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The Game Industry Conference (GIC) 2023 - First Speakers Announced
devcom adds Trading Cards for speakers plus next Session Highlights
Replica Studios Offers AI Voice Plugin for Unity on the New AI Marketplace in Unity’s Asset Store
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User Acquisition on Unity in 2022
2022 and beyond: Teslasuit and a New Dimension for the Youniverse
The global leader in human-to-digital interface technology, Teslasuit looks forward to new and innovative game-changing hardware and software developments, while establishing exciting new use cases to drive humankind towards a better future. Since 2016, when Teslasuit first launched its eponymous bodysuit designed to merge the virtual with the physical using groundbreaking haptic feedback technology, the company has been at the vanguard of VR and AR technology, creating innovative hardware and software products able to improve people’s lives, and raise their possibilities to a new level across multiple industries. From medical rehabilitation to sports performance and gaming via defence and industrial training, the ways in which the Teslasuit can be deployed are only just beginning to evolve. In a world in which human movement can be digitalised, commodified, and examined like never before, Teslasuit is very excited to be launching its haptic glove later this year, which combines haptic feedback, force feedback, finger tracking and a biometric system to give the user an unparalleled and literal grasp of the human-to-digital interface. In anticipation of this event, Teslasuit have launched a new website together with a rebranding package designed to mark a new dimension in the brand’s scientific and technological development. The new Teslasuit logo, based on an electric impulse, is formed of three mutual and dynamic parts, representing the technology’s three key applications: professional training, research and rehabilitation, and development. Through an unprecedented merger of the virtual world with the physical realm, Teslasuit products will create a new dimension of human movement and sensory experience where the digital environment directly interacts with the material world, creating an informational and emotional osmosis.
Zero Latency Pushes Immersive Entertainment Industry Forward With Next Generation Platform Release, Available Globally Now
Zero Latency, the company that introduced the world to free-roam VR, has partnered with tech giant HTC to launch a first-of-its-kind multiplayer immersive entertainment platform. For the first time ever, groups as large as eight can discover Zero Latency’s award-winning experiences with nothing more than a headset – the game-changing HTC VIVE Focus 3. The new platform uses an exclusive remote rendering stack and the latest 6E wireless technology to seamlessly stream 5K VR to up to 8 players simultaneously, delivering up to 16x performance over traditional all-in-one headsets. With no backpack computers, sensors, or other distractions, Zero Latency’s world-first platform offers players the deepest, most effortless immersive experience available today. “With this new partnership, we’re taking a giant leap in the virtual entertainment space,” said Tim Ruse, chief executive officer at Zero Latency. “The evolution to remote rendering and 6E streaming not only improves performance, but removes the need for backpack PCs, cables, and other player distractions–it’s the most streamlined, natural experience yet for both our customers and our operators. Zero Latency has always invested heavily in innovation, and we’re excited to once again push the industry forward in partnership with HTC.” Zero Latency’s new platform is the best way yet to discover Zero Latency’s award-winning library of experiences, including Ubisoft’s AAA exclusive, Far Cry VR; cooperative zombie survival adventure, Undead Arena; mind-bending space mission, Singularity; and the all-action competitive world of Sol Raiders VR eSports. Players can take advantage of Zero Latency’s custom-designed VR gun controller to get in the thick of the action; the company is also investigating the use of hand-tracking in future titles. “Our customers often tell us Zero Latency is the best VR experience they’ve ever had,” said Scott Vandonkelaar, chief technology officer at Zero Latency. “Delivering experiences as deep and interactive as ours has never been possible with an all-in-one headset, so we built our own solution. Remote rendering and 6E wireless streaming means we can deliver our experiences at previously impossible performance levels, with less technology and fewer player distractions than ever. We’re blown away by the results and can’t wait for customers to experience it for themselves.” The new generation of Zero Latency is made possible in part through an exciting partnership with VR technology veterans HTC. “Partnering with Zero Latency to expand customer access to truly immersive virtual entertainment is a massive win for the industry,” said Thomas Dexmier, HTC Vive ANZ - Country Manager. “Bringing the VIVE Focus 3 headset to a company with the size and scale of Zero Latency reduces complicated hardware needs and ensures an interruption-free experience for players worldwide.” The VIVE Focus 3 headset brings a new set of unique capabilities to players, including: (1) An innovative design: The VIVE Focus 3 is the most ergonomic and comfortable VR headset yet with an innovative counterweight design with equivalent front-back balance, perfect for intense, extended gameplay sessions. The new headset suits a wide range of both face shapes and vision types – including those with glasses (2) High-resolution video: The headset features industry-leading 5K resolution (a combined resolution of 4896 x 2448 pixels), a wide 120-degree field of view, and a smooth 90-hertz refresh rate, delivering crisp and natural visuals (3) Immersive sound: Featuring dual microphones with noise cancellation, the headset delivers 3D spatial sound and sound leakage reduction for unparalleled immersion (4) Map sharing and LBE mode: Heavily customized for the location-based entertainment (LBE) industry, the VIVE Focus 3 headset allows users to create boundaries based on the available space and operate accurate co-location tracking to deliver a realistic, free-roaming experience (5) Designed for high-traffic venues: Made with durable materials, the VIVE Focus 3 delivers long-lasting VR performance with its swappable battery, dramatically reducing the operational complexity in the venues. The headset is easy to clean with its magnetic cushions. And in an effort to optimize the customer turnaround, HTC’s patented quick-release button allows users to easily put on the headset to start playing without delays. For more information about Zero Latency, go to https://zerolatencyvr.com/
Focus Entertainment partners up with Two Horizons to publish Hotel Renovator
Focus Entertainment today unveils a brand new publishing partnership for the next title from Two Horizons. A proven expert in delivering quality simulation games, the studio is currently working on Hotel Renovator, for which Focus will bring its expertise in publishing simulation titles such as Farming Simulator, SnowRunner and Hardspace: Shipbreaker. Combining construction, decoration and renovation with a realistic render, Hotel Renovator enriches Focus’ portfolio and its SIM SERIES range. Focus has always been keen to offer a varied catalog for players worldwide, and Two Horizon’s new title is set to be a unique, immersive new experience. “Our entire team is very excited to be working alongside Focus Entertainment to bring Hotel Renovator to players worldwide.” said Krzysztof Wagner, CEO of Two Horizons. “From a simple idea of restoring and decorating an old hotel, our game is becoming something more significant than we first expected. We firmly believe that together with a partner like Focus, we will take our game to a new dimension.“ “With this partnership, Focus continues to offer unique experiences to players, through games that bring fresh perspectives and exciting twists to familiar genres.” explains Yves Le Yaouanq, Chief Content Officer of Focus Entertainment. “Two Horizons' talented team delivers an original blend of simulation, management and storytelling, backed by photorealistic graphics. A coherent vision of "4D" gameplay (Destroy, Design, Decorate and Develop), the experience is reinforced by a dynamic narrative layer with a light tone. The game also has solid foundations on which to build ambitious live and post-launch intentions. This collaboration corresponds to what we want to bring to Focus: provide tools for players to deploy their creativity.”
