Toronto indie developer DrinkBox Studios  has announced that its first original console title will be coming to the PlayStation®3 system via the PlayStation®Network toward the end of the year.
Tales from Space: About a Blob  is a game about an innocent little creature that grows and grows until it eats the whole world. In development since January of 2009, the game features a monster movie setting and theme, a retro-inspired art style and puzzle-focused platforming gameplay.
“Players will interact with the game environment using unique growth and absorption control mechanics, experiencing the world at vastly different scales as they progress. Both single-player and co-op play will be supported.” said Ryan MacLean, CEO of DrinkBox Studios. He continued: “We’re extremely excited to be releasing the game on the PlayStation®3 system.”
49 Pixels  has announced plans for an open forum  which will allow for the gathering of people and facilitate an open conversation in regards to Canada’s digital economy. Please see the the Pixel to Product blog  for complete conversation details. The first online conversation is scheduled for Friday June 18th at 4pm ET.
Grammy Award winning recording artist, producer and musician Pharrell Williams brings his unique blend of pop, hip hop and soul to headline the soundtrack for United Front Games ‘ True Crime: Hong Kong , the company’s forthcoming open-world/action game. Also on the soundtrack is up and coming R&B, pop and jazz singer Rhea who frequently collaborates with Williams and has performed with N.E.R.D. With orders to “do whatever it takes to become one of them,” players assume the role of undercover detective Wei Shen as he engages in visceral, fast paced martial arts combat, explosive gunfights, high-octane action driving and acrobatic free-running chase sequences in order to infiltrate and bring down one of Hong Kong’s most notorious Triad organizations. In order to survive, Wei must think like them, fight like them, and even kill like them.
The Mass Effect™ 2 phenomenon rages on! BioWare ™has launched a demo for Mass Effect 2 on Xbox Live® and PC. Designed to help introduce the rich Mass Effect  fiction to all-new players, the demo features the first two missions of the game as well as one bonus mission, totaling over 90 minutes of the action-packed game play and rich storytelling that have made Mass Effect 2 one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. BioWare is releasing the demo with a “Story-so-far” video, narrated by actor Martin Sheen, that provides a recap of past events a nd plot twists in the Mass Effect universe.
In the demo, players step into the role of Commander Shepard and must escape from a Cerberus space station under siege. Players can jump ahead to a later mission where they must rescue Subject Zero, a hardened, dangerous criminal from a heavily guarded prison ship. Once they play the demo, players will be able to create a save and carry over their character along with the experience points, story decisions, achievements and weapons earned into the full version of the game – picking up right where they left off, on both PC and Xbox 360.
BioWare also announced today that the new DLC chapter “Overlord”, which will add five new areas and two new achievements will be available on June 15th for 560 Microsoft points and on PC for 560 BioWare points. Also on June 15, BioWare is releasing a new premium theme based on Omega and new avatar items for Xbox Live will follow on June 17.
“Mass Effect 2 is one of our greatest achievements to date at BioWare,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and Group General Manager of the BioWare Group, and Senior Vice President of Electronic Arts. “The Mass Effect team continues to deliver on our promise to add exciting new content to the universe for our loyal fans, and we’re also excited to be able to give all gamers a chance to experience this amazing game through a free demo!”
Down at E3, Target and Ubisoft  have teamed up for an exclusive preview of four upcoming family fun games. Target’s Bullseye Lounge will feature two upcoming video game adaptations of the hit television game shows, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?™ and Hollywood Squares™. Playable on Wii™, these demos will offer Expo attendees a chance to engage in competitive gameplay. The new Who Wants To Be A Millionaire video game is created by Ludia  and is based on the Disney-ABC Domestic Television hit game show, which will premiere its ninth season in syndication this fall. The Millionaire video game, on display in the Bullseye Lounge at E3, will put the brains of expo attendees to work as they compete against one another to answer increasingly difficult trivia questions. Visitors to the Bullseye Lounge will be able to experience the drama and intensity of the pop culture game show sensation first-hand, as they test their trivia knowledge and give their “final answers.”
Hollywood Squares, also created by Ludia and licensed by CBS Consumer Products, brings the laughter and entertainment of the classic comedy game show to the Wii. Participants can go head-to-head in a unique rendition of the show that combines tic-tac-toe, virtual celebrities (including Brad Garrett, Kathy Griffin, Martin Mull, Jeffrey Tambor and host Tom Bergeron) and ultimate bluffing to provide hours of humor for all ages. 
Speaking of E3 – where I obviously am not, because if I was, I’d be getting the newly announced Xbox 360 (insert sigh here) – Big Park’s  Charmie Kim gave a great demonstration of the upcoming Vancouver-made title Joy Ride during this morning’s Xbox press conference – and while I’m still not totally convinced that Kinect is something that will be a hit in the Village Gamer house, Charmie certainly looked like she was having fun.
Also unveiled during this morning’s Microsoft XBox presentation was EA Sports Active™ 2  for Kinect™, which has an MRSP of $99.95. Currently in development at EA Sports in Burnaby, it will be available in North America on November 16th along with the previously announced PlayStation®3, Wii™, iPhone® and iPod touch® platforms. The EA Sports Active 2 console-based fitness programs will deliver true fitness results with an innovative heart rate monitor, wireless tracking, as well as a new online hub to track and share workout data. EA Sports Active 2 will deliver a fitness experience that achieves authentic, measurable results, wherever you are.
