Train2Game News EGX 2019 Tickets on Sale Now

Gamer Network, organisers of the UK’s leading video games events, is excited to announce that tickets are now available to purchase for EGX 2019 which returns to London this year, taking over ExCeL London for 4 days from the 17th to the 20th of October 2019.

Promising to be the best show yet, EGX 2019 – sponsored by Virgin Media – will feature more than 1,500 screens of interactive entertainment with blockbuster triple-A titles from the world’s biggest publishers sitting alongside a huge collection of innovative indie games in the Rezzed Zone. The show will also feature esports, retro gaming and meet and greets with notable personalities from YouTube and Twitch.

Meanwhile, the Developer Sessions and Rezzed Sessions will bring attendees the latest news on some of the world’s most exciting pre-release games and deep dive insights into the game development process.

The GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair will offer invaluable advice to those seeking to begin a career in games and the GamesIndustry.biz Trade Zone will be a vital destination for members of the UK trade looking to network.

David Lilley, EGX Event Director, said, “EGX 2019 is special to us as it marks the year we are returning to our home, London. The new venue is allowing us to grow the favourite elements of the show as well as introduce new ones. With more space, features and games than ever before we’re excited by the prospect of delivering the best show to date”.

This year EGX 2019 will include:

  • A packed show floor featuring the world’s biggest game franchises playable pre-release
  • The incredible Rezzed Zone housing the largest collection of indie games in Europe
  • Globally respected game development talent offering insights into their latest projects in the Developer Sessions
  • Various esports tournaments with some of the best players competing across the weekend
  • Meet and greet sessions with prominent YouTube and Twitch personalities
  • A massive cosplay arena with daily masquerades, competitions, how-to talks and photoshoots
  • A vast retro area with systems spanning 40 years of gaming as well as arcade and pinball machines
  • The return of the Games Library with visitors able to pick and choose from a massive catalogue of games to play with their friends
  • The GamesIndustry.biz Career Fair featuring publishers, developers, recruiters and educators offering guidance on beginning a career in games
  • The GamesIndustry.biz Trade Zone, offering meeting space and networking opportunities to the UK industry
  • Retail stands with limited edition merch and pre-order incentives exclusive to EGX
  • Community parties on Friday and Saturday nights packed with entertainment

The line-up of playable games, speaker schedules and additional features will be announced later in the year.

Tickets for the event can be purchased from the EGX website: https://www.egx.net/egx

Train2Game News Method Dominating WoW eSports

Powerhouse esports organization Method have officially achieved their 11th World First victory live from the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London, defeating all nine bosses in the newest WoW raid before any other guild.

The Race to World First for Battle of Dazar’alor began last Thursday (31/01/19) and Method defeated the final boss, Mythic Jaina Proudmore, live in front of fans on Twitch on Tuesday (05/02/19).

Method were the first guild to ever broadcast a Race to World First when they defeated Battle for Azeroth’s opening raid, Uldir, in record time from the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in September last year.

Sco, Gingi, Narcolies, Chrispotter, Perfecto, Deepshades and Cayna, part of the 20 man Method raid guild, battled it out tirelessly to become the first guild in the world to take down Mythic Jaina. The Race to World First saw over 230k views across the Method Twitch channels, with Method’s official channel and guild master Scott “Sco” McMillan’s channel combined seeing 4.49M hours watched last week alone (28/01/19 – 03/02/19.)

“We’re incredibly proud to have achieved another World First. To see such amazing success in terms of viewership a second time around confirms that we’re onto something special by sharing our progress with the community,” said Scott ‘Sco’ McMillan, Co-Founder, Method. “The Red Bull Gaming Sphere has become the perfect base for us to attempt World Firsts. We’ve spent over 96 hours in the space during this raid alone, and having a comfortable environment that’s purpose built to support gaming definitely gave us a competitive edge. Not to mention the unlimited Red Bull to keep us alert and focused throughout.”