Gaming/careers: Analysis reveals more younger people look to make a living as a social media influencer
Analysis* of data from over 900,000 people who play the best-selling digital game, The Game of Life 2, reveals 7% of those aged 25 and under are choosing to become social media influencers and video bloggers for their jobs. The corresponding figure for those aged 25 and over is 4% Cristina Mereuta, co-CEO at Marmalade Game Studio, said they are seeing more people choosing this career when playing the game, and this is perhaps not surprising given the high profile of some social media influencers, and the money they are earning. Mereuta said: “On average influencers earn around $3,000 a month from their Instagram accounts, but those with over 1 million followers are earning well over $15,000 a month.** “As more brands are turning to smaller ‘creators’ such as ‘nano’ and ‘micro’ influencers who have under 100,000 followers, establishing a career as a creator is becoming more feasible for many.” The hit game from Marmalade Game Studio simulates a person’s travels through their life, from college to careers, marriage, and children, pets, buying a house right through to retirement. Other new types of career choices selected include being an app developer (11% chose this in 2021), a video game designer (7% of gamers chose this) and 4% who want to be a pet groomer. With growing concerns about the rising cost of living, the analysis of how people play Marmalade’s The Game of Life 2 reveals a big shift towards asking for a pay rise as opposed to looking for a new job. This is probably fuelled by people becoming increasingly worried about the risks associated with switching employers, whilst their cost of living is going up. In 2021, 70% of those playing the game opted for a pay rise compared to 30% who wanted to switch jobs, and the corresponding figures in 2020 are 60% and 40% respectively. The Game of Life 2 from digital publishers Marmalade Game Studio has updated the classic Hasbro board game, The Game of Life, offering more choices and more freedom and enabling players to join friends and family for the multiplayer adventure. In the updated game adapted to today’s society there are more and new choices including: ● Getting married early or late or not at all ● Leaving important decisions until later in the game with an additional crossroad moment ● Having children, or adopting a pet, choosing both, or neither ● Playing as the Pink, Blue or new Purple Peg ● Getting a modern job, like a Vlogger or Wind Turbine Engineer ● Retiring to a luxury retirement home, or continuing their journey and fulfilling their bucket list ● Winning through wealth - just like the original - or earning points for Knowledge and happiness The Game of Life 2 is just one of Marmalade Game Studio’s roster of high-quality adaptations of beloved Hasbro board games including Monopoly, Clue/Cluedo, Battleship and the original The Game of Life. ### Notes to editors * Analysis of Game of Life 2 data from 923,507 total Players across Mobile, PC and Nintendo Switch ** HypeAuditor’s Influencer Income Survey
Internet Vikings surges deeper into the U.S. as they take their game to Michigan
Internet Vikings has officially launched its iGaming operations in the state of Michigan. Beginning in July 2021, the globally renowned European hosting provider has strategically expanded into one state after another, and now offer their services in most of the iGaming compliant states in America. Setting up and going live in Michigan is a carefully planned move for the company, where they once again will provide their full suite of bespoke iGaming hosting services. The company founder and CCO Rickard Vikström expressed his excitement: “We are thrilled to have secured our positions in yet another US territory. We consider the establishment of our operations in Michigan being a major win.” The state of Michigan is presently one of the largest U.S. iGaming markets and therefore one of the most sought-after in the country. Their online sportsbooks handle for December saw a boost of +2.3% MoM, hitting a whopping $485m. While Michigan’s iGaming gross revenue for 2021 hit a new high of $121.8m. Elena Kvakova, the Head of the U.S. expansion for Internet Vikings said: “In addition to high revenues, Michigan is one of just six states in America which specifically allow online casinos.” The others being New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Connecticut. Unlike some other gaming-compliant states, suppliers are not required to possess any type of license if they want to operate in Michigan. It must however, be taken into consideration that in order to operate in Michigan, all online casinos and all companies or individuals working within the industry must have a vendor license, no matter their size or level. Elena continued: “Recognizing the state as the next important strategic step in our U.S. expansion, after studying the relevant legislation and obtaining the required documentation since April, we worked as a team to establish our next U.S. base.” Internet Vikings quickly acquired their first client in May, and applied for their vendor license in June. After months of waiting, Michigan Gaming Control Board has finally completed the evaluation and issued the Swedish Hosting Services Provider with a valid license. “We are extremely proud to be able to support our clients in multiple locations across the U.S. and globally. I can confirm that we will continue expanding and growing both territorially and as a company as a whole. Making sure that iGaming businesses worldwide have access to reliable hosting services anywhere anytime.” Internet Vikings have established a solid reputation as a global hosting services provider, with operations active and thriving on 6 continents. Offering the best in online gaming hosting, their current focus is on the blooming U.S. market, where they have already gone live in most of the compliant states, with more to come in the following months. They have also taken on other new frontiers and set up in Ontario, Canada. Having acquired the necessary experience and strategy, they are ready to take on new locations across America and will soon be operational in all compliant states.
Could RichCast be the ultimate Game Jam tool?
