) consume the next most popular choice – crisps – and fast food such as pizza (9%), and chocolate and sweets (5% each) languish further down in popularity by comparison. At 4%, even fruit beats the possibly more expected choices of chicken nuggets, chips and meat-based snacks (all 3% each).
The healthiest and unhealthiest age groups may also be a surprise – a whopping 60% of players aged 25- 34 either don’t eat or eat home-cooked meals while playing, compared to just 34% of players aged 35- 44. Players aged 35- 44 are also more likely to consume crisps (16%) and pizza and sweets/candy (12.5% each) than they are a home-cooked meal.
Most gamers also opt to rehydrate with water (54%) way before anything else, although a cup of tea or coffee is also enjoyed by 14%, with regular sodas/fizzy drinks the favourite choice for 9%. Again, however, older players are likely to shy away from the healthiest choices, with over 45s being powered by coffee (21%) and soft drinks/sodas (21%) before anything else, and 35- 44s even more so, with 31% for coffee and 28% for soft drinks/sodas.
Music ‘n merch
When it comes to the type of merchandise gamers choose to buy, preferences are split pretty evenly across the board between figurines, plushies, replica weapons and clothes. Posters and art is the firm overall favourite category at 23%, as well as male players’ favourite to the same degree, but female players are all about the cute soft toys with a solid 40% of female-identifying players picking them as their favourite. Curiously, although 16% of players like to buy game-inspired clothing, only 1% wear said items when gaming.
With music genres to listen to while playing, electronic was perhaps, unsurprisingly, a popular category for everyone – 19% pick it over anything else, and it registers as the favourite genre for players aged 18 – 24. The next most popular genre is rock (14%), but podcasts come in a strong third with 11%, perhaps showing that gaming and keeping yourself informed aren’t so incompatible.
Blizzard Entertainment today kicked off BlizzConline™, a fully virtual version of its perennial community and gaming celebration, with a slew of news and game announcements for a global online audience of fans and enthusiasts tuning in FREE via www.blizzcon.com.
During the event’s just-concluded opening ceremony, company president J. Allen Brack and development leaders for Blizzard’s franchises reflected on the past and shared an exciting look at the future, revealing the following games and game updates—much of which will be explored in more detail during the show:
One of the most acclaimed titles in PC gaming history returns with Diablo® II: Resurrected™, a faithful remaster of Blizzard’s classic action-RPG and its award-winning expansion, Lord of Destruction®, coming later this year to Windows PC and, for the first time, consoles. PC players can sign up now at www.diablo2.com for a chance to participate in upcoming public testing.
Blizzard also unveiled the Rogue for Diablo® IV, with a dark cinematic trailer and gameplay footage of the new player class in action. The Rogue is a swift, deadly, mobile class with unparalleled versatility. Rogue players can choose from a variety of ways to attack and trap their enemies and can enhance their combat through poisons, shadow magic, and specialized techniques.
Blizzard is set to kick off another jam-packed year of content—the Year of the Gryphon—for Hearthstone®, its popular free-to-play digital card game, in the coming weeks. The new Hearthstone year will feature a new Core set of cards designed to shake up the game, and the introduction of the Classic format, which will let players craft decks and compete using the original Hearthstone cards as they were when the game launched in 2014.
Also coinciding with the Year of the Gryphon is the first Hearthstone expansion of 2021, Forged in the Barrens™, inspired by the iconic World of Warcraft®locale where millions of adventurers began forging their legends—available for prepurchase now at www.playhearthstone.com.
Later in the year, Blizzard will roll out Hearthstone Mercenaries, a single-player and competitive game mode in which players collect mighty characters from the Warcraft® universe and level them up in tactical battles.
For World of Warcraft, Blizzard announced Chains of Domination, the first major content update coming later this year for the recently released Shadowlands expansion, as well as an all-new charity pet program that will yield two separate pets—Bananas the monkey and Daisy the sloth—for all modern WoW®players once donation goals are met. Blizzard also revealed Burning Crusade Classic™, an authentic recreation of the acclaimed first World of Warcraft expansion—also coming later this year, and included in players’ existing World of Warcraft subscription at no additional cost.