Method were the first organisation to recognise the viewership potential of a Race to World First in September when they live streamed their defeat of mythic G’huun, the final boss in Battle for Azeroth’s first raid from the Red Bull Gaming Sphere. Both of Method’s Race to World First streams have seen fantastic viewership and represent an exciting new direction for the esports scene, spearheaded by a world renowned esports organisation in Method.

Train2Game News Box Joining GameBlast19

Committed video gamers from Birmingham technology giant Box are gearing up to burn the midnight gaming oil to raise money for people with disabilities.

Around 20 staff at the Minworth-based business will be playing video games continuously for 24 hours as part of GameBlast19, the UK’s largest gaming marathon weekend.

This will be the fourth year Box has taken part in the event, having previously raised more than £2,000 for the charity SpecialEffect, which uses technology to help people with disabilities enjoy video games.

Box is asking people to help them reach their £1,000 target by donating money via www.justgiving.com/boxgameblast19

The game-a-thon takes place February 23-24.

Rodney Critchlow, store manager at Box, said: “We’re really excited to be taking part in GameBlast19. A lot of us are keen gamers, but playing for 24 hours is still a big challenge.

“We’ll have a schedule of games to play throughout the event, and people will be able to watch via our Twitch channel, www.twitch.tv/boxuk

“SpecialEffect is a fantastic charity which uses things like modified joypads and eye-control technology to enable disabled people to play games. It means they don’t have to just sit there and watch their friend or sibling having fun.

“We’re hoping to raise at least £1,000.”

Box.co.uk sells an extensive range of technology and computing products through its specialist website and retail shop, including laptops, desktop PCs, phones and tablets, components, monitors and printers.

The business was founded by Mark Jordan in 1996 and today is the UK’s leading technology e-commerce business, employing over 100 people and turning over £42 million.

Train2Game News Now Play This

Ukie has become a major funder of this year’s Now Play This, part of the London Games Festival, to support more experimental game commissions and to help extend the exhibition’s run.

It comes as part of a new three-way partnership with Games London and Now Play This CIC.

This year, Now Play This will extend from four days to nine, bringing the latest in experimental game design from around the world to Somerset House for its biggest edition ever. Ukie’s funding will enable more commissions and content to exist for practitioners to showcase their work to the public. It will also fund more workshops and key industry talks on skills development as well as networking opportunities.

The commitment from Ukie reflects the significance of Now Play This and its role as part of the London Games Festival, which is a joint project between Film London and Ukie, supported by the Mayor of London. The exhibition is a popular, family friendly part of the Festival programme and extending the run will enable more people to get hands on with the games on display.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment) said: “Now Play This is a true celebration of the culture, curiosity and creative breadth of games. We are delighted that this contribution from the sector means more creativity and artistry from the community. We’re also pleased that the funding will help Now Play This to have more original commissioned work and more opportunities for anyone interested in our powerful form of art.”

Jonathan Reekie CBE, Director of Somerset House Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to Ukie for their enhanced support of this year’s Now Play This at Somerset House. This has enabled us to double the length of the festival to nine days, with more games, talks and workshops for visitors of all ages. With Ukie’s support, Now Play This continues to offer a vital platform for talented artists and game developers and ensure that experimental game design often engaging in unexpected subjects is thriving.”

Now Play This is a festival of experimental game design which runs at Somerset House in London as part of London Games Festival. This year Now Play This will run over nine days from 6-14 April, featuring exciting hands-on gameplay for all ages to enjoy, from solo games to multiplayer collaborative experiences, from a host of multidisciplinary artists and creators. Visitors can also enjoy a range of free outdoor gaming installations, as well as a series of insightful talks, workshops and activities from the designers and makers taking part in the festival.

Train2Game News Northern Exposure

Secret Sauce, producers of Northern Exposure, are thrilled to announce their day-long games event will return for its third instalment on the 27th February at the Northern Design Centre in Gateshead’s thriving digital quarter.