RichCast, the new creative studio and publishing platform, has partnered with Global Game Jam to support its 2022 event. RichCast (www.richcast.com), which recently won a prestigious TIGA Award for Best Technical Innovation, is now inviting anyone to build and publish their own interactive narrative experiences and games using its simple, intuitive ‘no code’ drag and drop interface. The Global Game Jam is the world's largest game creation event, taking place from January 20th-30th 2022 - and Jammer registrations are open now. The annual GGJ weekend (https://globalgamejam.org) stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. RichCast is the brainchild of three highly respected and experienced UK games industry veterans: Neil Campbell, plus Philip and Andrew Oliver – aka The Oliver Twins. It enables people of all ages* to create original and diverse content that blurs the line between literature and entertainment, complete with voice and touchscreen controls, HD video, audio-visual effects and AI voices that bring new worlds – and words – to life. Creating a RichCast experience requires no knowledge of programming or script languages, making it the simplest way to create original interactive content. It’s even easier to use than the Scratch programming language. RichCast also has a competition open to creators, with £10,000 (~US$13,200) of prize money up for grabs. Head to www.richcast.com, download the Early Access RichCast App for PC or Mac, and hit Create to get started. Enter the competition at www.richcast.com/competition and submit your best RichCasts by midnight on January 7th 2022. There are four categories: Best Fiction Best Non-Fiction Best Use of Audio Best Use of Visuals The winner of each category will receive £2,000 each, while runners-up will each receive £500. The competition is free to enter and open to anyone over 13 years of age. For full terms and conditions, visit www.richcast.com/competition. RichCast is currently free, with the plan to add fair monetisation in 2022 to ensure content creators receive royalties for their great experiences. “The RichCast software has been developed with a goal of democratising the creation and distribution of high quality, interactive narrative content,” explained Philip Oliver, CEO of PANIVOX, the start-up behind RichCast. “Global Game Jam is a much-respected event that encourages creativity in interactive entertainment around the world, and urges the individuals who take part to try out new technology. The synergies between our two organisations couldn’t be stronger, so we’re delighted to be partnering with them to help more people take part in this brilliant annual event.” Rich Hebblewhite, Senior Lecturer in Computing at Wrexham University and GGJ 2022 Regional Organiser (UK & Ireland), said: “The GGJ embodies the idea that in today's connected world, we can come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using games as a medium. As such, promoting tools that empower people from all backgrounds and skill sets is hugely important to us - and the PANIVOX team has produced such a platform with RichCast. “Having been involved with Global Game Jam for more than a decade, it’s exciting to see new technology such as RichCast driving creativity and innovation at the grass roots of the industry.” To learn more about RichCast and register for Early Access visit www.RichCast.com For RichCast media assets, visit: https://bit.ly/RichCastLaunchAssets RichCast Launch Video: https://bit.ly/RichCastRevealVideo
SMPTE Rapid Industry Solutions (RIS) On-Set Virtual Production Initiative Receives Epic MegaGrant
SMPTE®, the home of media professionals, technologists, and engineers, today announced that SMPTE — through its newest program, Rapid Industry Solutions (RIS) On-Set Virtual Production Initiative (OSVP) — has received a prestigious Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games. Drawing on the expertise and contributions of diverse technology and thought leaders, the RIS OSVP is working quickly to assess challenges; establish goals; and make interoperability specifications, workflows, and best practices open and free to the industry along with supporting educational courses and webcasts. The $150,000 Epic MegaGrant will empower SMPTE to deliver even more quickly on the promise of this first RIS Initiative. "This Epic MegaGrant is a wonderful validation of the work we've done so far, the model we're using to deliver results, and our ultimate goal of making those results open and free to the industry," said SMPTE Executive Director Barbara Lange. "We formed the RIS On-Set Virtual Production Initiative to address an important and specific industry need, and this support will add to our momentum and accelerate our work. Speaking on behalf of the SMPTE RIS OSVP community, I can say we're all tremendously grateful." SMPTE developed the RIS model to address rapidly evolving technologies and their application across the media and entertainment industry. Providing a clear, readily accessible framework for on-set virtual production, as well as much-needed resources for education and professional development, the SMPTE RIS OSVP Initiative will empower creatives, technologists, and executives to explore the full potential of powerful, real-time, 3D creative tools, including Epic's Unreal Engine. More than 40 companies and individual contributors from across the industry are collaborating as part of the RIS OSVP community to achieve this goal. Establishing interoperability standards and best practices for film and episodic content creators is essential to making virtual production workflows accessible to all storytellers. This initiative from SMPTE marks an important step forward for virtual production, a technique centered around use of Unreal Engine that has revolutionized the creation of interactive storytelling and entertainment. We are pleased to support this effort through Epic MegaGrants, accelerating SMPTE's mission to drive the industry forward," said David Morin, industry manager, media & entertainment, Epic Games. More about Epic MegaGrants can be found at unrealengine.com/en-US/megagrants. More information about the SMPTE RIS OSVP Initiative is available at smpte.org/rapid-industry-solutions. Further information about SMPTE is available at smpte.org
Gaming platform PlayDough Technologies secures $2m funding round as play-to-earn games take-off
PlayDough Technologies, the blockchain gaming platform, has today announced a $2m funding round led by proprietary trading and venture capital firm Westridge Markets. The investment comes off the back of an exceptional period of growth that has seen the startup build a community with members spread out in over 30 countries. PlayDough’s mission is to build the conduit that democratizes access and enables anyone to participate in the play-to-earn gaming economy. Traditional gaming business models have evolved from pay-to-play with revenue coming from players purchasing games to free-to-play with in-game purchases generating revenue. Blockchain technology has taken this to the next level creating a play-to-earn revenue model. Gaming companies now essentially create a metaverse but all the in-game items like characters and accessories are represented by NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) on a blockchain. The users mint, purchase and sell these items with the game creator generating revenue through a small commission. These NFTs are then used to play the game and earn rewards. The rewards are in-game crypto tokens which can be moved to exchanges and sold for BTC, ETH or USD. The tokens derive their value from their usage in the gameplay. The NFTs required to play these games can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. This leaves the vast majority of players, particularly from developing countries, unable to access these play-to-earn economies. This is where a gaming community like PlayDough steps in. It is simultaneously an investment firm creating a portfolio of gaming NFTs and a remote gig economy network allowing users to use its collection to generate yield for themselves and PlayDough. Mehul Khati, Co-Founder of PlayDough Technologies commented: “PlayDough has been a journey of blitz scaling since inception. It has only been a few months and we already have active community members in over 30 countries. Gaming seems to be achieving the borderless ideals of crypto at full speed. We have started with the most advanced play-to-earn game, Axie Infinity. While building a community around PlayDough has been satisfying, the ability to look at play-to-earn as a yield generation strategy has also been a motivator for the trader in me. We have built valuation models, breeding strategies and training programs for our community to be able to generate the highest yield possible. While Axie being the most advanced game in the play-to-earn space remains the focus for PlayDough, it has already started building inventory in emerging games from Sorare to Gods Unchained. Star Atlas on Solana and Moonray on Stacks are showing early signs of a cross chain universe that PlayDough is planning to build on.” PlayDough was co-founded by Mehul Khati earlier this year along with the team at Westridge Markets. Mehul, an engineering graduate from Imperial College London, spent a decade trading commodity derivatives while experimenting with crypto as a hobbyist. He finally got involved with crypto full time five years ago including the last year when he established the de-fi trading desk at Celsius Network. Being an early adopter of protocols through staking and de-fi made him explore the frontiers of innovation in crypto. As the NFT space gained momentum this year he began collecting everything from art and land in metaverses to gaming assets. His financial training naturally pushed him in the direction of yield generating assets and when play-to-earn arrived he knew it was his calling. On leading the investment round, Shamyl Malik, Managing Director at Westridge Markets commented: “Connecting gaming, collectibles, metaverses and de-fi, we think that PlayDough is building at the intersection of four of the strongest trends in blockchain space. With such a tailwind for the start-up and a founder we have known to be curious, persistent and innovative over many years of association with him, we are super excited about our investment and the future of PlayDough. We will continue to support the start-up through our network and ideas.”
