Train2Game News UK games market reaches new heights in 2016

At its annual Games Industry Market Valuation Breakfast event yesterday, games trade body Ukie revealed the value of UK consumer games market reached a record £4.33bn in 2016, up +1.2% from 2015 figures.The result shows positive growth for the games and interactive entertainment economy, including an +11.1% increase in digital console and PC games sales and an impressive +16.9% rise in UK mobile games revenue – now worth £995m. Overall, software sales in the UK exceeded £3bn for the first time.

The consumer release of the first VR headsets has helped fuel the growth of the sector though the sales of VR hardware, included in the market valuation for the first time and valued at £61.3m. The impact of VR was also seen in the sale of top-end graphics cards, driving a huge increase in PC game hardware of +64% to £258m.  

As the current generation of the console cycle matures, there was an expected reduction in sales of new hardware, down to £507.5m.

UK games events have also seen a strong increase, up +20.6% from 2015, fuelled by a growing esports scene in the UK and consumers engaging more with the industry at UK-wide games shows such as popular Insomnia and upcoming EGX Rezzed.

The successes of both Pokémon GO and Minecraft were factors in increases for both categories for game-related toys and merchandise, and books and magazines. Toys and merchandise sales increased by +7.2% to £66.8m, with books and magazines increasing +13% to £18.4m.

The annual breakfast briefing was attended by industry, media and analysts, and featured lively panel discussions from industry leaders about the state of the UK industry and expected trends in the coming year.

Data was collated to build the total Market Valuation using trusted industry data sources including Superdata, GfK, Kantar Worldpanel, Neilsen, NPD, ABC, The Official Charts Company and Ukie.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said, “Our sector is constantly innovating and investing in new experiences, technologies and talent, resulting in the strong and resilient games industry shown in this £4.33bn market valuation. It has been an excellent year for the industry, including the release of first commercially available VR headsets, an exciting year for our national esports scene, and the explosion of the UK mobile market, which is now worth nearly £1bn alone.

These statistics will go a long way to reinforcing the message that the UK continues to be a world leading games market, remaining strong in the face of an uncertain political climate. Ukie will continue to use these stats to promote the strength of our sector nationally and worldwide to investors, the media, policy makers and more, to prove that the UK is the best place to make and sell games.

The next year will be a big year of change, but we look forward to seeing the market remain resilient and robust and a leading creative economy in the UK.”

Read the full market breakdown here.

Train2Game News Scottish Games Company Receives Big Funding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Train2game News Pokémon trading card mosaic

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The Pokémon Company International has partnered with British artist Quentin Devine to create the world’s largest trading card mosaic, consisting of 12,987 individual Pokémon Trading Card Game cards.

The massive work of art, measuring 71.54 square metres and hanging at over 10 metres tall and 7 metres wide, was unveiled today in Paris.

The finished mosaic, which secures a new world record, forms the image of beloved Pokémon character Pikachu, using the original iconic pose drawn by GAME FREAK illustrator Ken Sugimori.

Anthony Cornish, Marketing Director for The Pokémon Company International, said: “We are incredibly excited to have secured this highly ambitious world record, and are thrilled to have worked with renowned artist Quentin Devine to bring the mosaic to life.”

Quentin Devine is an artist, animator and designer from Surrey, England. He has previously created a giant mosaic of the Mona Lisa constructed from fan self-portraits, as well as an image of Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland using only penny coins. The mosaic of Pikachu is his biggest creation to date.

Train2Game News Scottish Games Industry Growth

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The SNP has today pledged to support the continued growth of the computer games industry after five ‘exceptional’ years for the industry.

The number of computer games companies operating in Scotland has increased from 15 in 2010 to 100 in 2015, with 95 of those businesses registered in Scotland – an increase of over 600% in five years.

Between 2010 and 2013, the last year for which figures are available, turnover increased from £38.1m to £67.6m.

Scottish computer games companies include Rock Star North, producers of the Grand Theft Auto series, and 4J Studios, involved in the production of Minecraft.