Cumron Ashtiani, Founder at Atomhawk, will be speaking at February’s conference and said “I’m delighted to have been asked to get involved in the latest Northern Exposure event. October’s event was a great opportunity to meet and discuss ideas with so many people who are passionate about the games industry. I’m looking forward to returning in February to follow up on my previous talk about the highs and lows of growing a business and to meet with more great people”.

Northern Exposure will be partnering with UKIE to deliver a well-rounded day of discussions including a keynote courtesy of Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO at UKIE. She said, “The games industry all over the UK is of vital importance to the creative industries and tech economies in the UK, but also globally. Northern Exposure is a great opportunity to discuss how we can continue to grow by helping local studios and developers access the opportunities the global digital economy offers, as well as inspire new ideas that will shape the industry in the years to come.”

The Northern regions of the UK have a long and proud history of excellence in the games industry and Northern Exposure is a celebration of regional success, as well as an opportunity for local studios and developers to hear from national and international industry experts.

“It’s wonderful to see the local games community come together for Northern Exposure; this is our third instalment and the talks are always super inspiring and informative”, said Katy Reilly, Project Manager at Secret Sauce. “Northern Exposure emulates the region’s famous GameHorizon Conference by bringing together local speakers as well as guests from the wider games sector. It’s a pleasure to produce an event like this and put focus on creating something which is valuable to the community and shines a light on what’s happening in the region.”

This one-day event features talks from business owners, industry leaders, professionals and experts, sharing personal stories of success, failure and lessons learned. Hear expert tips and nuggets of knowledge to inspire your own business and games. There are plenty of opportunities to network throughout the day, followed by a drinks party in the evening.

Bob Makin, Managing Director at SockMonkey, will be making a return in February to host the event and guide attendees through a full day of exciting talks and discussions. “It’s great to be asked back to host Northern Exposure again” said Bob, “we’ve got such a fantastic gaming and interactive scene up here in the North East. It’s wonderful to have an event where we can shout about what we do up here and all the great games that are developed by ridiculously talented people. I can’t wait!”.

Secret Sauce is also delighted to welcome Escape Technology on board as Networking Sponsor for Northern Exposure; Neil Parmar, Account Director at Escape Technology said, “events like Northern Exposure are vital for the continued development of the games industry. We’re thrilled to be a part of the community and look forward to sharing our insights into creative CG technologies”.

Early bird tickets are available now at £25.00 which is a whopping 50% discount on the general admission tickets. Be quick though, as the early-bird offer ends on January 27th.

Tickets can be purchased through the eventbrite page: https://northexpo2019.eventbrite.co.uk

Keep up to date with future announcements on the website: www.north-expo.co.uk

Train2Game News Ukie 30 Years Of Play

Ukie has launched 30 Years of Play, a major campaign for 2019 marking the trade body’s 30th birthday year, making it the oldest games trade body in the world.

The campaign celebrates the past, present and future of the UK’s games and interactive entertainment sector through a year long calendar of content, events and activities.

The campaign will tell the stories of the UK games industry, from its early roots, through the 1980s when Ukie (then ELSPA) was created, to the present day.

It will reveal some hidden stories and create a home for previously unseen archival materials revealing the past few decades of the political environment for games, as well house key events celebrating the major achievements of the sector and the people who have made it.

The 30 Years of Play campaign will include:

  • A dedicated microsite – 30yearsofplay.uk – hosting content detailing the history and stories of our sector, as well as information about events and other campaign news.
  • A podcast series that explores the stories behind leading UK made video games – such as Rome: Total War, Football Manager, Monument Valley, Fable and more – and the wider critical or cultural impact they had.
  • Key events throughout the year, including an event to highlight best-selling games in the UK over the last three decades, a gala dinner to celebrate Ukie’s birthday and appoint a new generation of video game ambassadors at the Westminster games day.
  • Opportunities for industry partners to contribute content, events and activities through an official partnership scheme.
  • Creating a digital archive for important interactive entertainment documentation to help preserve the history of our genre.