Linux Foundation’s O3DE Project, Kythera AI Gives Independent Developers Free Instant Access To New Open-Source Games Engine
Kythera AI, known for its advanced, comprehensive AI middleware for video games, has begun publicly distributing its AI middleware as a Gem with the Linux Foundation’s new Open3D game engine (O3DE). Previously only available to commercial clients, Kythera AI will now distribute their toolset as a binary Gem packaged with O3DE, becoming the first middleware provider to make its advanced AI solution available to any developer at any level - free for non-commercial use, with royalty and upfront licensing available for commercial products over a certain threshold. Kythera AI consists of a broad range of AI tools that have been produced hand in glove with veteran developers. Tools include an intuitive behavior tree system and solutions for navigation of the ground and sky, which aims to solve the more time-consuming challenges for developers. Independent studios, who might previously have been limited by budget and resources, will now be able to develop games with AI as complex and engaging as that in AAA titles. "We’re big fans of Kythera AI and their toolset, including behaviour trees, navigation, and automatic level markup,” remarked Lloyd Tullues, CTO of Silicon-Valley-backed game studio Carbonated Inc, who, like Kythera AI, are founder members of the Open 3D Foundation. “Knowing that Kythera will be available with O3DE from the start is super exciting: developers from all over the world will now be able to leverage the same tools we’ve relied upon to create absolutely amazing experiences for their players." More recent additions to Kythera AI’s commercial feature set will also be added to the Gem shortly, including automatic markup of navigation links and cover rails, as well as the 2D and 3D formations systems used in the best-selling title Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem. “We are thrilled to have access to the full power of the Kythera AI Gem for the development of Deadhaus Sonata,” said Denis Dyack of Apocalypse Studios. “It’s great news for the foundation that O3DE will have the edge on any other game engine when it comes to AI. Intelligent formation features, realistic and reactive enemies are key to creating a successful title, and Kythera AI makes this possible.” This comes as a big development in the Scottish gaming and tech sector, with a Scottish company playing a major role in an international collaboration of high-profile tech organisations. “We are delighted to see a case study showcased in Scotland’s AI Strategy involved directly in founding a potentially revolutionary group in the field of game design and simulation” stated Gillian Docherty OBE, Chair of the Scottish AI Alliance. “We’re proud to see a Scottish company with the growth potential of Kythera AI showing leadership in their sector on the global stage. This recent announcement of Kythera’s position as the default AI for the new Open 3D Engine will no doubt hasten the wider adoption across both gaming and other sectors.” Matthew Jack, CEO of Kythera AI, was glad of the opportunity to open up the toolset to the community, believing that it could push the boundaries of the games industry: “It was an exciting moment when we chose to join the O3DE Foundation as founder members and to supply the AI solution for the project. We have spent a long time developing a comprehensive toolset for game designers and AI developers to work with, and the idea of so many creatives getting access to those tools, regardless of their background, is an amazing thought. We can’t wait to see what incredible games come out of the community as a result of this access.”
Escape Studios partners with Epic Games and leading European animation schools to deliver world’s largest training programme in Unreal Engine
Escape Studios has been commissioned by Epic Games to deliver the Summer of Unreal, a free pan-European Unreal Engine training course for 1,000 animators and CGI artists, in collaboration with a range of academic institutions and skills development organisations from across the Continent. The Summer of Unreal will commence on 26th July 2021 and will run across four weeks in partnership with the following European institutions: Denmark/Scandinavia – The Animation Workshop France – ARTFX Germany - Hochschule der Medien Ireland – Screen Skills Ireland Serbia/ South-eastern Europe - Crater Training Center Spain - La Salle-URL UK – Escape Studios Mark Flanagan, Education Partner Manager, Epic Games said: “The Summer of Unreal is an incredible opportunity that is open to professionals in animation and VFX all across Europe, and we couldn't be happier to invite the industry to participate. Escape Studios is a wonderful partner who, along with a number of Europe's best animation schools, are running this programme, which is set to be the biggest Unreal Engine training that we've undertaken to date. We’re excited to help all learners find new ways to tell awesome stories and express their creativity using Unreal Engine.” Saint Walker, Deputy Dean of Escape Studios, said: “The Summer of Unreal is a fantastic opportunity for animation and 3D CGI professionals across Europe to discover more about the cutting-edge technology on offer with Unreal Engine. “We've worked with top animation companies to create a novel animation-centric way of teaching Unreal Engine, in one of the most ambitious training programmes that Escape Studios has been involved with - our vision of a pan-European festival of learning in Unreal Engine has gained us amazing academic partners in the form of some of the best animation schools in the world. We invite learners across Europe to join us. Make your summer staycation Unreal!” The Summer of Unreal will be taught online in English and is free-of-charge to professionals working in the animation, motion graphics and VFX industry who want an informal group experience of learning Unreal Engine over the holiday period. The course will feature daily workshops covering all the major aspects of using Unreal Engine interspersed with practice time, teamwork, as well as demonstrations and masterclasses from some of Europe’s premiere companies and artists showing how they use the platform in their work. Mark Spevick, Escape Studios’ Head of 3D VFX will be the main ‘showrunner’ for the Summer of Unreal. The unique role used in Escapes’ larger courses ensures that tutors get to hear and address the most important questions from the online shop floor through Mark’s advocacy. Mark combines teaching and programme design with senior industry experience, having worked at Peerless Camera, the production house co-owned by Terry Gilliam.