Previous SNP action to support the industry includes:

    Successfully lobbied the UK Government to introduce tax incentives for the computer games industry

    Funding 40 post-graduate places for a new masters programme in Computer Games Development at the University of Abertay Skillset Media Academy

    Financial support for Scotland’s first digital skills academy CodeClan

Commenting, SNP MSP Joe Fitzpatrick said:

“Computer games are a massive success story for Scotland and the growth since 2010, both in terms of established companies and in turnover, has been exceptional.

“This is an industry that drives exports and makes a huge cultural and economic contribution to Scottish life.

“The SNP want to ensure that this sector continues to grow as a key part of Scotland’s creative industries.”

Train2Game News UK Games Fund

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The new UK Games Fund, launched last month by Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey, is now accepting applications.

The launch round is targeted at the “pent up demand” amongst established companies. It also requires nomination by two industry peers.

“We know from talking to the companies that we supported in the previous fund and from the enquiries we’ve received since our launch, that there’s a terrific need amongst early stage developers, who’ve been running for a couple of years and now have new IP they need to develop” explains Managing Director Paul Durrant.  “We’re reaching out to them first and accelerating the process by seeking recommendations to highlight strong projects from industry peers.”

“We’ve also seen a lot of interest from newcomers to the industry too so we’re designing a second round launching early next year that will cast a wider net” explains Paul.

“We’re incredibly excited about this first round, but it’s just a small first step amongst range of planned funding packages and talent support projects. We’re going to join things up so that there’s a significant overlap between supported companies, the wealth of UK games development talent and experienced mentors with all of those contributing to value growth in the UK games ecosystem” says Paul.

The project is being run by a new, not-for-profit Community Interest Company, UK Games Talent and Finance and the operational team is essentially the same as the one that ran the previous UK Prototype Fund. Paul has been joined on the board by seasoned investor Mark Hogarth as they look to create more co-investment opportunities for the sector. The company operates out of offices in Dundee and through London’s Digital Catapult.

More details can be found at www.ukgamesfund.com
For all the latest news follow @ukgamesfund on Twitter.

Train2Game News: Put a TARDIS in to orbit!

TARDISAs it is the middle of the week, which can be a depressing time, I have an interesting Kickstarter for you. How would you like to send a TARDIS in to Orbit?

2013 is the 50 year anniversary of Doctor Who and so a group of fans have built a small TARDIS to be sent up in to Earth’s Lower Orbit.

They are not talking about sticking a little, plastic TARDIS on top of a model rocket and shooting it really high into the sky and they’re not going to tie a TARDIS to a weather balloon, no, they are putting a TARDIS into the payload bay of a real, actual, honest-to-goodness, rocket, and launching it into a Low Earth Orbit.

This is not a joke, this is being carried out!

The TARDIS it’s self is already built and was created using memorabilia from the show, a blue print of the TARDIS.

The satellite is constructed from really light weight aluminum and it is a scaled-down version of the actual TARDIS. Our satellite is only about 1 foot tall, however, the light on top functions, powered by solar cells in the windows.

Housed within the box is a camera, a GoPro Hero 3, regularly recharged by the solar panels, which will take photos of the Earth from orbit. A magnetic, passive attitude control system is in place which will keep the TARDIS’s camera pointing toward the planet. All the images taken will be stored on SSDs as HDD’s don’t work in Zero Gravity.

The Kickstarter has already reached it’s funding goal so will definitely be launched but there are still a few days left to pledge.

The more money they get the bigger they can make the TARDIS!

As with most Kickstarter campaigns there are backer rewards. If you back this project; not only will you know that you helped put a TARDIS in to space; but you will also be able to send up personal information about your self on the SDD cards, letting anyone know who finds it, years in to the future, that you once walked the planet!

This is one of the craziest projects I have ever seen on Kickstarter but also one of the most interesting. The limits of Kickstarter truly know no bounds!

You can pledge and find out more by going to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/573935592/were-putting-a-tardis-into-orbit-really