The campaign launches officially on Monday 21th January and will run until the end of the year.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, says:

“The 30 Years of Play campaign is an opportunity for the industry to come together and tell the stories of the positive impact people and games have had on our economy, on our culture, on lives, and on society.

As the oldest games trade body in the world, we also want to dig in our own archives – three decades of publications, government reports, correspondence – to see what has changed and how far we have come as a responsible, creative, innovative and self-regulating industry. We would like to have as much of the UK sector – companies and individuals – to join in and share their stories too.”
Noirin Carmody, COO Revolution Software and Chair of the Ukie Board of directors added:

“Although this campaign is timed to coincide with Ukie’s 30th birthday, its aim is to reflect how our thriving industry has succeeded because of decades of hard work from thousands of talented, passionate individuals. From the pioneers of the 1980s through to the current generation driving the sector forward today, we want to shine a spotlight on the bright and brilliant people who contributed, and continue to contribute, to the success of our sector.

And in doing so, we want to bring that creativity and passion to a new and diverse generation, driving our sector to ever greater economic and cultural heights.”

Train2Game News Almost a Third of Students Want To Join The Creative Industries

Ahead of the UCAS deadline, new research has revealed that 71% of the future workforce, aged 16-25, have a passionate desire to join the UK’s fastest growing industry – The Creative Industries.

This sector is now worth a massive £101.5bn GVA to the UK economy, and with this growth one-fifth of all UK students are choosing to pursue roles in the industry over other sectors, according to the research, released by Escape Studios.

Despite this, 40% of students feel that they haven’t received enough information from teachers and careers advisors around the opportunities available to them within the creative industries – even though an estimated 1.2m creative workers are needed in the UK by 2022.

Confusion around the economic climate is creating extra pressure for students. 66% of 16-25 year olds surveyed revealed they believed their parents were more likely to push them into ‘traditional’ career options, such as accountancy and engineering, over a creative career path. In contrast to this sentiment, 43% of parents confirmed they would be more likely to steer their children towards more ‘traditional’ jobs, due to the economic uncertainty.

Parents seem to be one of the biggest barriers to entry into the industry, with over one-third of parents and guardians stating they would not be happy with their child pursuing a creative career – a 15% growth from research commissioned in 2018 – suggesting a growing lack of support and disconnect between parents and students.

Mainstream education fails to support creative talent within classrooms

Although there is a desire amongst students to pursue creative careers in Game Design (30%), VFX (21%) and Game Art (13%), our study reveals that support is lacking within the classroom. According to students aged 16-18 years old, one-third (33%) surveyed do not have a good understanding of the careers available in the creative industries, with 41% of 19-25 year olds agreeing they didn’t receive adequate careers advice.

The lack of advice and support offered in schools means one in three 16-18 year olds haven’t considered taking qualifications in the creative industries – despite employment within the industry itself predicated to grow by 5.3% over the next six years, double that of the average rate of employment, which will rise by 2.5%.

Escape Studios current student Maddison Gould comments; “Schools need to work harder when educating the future workforce about possible careers in the creative industries. The UK is brimming with talent; for example our art classes could hold a hub of future VFX designers. Teachers and career advisors should consider ‘less-traditional routes’ when offering information about employability in the creative industries, to ensure students who’re lost when choosing their options have a wealth of various career routes available.”

Parents are ‘out of touch’

Despite 35% of parents revealing they would not be happy if their child pursued a creative career, over a third of those surveyed stated they did not have a good understanding of the career options available within the creative industries. Showcasing a lack of support and education for parents around options for students in this booming industry.

Parents state that they would be happier if their children chose career options in industries such as Healthcare (14%), Engineering (14%) and IT (13%), even though the creative industries can offer many lucrative job opportunities.