Replica Studios Announces Early Access to AI Voice Actors for Unreal Engine's MetaHuman Creator
Replica Studios, an artificial intelligence (AI) voice technology company, today revealed plans to integrate with Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Creator, allowing developers to give their MetaHumans unique sounding AI voices with matching lip-synch and face animation. Replica’s platform enables game developers, animators, and filmmakers to use AI voices for digital characters. Additionally, they are creating a library of hundreds of AI voice characters with unique sounding voices for developers to tap into for game and animation narratives. Developers can sign up for early access to the Replica Studios and MetaHuman Creator integration at https://replicastudios.com/metahumans View a preview video showcasing MetaHuman Creator avatars performed by two of Replica Studios’ AI voice actors: https://vimeo.com/574661176 Quality lip-syncing can make or break visual storytelling in games and digital content, and as developers add a cast of characters to a narrative, the lip-syncing challenge becomes all the more complex. Replica Studios’ integration with Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Creator provides developers from AAA to indie studios with AI voice-acted characters in addition to accurate lip-synching and face animation, speeding up the animation process and freeing up more time for more creative experimentation with game narrative. Developers can animate digital characters in minutes by capturing their own voice using a recording app, then using the audio to direct the performance of the AI voice, so that it matches with the face mocap and lip movements of the MetaHuman Creator. This video shows how the integration between Replica and MetaHuman Creator works: https://vimeo.com/572363430/2e986794ba Replica Studios will showcase its AI voice technology at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) next week. Developers can attend the GDC session to learn more about its AI voice actors for MetaHuman Creator on Monday, July 19, from 2:00pm - 2:30pm Pacific Time: https://schedule.gdconf.com/session/game-narrative-summit-voice-ai-for-game-developers-optimizing-the-narrative-process/879792 Shreyas Nivas, Co-Founder and CEO of Replica Studios, said: “We’re about to see a major transformation in the way game narratives are created and experienced by audiences. Traditionally, animators manually animate the face and lip movements to match the voiceover, which gets recorded separately, often losing days or weeks to this process over the lifecycle of a project. Replica’s Voice AI platform enables text-to-animation pipelines to render dialogue and narration within minutes. While we’re only letting in early access developers into our AI voices beta program for Unreal Engine MetaHuman Creator, soon millions of game developers and animators with access to the MetaHuman Creator will be able to access our library of AI voice actors to give their MetaHuman Creator avatars a voice. These lower barriers to entry and faster times to market mean that we’ll be seeing a shift to higher quality, more narrative driven, more realistic looking and sounding games sooner than you’d expect.” Sign up for early access to the Replica Studios & MetaHuman Creator integration at https://replicastudios.com/metahumans Replica Studios’ AI voices for MetaHuman Creator will feature: Unreal Engine MetaHuman Creator voiced by Replica Studios’ AI voice actors, with accurate lip-syncing. Replica Studio’s library of 40+ AI voice actors that range from expressive game characters to narrators and storytellers with a diverse range of accents and speaking styles. Text to Synthesized Speech. Type what you want your avatar to say and receive the synthesized speech in seconds. Fine tune the AI voice actor’s performance with controls to apply moods, emphasis, pitch, sound effects and other characteristics where needed. Capture and save multiple takes and access a history of saved dialog lines for future adjustments and iterations This announcement follows on the heels of their launch of an integration with iClone Character Creator, another highly popular animation and face mocap software trusted by hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide. Learn more about Replica Studios’ AI voices for Unreal Engine at www.replicastudios.com/unreal
DropKey, World's First Inflatable Green Screen Studio, Now Available on DropKey.com
DropKey®, the world's first inflatable green screen studio called the Pop-up Studio in a Bag® with the DropKey mobile app, is now available on Dropkey.com following a successful Kickstarter campaign and will ship to customers this fall. DropKey is also providing access to MediaBook.tv® for location-based video clips creating a content creation “ecosystem” designed specifically for content creators, Twitch steamers, YouTubers, TikTok amateurs and professionals who want to “level up” and shoot broadcast quality, live background replacement streaming from their home or office. With DropKey, none of that is required as you have your own Hollywood Pop-up Studio in a Bag at home! DropKey’s Creator Network (DCN), a free membership that is 17,000 members strong made up of photographers and videographers, can get discounts, enter brand competitions and upload their own high-quality location-based background video clips to the MediaBook ecosystem and make money. MediaBook is an online store for video clips made up of millions of aggregated stock footage assets available for green screen backgrounds (b-roll), enabling users to quickly obtain “locations” and create broadcast-quality green screen videos from literally anywhere. The company will market DropKey as the Be Anywhere® app. The DropKey Pop-up Studio in a Bag Classic (available for $599) is equipped with a camera app that syncs location-based video clips directly from the MediaBook.tv online store, enabling users to find live, searchable video clips and start shooting in that location in seconds. DropKey includes a wireless lighting controller with optional software audio mixer, making it the ultimate inflatable portable studio. In addition, the DropKey Pop-up Studio in a Bag Professional is much larger (12’W x 10’H) for $1,999 and includes professional audio and a 10-channel software mixer. DropKey can be purchased at https://dropkey.com and b-roll video clips can be purchased at https://mediabook.tv. Video clips purchased will sync to your camera roll, a function that will be available when the company starts shipping product in the fall. MediaBook will include a mobile app in Q4 2021. All DropKey Pop-up Studios pair automatically with the DropKey app on your smart device (iOS and Android) and will include the DropKey Ads Creator by monthly subscription giving users workflow templates for content creation and final assembly in the cloud, creating professional grade commercials at a fraction of the cost, removing the need for crews, rental gear, and post-production. “85 percent of what you see on television is made using green-screen technology and nobody knows it. Almost 100 percent of professional content creators use Chroma key background replacement in their productions every day,” said Rockwell Scharer, Founder and CEO of DropKey, Inc. “When you put that ability on over two billion smart devices for the first time, you have the potential for a video and content creation revolution--and Dropkey is leading the way.” According to Scharer, “We saw a very big niche in the new work-from-home economy where content producers can significantly increase their revenue streams on the mobile platform through collaboration and at-home productions. Users will be able to make broadcast-quality videos at home using professionally shot, curated green screen location-based “video backgrounds” via the DropKey and MediaBook ecosystem. With DropKey, the next Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams may emerge as we enter this new era of video creation.” More information can be obtained at www.DropKey.com and Mediabook.tv
AI-powered avatars should be embraced in gaming
The gaming industry should embrace the use of AI-powered avatars to enhance gamers’ experience, according to new research from the University of Portsmouth. The study suggests that experienced gamers would welcome expressing themselves in the virtual world through a human-like avatar which can think, act and interact with the gamer to improve their performance. Co-authored by Dr Muhammad Awais Shakir Goraya, senior lecturer in operations and systems management from the Faculty of Business and Law, the research found that AI-powered avatars would give gamers an experience as close to reality as possible. Dr Awais Shakir Goraya said: “The pandemic has been a technological game changer for many of us because we have seen a digital transformation, with the likes of AI, virtual reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain, becoming more commonplace. “People are running marathons virtually, we can meet colleagues in Australia and use VR to feel like you’re in the same room. The world is fast becoming digitised and modernised, and AI is used in so many things we use in everyday life – from online browsing to our shopping journeys on varied platforms. “AI has already altered the multi-billion pound gaming industry, but our research has found gamers want to be fully immersed inside the game to get the best possible experience. Using an AI-powered avatar would allow a customised, interactive experience, which would be more enjoyable for the gamer.” The research surveyed 500 people - mostly students - from China who were gaming every day on smartphones and personal computers. At least 20 percent of them were gaming for three to six hours daily. The study explored whether gamers think an AI-powered avatar - which could offer guidance, improve performance, speed and combat - would be easy, useful and enjoyable. Dr Awais Shakir Goraya said: “Ultimately, consumers use a product or service if they find it easy and useful, so predicting that AI-powered avatars would be beneficial for gamers shows that it’s likely to be successful in the marketplace. “This research is just a starting point to guide the gaming industry, but it could also have implications for other industries such as retail, hospitality, logistics and aviation. The pandemic has really forced us to shine a spotlight on what is possible using this technology, and what might come next.” The paper ‘Let's play: Me and my AI-powered avatar as one team’ is published in Psychology and Marketing.