Now included as part of Blizzard’s anniversary-themed Celebration Collection on Windows® PC (via Battle.net®), as part of The Blizzard® 30-Year Celebration Collection on consoles, or as a standalone game on consoles, the Blizzard® Arcade Collection is a digital set of Blizzard’s original console hits, The Lost Vikings®, Rock N Roll Racing®, and Blackthorne®, enhanced for modern platforms.
Over the next few hours today and starting again at 12 p.m. PST tomorrow, six channels of programming will feature deeper dives on Blizzard’s franchises, including a behind-the-scenes look at ongoing development ofOverwatch® 2,the company’s highly anticipated sequel to its blockbuster team-based shooter, and Diablo® Immortal™, its upcoming mobile massively multiplayer online action-RPG. (Of note, Blizzard recently completed its first stage of regional testing on Diablo Immortal, receiving an enthusiastic response from testers, and will be rolling out further tests in the coming months. The game has also recently received publishing approval for release in China.) Viewers will also be treated to one-of-a-kind esports showmatches—with legendary StarCraft® and StarCraft II pros facing off, as well as a battle between reigning Overwatch League™ champions, the San Francisco Shock, and a dream team comprising pros, community figures, and more.
Channeling the spirit of the live show, BlizzConline will also put a huge spotlight on the creativity and skill of the people who help bring Blizzard’s games to life. There will be multiple segments featuring artists, musicians, voice actors, content creators, and streamers, as well as an epic showcase highlighting some of the talented cosplayers, storytellers, and other artists inhabiting the Blizzard community.
To learn more about BlizzConline and for a full schedule of events, visit www.blizzcon.com.
SQUARE ENIX® today announced that the massively popular mobile tactical RPG, DRAGON QUEST™ TACT, has surpassed 3 million downloads since its January 27 global release.
To celebrate, both new and seasoned players can complete limited-time quests to earn a total of 2,000 Gems.
Players who have not yet begun their adventure in DRAGON QUEST TACT can enjoy all of the above content, plus they can receive the iconic King Slime monster if they begin playing before 11:59 AM PT on February 28.
Additionally, now until 12:0o P.M. PT on February 28, players can purchase a limited-time global exclusive bundle using 100 premium Gems. This bundle contains 50 EXP Codex L, 100 Skip Tickets, 10 Regular SP Scout Vouchers and 30,000G, and is perfect for new players getting started on their adventure.
“People across Japan have been having lots of fun playing DRAGON QUEST TACT, so I’m extremely pleased that the game is now available worldwide,” said DRAGON QUEST TACT General Director Yuji Horii in a recent video message to commemorate the game’s global launch.
“I hope that the game provides a fun experience for DRAGON QUEST enthusiasts and new players to the series alike.”
In DRAGON QUEST TACT, players will embark on an epic, tactical journey to diminish the evil that plagues the world of Orchesterra and join forces with familiar DRAGON QUEST series monsters along the way to save the world. Players will strategically build teams of iconic DRAGON QUEST monsters and direct them in heated tactical battles that unfold on a grid-like map.
Along the way, players can recruit new monsters as allies and upgrade their favorites to take on more ferocious battles.
Additionally, the Battle Road challenges adventurous players with even more story content for players eager to learn more about their monster allies. New and more experienced players can enjoy this new form of combat in this simple-yet-deep tactical RPG game that features a large roster of beloved monsters.
About Buildings Have Feelings Too! Imagine a city where buildings can walk and talk to one another. Each one has its own aspirations, hopes and fears. Most of the time they are just trying to get along with each other and make it through the day. Buildings Have Feelings Too! is a city management game with character. Players must grow their city whilst making sure the individual buildings thrive, or risk them being demolished forever.
As time progresses, new industries can be researched and new architectural marvels built. In turn, world events might cause buildings to fail and businesses to go bankrupt! Players must discover new ways to attend to their city’s needs. This could involve refurbishing a building or simply grabbing it by the hand and moving it to a nicer part of the neighbourhood.
As players progress they are able to grow their city, allowing for multiple neighbourhoods. Specialist areas, such as busy finance hubs or bustling theatre districts, become available.
Additional layered attributes such as electricity supply, noise pollution and transport add more complexity and challenges for players.