|Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds Date: Friday 9 October Kick-off: 18:00 BST|
|Coverage: Live on the BBC Sport NI website|
Northern Ireland Under-21s will aim for only their second win of the current European Championship qualifying campaign when they host Finland at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday night.
Friday’s match will be live on the BBC Sport Northern Ireland website.
Last month’s 2-0 away victory in Malta was Northern Ireland’s sole win in seven Group Eight qualifiers to date.
That was followed by a 1-0 home defeat by leaders Denmark – which was third loss of the campaign for the Irish.
Northern Ireland’s tally of six points leaves only Malta below them in the campaign as they sit 13 behind the Danes.
Caretaker manager Andy Crosby includes Linfield’s Shayne Lavery, Barrow full-back Bobby Burns, now on loan at Glentoran, and Livingston defender Ciaron Brown, who have all been part of Northern Ireland senior squads.
Watford midfielder JJ McKiernan, QPR midfielder Amrit Bansal-McNulty – who is on loan with Serie C side Como – and Brighton forward Ben Wilson have earned first call-ups.
Portadown striker Lee Bonis and Cliftonville and Linfield defenders Aaron Donnelly and Ross Larkin are retained in their squad after having their first involvement with the under-21s last month.
Northern Ireland will face second-placed Ukraine in Ballymena on Tuesday in another game that will be live on the BBC Sport Northern Ireland website.
Northern Ireland Under-21 squad
Goalkeepers: Conor Hazard (Celtic), Nathan Gartside (Derry City)
Defenders: Eoin Toal (Derry City), Caolan Marron (Glentoran), Ciaron Brown (Livingston), Kofi Balmer (Ballymena United), Jack Scott (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Daniel Amos (Doncaster Rovers), Ross Larkin (Linfield), Aaron Donnelly (Cliftonville), Nathan Kerr (Portadown)
A free game launched today allows players to role-play the deployment of a virtual vaccine to help to halt the global spread of a viral pandemic. The Vaccination Game, created by researchers at the University of Oxford’s MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, in collaboration with Goldsmiths, University of London, challenges players to figure out how they can deploy limited doses of the vaccine to best control a disease modelled on influenza.
The idea of developing a game was conceived by Professor Hal Drakesmith and colleagues who are part of a research network focussing on immunising babies and mothers to fight infections in low and middle-income countries. Following funding from, and in collaboration with the IMPRINT research network, they were able to begin development of the game.
“We originally had the idea of the game and began developing it back in 2019, with influenza as our example disease,” said Professor Drakesmith, who is based at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. “Then COVID-19 struck, and the ideas behind the game are obviously much more relevant.”
“Our game isn’t intended as a modelling or simulation tool, or meant to predict real-world scenarios”, Professor Drakesmith said. “Instead, we hope it’s educational, as it illustrates how vaccines can work on a global scale, and shows that precisely how a vaccine is deployed across populations can be crucial to its effectiveness”
Professor Drakesmith and his group collaborated with the Analysis, Visualisation and Informatics group, also based in the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, to develop the game. They also worked with Goldsmiths, University of London, to produce the final version based on mathematical models of how a virus spreads, and what effect a vaccine might have.
The virtual vaccine in the game is available in limited doses per
When Google introduced the capability to play Stadia games over a 4G or 5G connection, it was as a feature the tech giant was still in the midst of testing. Now, it looks like Google is done putting the feature through its paces, because the option to toggle it on has been moved from the Experiments section to the Performance tab. Reports posted on Reddit and Twitter (via 9to5Google) show the toggle in its new place in the Performance tab under Resolution.
The option comes with a note telling players that their resolution will be limited to 720p on mobile data, most likely as a way to help users keep their data use in check. Google also warns users that enabling the feature to play games on Stadia could increase their data usage by up to 2.7GB/hour. In addition, Stadia will now make sure users know they’ve enabled gaming over mobile data by showing them a mobile network icon on the home screen.
In my previous APK teardown, I found the mobile network icon. It’s now enabled under the play button when playing via mobile network pic.twitter.com/z2SmelokH1
— Gem Stadia (@GemStadia) October 6, 2020
Google rolled out Stadia’s experimental mobile data gaming feature in July, a few months after the service launched in November 2019. Prior to its debut, the only way to play over data was to use tethering to trick the app into recognizing it as WiFi. As 9to5Google notes, though, using mobile data means having to switch the Stadia Controller with something else for those who want to play wirelessly, since the device needs a WiFi connection to work.
The game industry has seen an estimated $20.5 billion in acquisitions, investments, and IPOs in the first nine months of the year, according to game investment tracking firm InvestGame.
The amount of money shows a huge amount of activity in games at a time when gameplay is spiking because of the pandemic. The data comes InvestGame, which investment specialist Sergei Evdokimov and Anton Gorodetsky run. (They both work at My.Games, but the company doesn’t produce the report.) While the firm hasn’t tracked past years, it’s a stunning amount of investor activity in gaming while other sectors of the economy are falling apart.
InvestGame tracks deals among game developers, publishers, platform and tech companies, esports, hardware, retail, outsourcing, and other related areas. But it doesn’t including gambling companies in its definition of games. The data also only covers estimates of publicly announced and closed deals in the game industry. Deals where the amounts aren’t disclosed are either estimated or not included. The numbers are estimates of the total value of tracked deals. And these numbers don’t include the biggest deal: Microsoft’s purchase of ZeniMax for $7.5 billion, which has not closed, said Evdokimov in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We track all the pieces of information in the market,” he said. “You see the numbers show it’s very huge and growing, and it’s very active. Our mission is to provide the data for investors.”
You can’t solo security
COVID-19 game security report: Learn the latest attack trends in gaming. Access here
The first three quarters of the year saw 211 gaming deals, 112 platform and tech deals, 89 esports deals, and 25 deals in other categories. Those deals generated $15.35 billion in value for gaming companies (the game developers and publishers), $3.97 billion in platform and technology companies, $685 million for esports
Pikmin 3 Deluxe launches on Nintendo Switch later this month, but players will have a chance to sample it before then. During today’s Treehouse Live stream, Nintendo announced that a free Pikmin 3 Deluxe demo is coming to the eShop tonight. The demo is now live, and you’ll unlock some things in the full game for playing it.
If you can defeat the final boss at the end of the demo, you’ll unlock the Ultra-Spicy difficulty in the full version of Pikmin 3 Deluxe right from the outset. Ultra-Spicy is a brand-new difficulty option for Pikmin veterans that caps your Pikmin field limit at 60, making the experience more challenging.
A demo for #Pikmin 3 Deluxe will be available this evening on Nintendo #eShop! The demo version features save-data transfer with the full game! Completing it also gives immediate access to the Ultra-Spicy difficulty mode in the full game, and other perks! pic.twitter.com/rFs5iKSNmC
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) October 7, 2020
Additionally, Nintendo has confirmed that the Pikmin 3 Deluxe demo allows you to carry over your save data to the full game, so you’ll be able to pick up where you left off when it launches.
We learned a few other new details about Pikmin 3 Deluxe during the Treehouse Live stream. Nintendo confirmed that motion controls and pointer functionality will return as optional control methods. The company also showed off some new features being introduced in this Switch version, including the Piklopedia–which catalogues all the enemies you’ve defeated–and the new side story missions starring Olimar and Louie.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe launches on October 30. You can learn more about the game in our Pikmin 3 Deluxe preorder guide.
That wasn’t all that we saw during the Treehouse Live stream. As advertised, the company also showcased more of