WeQ Launches WeQ STUDIOS to Offer Global Games Publishing and Premium Player Acquisition
WeQ today announced that it acquired boutique games development studio, Booster Studios, to provide exclusive access to gaming inventory. Uniting the talents of its acquired gaming studio with its mobile advertising expertise, WeQ’s strategic growth continues with the latest addition rebranded as WeQ STUDIOS. WeQ STUDIOS publishes first and third-party hyper-casual games, providing services to mobile developers of all sizes for the chance to launch, market and grow their games at scale. WeQ STUDIOS is already working collaboratively with third-party developers to publish their games according to a fair shared revenue system. They also work with partners, enabling apps to gain visibility and achieve specific KPIs in key markets including US, Europe, Eastern Europe. The mobile gaming market is expected to reach $106 billion by 2021 (Newzoo). In particular, casual and hyper-casual games have seen unprecedented growth over the past year and the market is valued to be in the region of $2 billion to $2.5 billion in annual revenue (IronSource). What sets WeQ STUDIOS apart in a saturated and fast-changing mobile gaming publishing market is offering a collaborative approach, transparency and premium player acquisition with performance-boosting and publishing solutions. Markus Malti, Managing Director of WeQ, said: “WeQ STUDIOS leverages our market expertise in mobile advertising to offer premium player acquisition and industry knowledge, which enables our partners to get discovered while they focus on what they do best: create great mobile games. This combination of gaming talent and advertising expertise ensures our partners’ success.” Behind WeQ STUDIOS is a world-class team of gaming professionals who are passionate about helping developers and advertisers publish and grow their mobile games. WeQ has entrusted Booster Studios’ gaming experts and furthermore, acquired new talent to join forces with WeQ’s mobile advertising capabilities. Frédéric Hatanian, who joins as Head of Gaming, has a background in game design and project management. Prior to joining WeQ he was at SoftGames, coming up with new ideas for games like Cookie Crush and Solitaire Story - Tripeaks on Facebook Instant Games, and bringing them to life through the entire development process. Alex Olmos Pardo, UA Manager of Mobile Gaming, has spent over five years at From the Bench Games where he worked with global brands including NBA, NFL, MLB, Real Madrid, Liverpool FC and AC Milan. He brings a wealth of experience in app store optimization (ASO) and user acquisition on channels such as Facebook, Google and Apple Search Ads. Sven Lubek, Managing Director of WeQ, said: “As WeQ already delivers user acquisition beyond the walled gardens of Facebook and Google, this addition to the team enables WeQ STUDIOS to open up new advertising channels.” With this new launch, WeQ is able to continue helping existing clients grow their apps with exclusive inventory, and also giving developers the chance to publish their mobile games and bring them to the app store. With this step WeQ adds more value to its offering, which benefits both clients and new partners alike. Hatanian, Head of Gaming at WeQ STUDIOS, said: "By bringing our mobile gaming expertise and deep knowledge of casual gaming to WeQ, we can help developers of all types and sizes to publish, launch and market their games across key markets. WeQ STUDIOS is working with some of the most experienced developers in the industry to ensure best-in-class game development. We work with our partners transparently, with fairness and full respect for intellectual property. We understand that our success is determined by our partners’ success. We are always eager for new games to show at our door and are looking forward to seeing how our unique offering can help developers.” Booster Studios has already released two hyper-casual games in the app stores: Helix Madness and Tower Raise. After joining WeQ STUDIOS, the team launched Cube Flip in early May and have another game Clear Out, due for launch in June. WeQ STUDIOS has ambitious plans. Since APAC continues to be a top tier market for WeQ’s mobile advertising activities, they also have their sights set on expanding into this region in the coming year.
ALAX Gaming Platform Completes Token Migration to DECENT’s DCore, Paves the Way for Token Swap Services
DECENT declares an official conclusion to the ALAX Token Swap initiative. The ALAX token (ALX), formerly hosted as an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, has successfully migrated to DECENT’s DCore blockchain. ALX token holders can now store their tokens on all of DECENT’s wallet services as well as ALAX’s own ALAX Pay application. ALAX is a Hong Kong and Geneva-based mobile games distribution platform which, compared to its competition, plans to provide content distribution and game purchases with higher speed and efficiencies. ALAX is set to supply app and game developers with access to millions of new consumers in emerging markets. A unique attribute of ALAX’s marketplace lies within its region-free availability, including a concentrated population of 438 million unbanked individuals in the Southeast Asia region alone. Earlier this year, ALAX successfully performed a full switch to DCore from the Ethereum blockchain. ALAX token holders were prompted to perform a simple migration process in which they moved their tokens from the bygone platform to DCore. Matej Michalko, CEO and Founder of DECENT and Co-Founder of ALAX, attributes the switch to DCore to its “advantageous speed, stability, and security, further advancing the capabilities that the ALAX platform offers to its users. ALAX is, indeed, a unique project which strives to make use of those qualities for the best user experience imaginable. We’re excited that the swap process went seamlessly and that ALAX was able to make such a smooth transition to DCore and reap its full potential.” As of today, ALAX has released its conclusive figures pertaining to the swap process. The total number of accounts which performed the swap was 487 with more than 43 million ALX tokens successfully swapped. Users were able to migrate the tokens to their newly created DECENT Wallet accounts. Unique accounts that received ALX tokens from the swap were credited 0.005 DCT (DECENT’s cryptographic asset) to cover the transfer fee, enabling users to send their tokens to the recently released ALAX Pay application – dedicated to storing ALX tokens with the ability to top up balances with cash. With ALAX being DECENT’s first successful project to be switched to DCore from a different blockchain, DECENT appeals to developers and blockchain companies for an easy switch to DCore from ERC20-based blockchains, accentuating its platform’s transaction speed (2,000+ TPS) and advanced security features. The company also offers to cover all fees associated with the switch, meaning that all amounts of DCT required for swap-related transactions will be taken care of. DECENT encourages any blockchain company interested in switching to DCore to contact the company.