A future Britain needs to become creative to succeed

Between 2010 and 2017, the creative industries grew by 53.1% and is predicted to continue growing despite economic uncertainty. In particular, the gaming sector now accounts for more than half of the UK’s entire entertainment market – more than video and music combined. Research from Escape Studios shows that a third (30%) of students would like to work in Game Design.

Despite all of this, students (30%) and parents (34%) still believe that Art and Design is one of the least important subjects they can take at school. Therefore, it’s imperative that schools better themselves in educating students, as it’s the future workforce who’ll help to build the continuously growing creative economy.

Dr Ian Palmer, Director of Escape Studios comments;“The creative industries continue to grow at a substantial rate; despite this, not enough students are aware of the opportunities available to them within the sector. However, we are thrilled to see that such a high percentage of UK students are showing an interest in creative careers. To support the continuing success of the UK’s creative industries, we need to take a bottom-up approach to nurture future talent. We can do this by creating an environment to inform students and their parents of the career opportunities in the creative sector and provide more support for careers advisors.”

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 Video Games Industry Worth Over Half of UK Entertainment Market

The video games sector now accounts for more than half of the UK’s entire entertainment market, according to a new report.

The industry is worth £3.86bn – more than double its value in 2007 – said the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

That makes it more lucrative than video and music combined.

The success is largely down to three games: Fifa 19, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

The games market has grown, despite the fact that the physical console and PC games market shrank slightly in 2018.

Chief executive of ERA, Kim Bayley said: “The games industry has been incredibly effective in taking advantage of the potential of digital technology to offer new and compelling forms of entertainment. Despite being the youngest of our three sectors, it is now by far the biggest.”

Three games – Fifa 19, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – each sold more than one million physical units in the UK during 2018.

This is all the more impressive when you realise that these games were all released in the latter part of the year.

The figures do not take account of the success of mobile and free games such as Fortnite, however, which has more than 200 million players around the world.

Mass market entertainment

Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games research at IHS Markit said: “During the last five years the games sector has benefited hugely from the mainstream adoption of games apps on smart devices, and the transition from physical distribution to digital distribution in established parts of the market such as console gaming.

“Games are now truly mass market and a very important part of the entertainment sector.”

He added: “Growth has been fuelled by the dominance of free content and in-game monetisation, which expands the adoption of games but also removes the cap on spending for those gamers that are really engaged in the experiences.

“The flexibility of interactive content means it is unique in that it can be monetised in this way, which is an advantage over other forms of entertainment.”

Source: BBC News

Train2Game News Track and Build with Jägermeister

Jägermeister has launched an exciting new initiative in the video games space, teaming with award-winning cinematic bass duo Koven for the ‘Track and Build’ competition.

‘Track and Build’ – which opens today – will search for a games studio to work with Koven on an exclusive track for one of its games.

Indie studios who have a game which will be ready for release in 2019 are invited to enter the competition for free.

Submissions are being taken via www.trackandbuild.io with the entry period closing on February 15th2019, when the shortlist of games will be revealed. The winning studio will be announced at the end of February and will have the unique opportunity to have a game track produced by Koven.

London-based cinematic bass duo Koven is the production alias of producer Max Rowat and Katie Boyle. Within the games industry they are best known for creating the track ‘My Love’ for Rocket League, as well as the trailer music for Driveclub.

“We’re incredibly excited about the Track and Build competition, as it represents our first steps into the games sector,” said Jägermeister’s Music Manager Tom Carson.

“Thanks to our friends at Koven, we can offer a games studio the unique opportunity to have a track created for them by artists who have already made a name for themselves in the genre through their work on Rocket League.”

Koven added: “This is such a mad and exciting opportunity for us to be a part of, and for anyone who we end up working with! We are so pleased to be involved and look forward to going through the entries.”

Jägermeister will announce a further element to the Track and Build competition in the New Year when it will engage with the composer community on the initiative.

To find out more about Track and Build and to enter, visit www.trackandbuild.io.