Virtualitics Announces New Software Release That Unlocks Key Insights Through AI and Immersive Visualization
Virtualitics Inc, a leading software company specializing in machine learning, advanced data analytics and visualization, has announced a new release for its flagship product VIP – Virtualitics Immersive PlatformTM in order to support more use cases for a wide array of industries. The software uses AI to quickly identify key insights in the data, while immersive visualization provides a unique way to represent the data and explain AI findings through desktop or coupled with Virtual Reality (VR) to offer more powerful visualizations and a unique collaboration tool. According to Ciro Donalek, CTO and Co-Founder of Virtualitics: "Data scientists are in high demand and there are simply not enough of them to satisfy the need. Our software bridges this gap, allowing non-data scientists to exploit sophisticated machine learning routines in a few clicks, and at the same time greatly improving data scientist’s workflow through high-dimensional visualizations and a way to build powerful narratives to explain their models to key stakeholders." Dr. Alban Quillaud, VP Digital Innovation and Analytics of Kuehne and Nagel, said: "Virtualitics has not only helped us to save time, but has allowed us to seamlessly identify critical business insights that have generated tangible book-value for our supply chain customers." Bert R. Mandelbaum MD DHL (Hon), Co-Director of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Cedars Sinai, said: “The Virtualitics platform and team utilizing Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Machine Learning has provided our clinical scientific group immersive visualization and a true collaborative and precise analysis of our data. This approach has been transformative and has helped facilitate the development of clinical guidelines, consensus documents and new study design.” Today, Virtualitics released a host of new features in support of use cases for a wide array of industries, including: Aakash Indurkhya, Head of Machine Learning Projects and Lead of API Development at Virtualitics, added: "Businesses have built out some truly amazing technology stacks that involve modern data storage systems, AI tools, and third-party APIs. The Virtualitics API was built to empower data scientists to get the most from their technology stack without leaving their favorite digital workspace, for example Python notebooks. Integrating VIP into data scientists’ workflows will aid them in data engineering, sharing insights, and building machine learning models while allowing them to create immersive visualizations with one-line commands.” The software can be seamlessly integrated in client infrastructures with easy-to-use embedded ML routines to help users quickly find key insights and unlock the power of high-dimensional visualizations in real-time collaboration through the Shared Virtual Office™ (SVO), where users can share their analysis and build immersive dashboards. Michael Amori, CEO and Co-founder of Virtualitics, commented: "Virtualitics is growing quickly in the enterprise software market. We are redefining the way data analytics is being performed thanks to our technology blending AI and Immersive Visualization. Our Fortune 500 clients and the government are now able to extract and share key findings in their data in seconds, when it previously took many hours or was impossible to find such insights." Virtualitics has been operational since August 2016, raising $11.4M through Series A and Series B rounds, led by Centricus and The Venture Reality Fund. For more information about Virtualitics, please visit www.virtualitics.com
NCSOFT Continues to Invest in the Future Driven by its Core Value in Game R&D
- Company’s investment in R&D upholds at approx. 20% of annual sales, and its R&D force accounts for 70% of its total employees.- Various R&D facilities built in-house include a motion capture studio, 3D scan studio, and a large-scale sound studio.- Throughout its 21 years of thriving business in online games, NCSOFT has demonstrated the power embedded in its major franchises – Lineage, AION, Blade & Soul – and now extends its value across different platforms.- NCSOFT strives towards technology-driven innovation as well as securing leading-edge artificial intelligence technology. ▲ 'NCSOFT Pangyo R&D Center’ in Pangyo, Korea NCSOFT Corporation (CEO Taek-Jin Kim), a leading global game company headquartered in Korea, led to the popularization of internet based online games in the country by successively making hit PC online games ranging from Lineage (1998), Lineage 2 (2003), AION (2008) to Blade & Soul (2012) as well as Guild Wars franchises. Founded in 1997, the core driver behind NCSOFT’s accelerated growth over the past 21 years essentially resides within continued research and development (R&D) as part of the company’s DNA. The company’s philosophy taking R&D with the utmost importance and an ongoing investment made it now a technology-driven game developer.The composition of employees and investment scale simply demonstrate how R&D is positioned as part of the company. According to its recent financial report for the third-quarter of 2018, 2,323 employees, which account for 68% of the total 3,397 employees of the company, are dedicated to the responsibilities in R&D.NCSOFT has been extensive with R&D investment since its establishment. The average R&D investment for the last five years (2013 – 2017) has been persistent, accounting for about 24% of sales. According to the analysis of the trends of 1,000 companies with global R&D investment for a 10-year period (from 2006 to 2016) – a study conducted by Korea Industrial Technology Association – NCSOFT was one of 25 Korean companies listed among 1,000 global entities. In particular, NCSOFT was the only Korean company from the software sector, where global R&D investment has increased the most in the past decade. (*NOTE: The result of analyzing top 1,000 of the EU Industrial R&D Scoreboard)○ ‘Game development is as artistic and sophisticated as making films’: Bringing realistic characters and sound into gamesNCSOFT, as a technology-pioneer at the forefront in the game industry, continues to invest in securing the excellence in infrastructure technologies for game development. It has built a motion capture studio and 3D scan studio for the first time in the country as a game developer, with the purpose to create the most realistic moves for in-game characters. It is also the first game company in Korea that built a sound studio in-house; and has the largest sound studio facilities compared to other local game studios. Its sound studio has a 5.1 channel video sound mixing room and a Foley studio (sound effect recording room), where various sound effects of games are recorded. ▲ 3D Scan Studio ▲ The scene of shooting motion capture ○ Relentlessly securing fundamental technology, leading to future innovation with AI researchIn addition to the accumulated technology and expertise, NCSOFT moved quickly to secure next-generation technologies. It considers artificial intelligence (AI) a technical tool for problem solving, and concentrates on securing various AI fundamental technologies. NCSOFT strategically focuses on creating future competitive strengths in the overall IT fields through securing AI fundamental technology.NCSOFT's AI research and development started when Dr. Song-Yee Yoon, CSO of NCSOFT and CEO of NC West, initiated the task force back in 2011. As early as 2011, NCSOFT envisioned AI as a core technology and initiated R&D in the field. Today, NCSOFT’s AI R&D takes place at its AI Center and Natural Language Processing (NLP) Center under which five labs are dedicated with various different fields. AI Center includes a) Game AI Lab, b) Speech Lab, and c) Vision AI Lab; and NLP Center includes a) Language AI Lab, b) Knowledge AI Lab. Currently, more than 100 R&D forces are working directly with Taek-Jin Kim, CEO of NCSOFT.Recently, NCSOFT has attracted attention from the eyes of the public by presenting an AI with skills on a par with professional gamers. In September, NCSOFT has unveiled its AI with professional gamer skills at the finals of its own e-Sports league, ‘Blade & Soul Tournament 2018 World Championship’, where Blade & Soul’s PvP competitions are held to determine the strongest champion in the world.The company’s AI R&D – namely Game AI, Speech AI, Vision AI, Language AI, and Knowledge AI –are essentially applicable beyond just games. Rather than having an AI technology that simply tries to solve short-range problems, NCSOFT is concentrating more on in-depth R&D that can solve fundamental problems and can be used in various ways. NCSOFT's AI research is not restricted just to games, but will be opened and applied to any area where it can develop outstanding technologies and innovate. NCSOFT plans to expand and strengthen its investment in AI as well as in fostering AI research specialists and professionals. To this end, it is proactively engaged in recruiting talented professionals in the field. NCSOFT plans to expand development and investment to create new value by applying AI to various fields such as online and mobile. ▲ At ‘Blade & Soul Tournament 2018 World Championship’, PvP matches took place between AI and professional gamers, which recently caught attention of the game industry. ○ Leading the innovation of MMORPG, proving the power of IPs – Lineage, AION, Blade & SoulNCSOFT is the home for globally acclaimed franchises including Lineage, Lineage 2, AION and Blade & Soul. With solid story composition, content, and innovative game play, it is playing an active role as winning intellectual properties (IPs) across the platforms and regions.Since the company was founded in 1997, NCSOFT has been investing to build solid original IPs and for its expansion. With approximately five years on average to develop an NCSOFT title, it concentrates its development efforts on every corner – from world view, story, character, graphics, and sound to bring the best possible game play experience. Having secured various IPs, NCSOFT is continuing to expand and add value to its IPs by connecting the world view and story of each game and continuing development with new device platforms such as mobile and console.‘Lineage’, which led to the popularization of Korean online games in 1998, has been in service for 20 years as of this year. Following on with Lineage, the company’s representative IPs include: a) ‘Lineage 2’, a sequel set in Lineage’s world view of 150 years ago and presented high-quality 3D-graphics, b) ‘AION’ with abundant fantasy adventure and flight features ranked first in Korea’s PC-bang (internet cafes) ranking for 160 consecutive weeks, and c) ‘Blade & Soul’, which depicts Eastern world view and colorful martial arts and is being serviced in nine countries throughout the world. Each game is further enhancing its value in the mobile market.NCSOFT released two mobile games based on its own IP of Lineage. The company launched ‘Lineage Red Knights’ in December 2016 and ‘Lineage M’ in June 2017, respectively. ‘Lineage Red Knights’ is a reinterpretation of the original Lineage characters and world view in a creative way. ‘Lineage M’ fully realizes the core elements of the original Lineage on mobile, and has implemented a control method and game system optimized for the mobile platform. Since launching in June 2017, it has maintained the top #1 position of gross sales in Google Play. It has topped the list of the local mobile games with 5.5 million pre-registration accounts and KRW 13 billion as the highest daily sales. ‘Lineage M’ in Taiwan is also in its top ranking in gross sales in Google Play since its launch in December last year.NCSOFT's IP expansion is being actively pursued with not only in-house development but also in collaboration with local and overseas partners. In particular, through cooperation with well-known developers, ‘Lineage 2’ was reborn as new games; ‘Lineage 2 Revolution’ by Netmarble in Korea, and ‘Lineage 2: Blood Oath’ by Snail Games in China. In July this year, 37Games in China also launched the web game called ‘Honor of Blood Oath(血盟榮耀)’ in China. 37Games presented at China's biggest game show 'China Joy 2018' held in early August and received a high response from the players. ▲ Taek-Jin Kim, CEO of NCSOFT ○ Implementing Two-Track Strategy for Mobile: ‘M’ line-up as expansion of original IP to mobile setting, ‘2’ line-up as a sequel title of its original franchisesNCSOFT is leading the way in R&D and investment for IP expansion. It is developing mobile MMORPG project currently under development, ▶'M' line-up, which developed the original IP into mobile, and ▶'2' line-up, which is a new numbering title and sequel with mobile.■ <Lineage 2M> realizes the largest mobile seamless open world Lineage 2M is a mobile MMORPG under development with full 3D-graphics. NCSOFT implemented the largest seamless open world, and its size reaches as large as 102,500,000㎡, which is the largest land map among mobile MMORPGs in the country. This is only respective to the continent of Aden. Upon launch, NCSOFT plans to expand the world with a new continent, doubling the size of the entire seamless open world. The game features extreme freedom and large-scale RvR (Realm vs Realm) battle. NCSOFT also plans to present a realistic world, where all players become part of the world, without any interruption in between. Lineage 2M is under development for release in the first half of 2019.■ <AION 2> finally reveals the future that AION promised for AION 2 is the sequel to AION. It is the new numbering title of AION’s IP as mobile MMORPG. It is set in the world 900 years prior to the war between Elyos and Asmodians broke in AION. AION 2 features three-dimensional battles such as cracks of the world’s time and space, which connects to another server, and free gliding.■ <Blade & Soul 2>, an official sequel with the connected and completed Blade & Soul’s world Blade & Soul 2 is an official sequel set in the era after the original Blade & Soul. The heroes of the past become the legends, and the following new adventure becomes the next story. Areas that have not been seen in the original Blade & Soul are newly opened. Blade & Soul 2 continues unique sensibility, stylish action, and solid story line from the original Blade & Soul.■ <Blade & Soul M>, the newly re-written story and battles of the original Blade & Soul Blade & Soul M presents evolved stories, combat, and graphics based on the emotions and fun elements of the original Blade & Soul. It features that users can get their own storylines in accordance with their choice along their play within the same world. In Blade & Soul M, the flying skills are implemented as a means of combat with a sense of action beyond the means of movement. Team Bloodlust, the team that produced the original Blade & Soul, is taking on the development of Blade & Soul M.■ <Blade & Soul S>, the boldest and most challenging change of Blade & Soul Blade & Soul S is a prequel that tells the story three years prior to the original Blade & Soul. It is a mobile MMORPG that all players communicate and compete together in an open world. Users can feel the fun of the story expanded and deepened the world of Blade & Soul with characters’ hidden stories untold in the original version.