“Delivering EA Sports Active 2 on Kinect for Xbox 360 is a natural fit for fitness and the ability to track full body movement will create a fluid workout experience that delivers real results,” says Andrew Wilson, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Development, EA SPORTS. “It is the perfect complement to our EA Sports Active suite of fitness products and is indicative of our commitment to deliver new experiences for new audiences. We’re excited to expand on the top rated fitness franchise on the market.” 
Kinect for Xbox 360 tracks full body movement with true 1:1 motion that will register exercises never before possible and create seamless workout experiences, without ever having to use a controller. Users will have complete freedom of motion for a deeper, more effective workout, similar to the experience of the EA Sports Active 2 Total Body Tracking system on the PlayStation 3 and Wii that uses wireless motion sensors in leg and arm straps. Unique to Kinect for Xbox 360, users will have the ability to navigate workouts with voice and gesture recognition, which allows for a seamless, fluid workout experience. Included in the packaging is the innovative EA Sports Active heart rate monitor that provides constant on-screen monitoring, allowing users to capture intensity and optimize performance over time. Additionally, along with the PlayStation 3, users will also have the ability to download new workouts and exercises to their Xbox 360 console through Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network to keep their workouts fresh and maintain motivation*.
EA Sports Active 2 products will offer the same, high-quality exercise experience which users found with EA Sports Active, and will experience over 70 new exercises and fitness activities including exercises not possible before the Total Body Tracking wireless control system. EA Sports Active 2 provides total body conditioning using progressive exercise in new programs. A 9-week program provides a fitness roadmap to help keep users motivated and on track of their fitness goals. Additional mini-programs will also be available to add on, keeping workouts fresh and inspiring. The EA Sports Active built-in personal trainer will walk users through their workout and provide continued encouragement with feedback to ensure an optimal workout experience.
Also from E3, here is the newly unveiled trailer for Klei Entertainment’s  Shank:
I will be posting more news about E3 Announcements over the next little bit, as I sort out the Canadian press releases that are coming in with all of the other releases.
In the meantime, Ayogo Games  has released a new Facebook title – check out Healthseeker , which was developed for the Diabetes Hands Foundation, and several Canadian games have made it through round one of the voting for the Golden Joystick Awards . The following titles have made the short list:
Strategy: Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising
Action: Assassin’s Creed 2 and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction
Downloadable: Assassin’s Creed 2: Bonfire of the Vanities
Fighting: Fight Night Round 4 and Punch Out!!
One To Watch: Mafia 2 (contains Canadian-made components)
Online: Need For Speed World
Portable: Assassin’s Creed 2: Bloodlines and Assassin’s Creed 2: Discovery
Racing: ModNation Racers, Need For Speed: Shift and Need for Speed: Nitro
RPG: Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Origins, Awakening and Mass Effect 2
Shooter: Bioshock 2 (contains Canadian-made components)
Sports: FIFA 10, Skate 3 and FIFA 10 World Cup South Africa
Soundtrack: Mass Effect 2 and Assassin’s Creed 2
I am actually shocked that Dragon Age: Origins, with its incredible soundtrack, did not make it through to the second round of voting; then again, I’m also surprised that out of the huge number of Canadian games originally nominated, there aren’t more that made it through to this round.
Gamers and soccer fans from around the World joined forces to set a Guinness World Record for the most players to compete in a football video game. 82 players took turns on the controller as England and the USA drew 2-2 in a game of EA SPORTS 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa  in front of hundreds of soccer fans who had gathered in Trafalgar Square to watch the opening ceremony and first match between the host nation and Mexico. With the World Cup trophy under wraps until Sunday July 11th, it was left to Guinness adjudicator, Gaz Deaves, to present both teams with the World Record Certificate. 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is out now on PS3, PSP, X360 & Wii.
Astral’s Family Channel  and Playhouse Disney Canada  today announced the commissioning of new episodes for two Canadian Original Productions. Family Channel has ordered a second season of live-action comedy, Wingin’ It, from Temple Street Productions  while Playhouse Disney Canada has commissioned, from Radical Sheep Productions , new episodes of the animated series Stella and Sam, for both the English language network and the newly-launched Playhouse Disney Télé. Slated for broadcast in 2011 both series will begin production on new episodes in Toronto later this summer.
“For Family and Playhouse Disney we are dedicated to finding shows that resonate with our key audiences and engage with them in ways that are consistent with our brand. For Family that means using humour and interesting characters to offer kids the ‘never a dull moment’ experience; for Playhouse Disney that means leveraging characters and concepts that infuse our  programs with learning while being fun and highly entertaining,” said Michael Goldsmith, Director, Original Programming. “Wingin’ It has already struck a real chord with Family viewers and is performing extremely well, while Stella and Sam, with its stunning visual style and beloved source material, is sure to be a perfect fit for our Playhouse Disney viewers across Canada.”
Hard-hit by the economic downturn, Canada’s computer and electronic product manufacturing industry is on a slow path back to its pre-recession performance, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s  Spring 2010 outlook on the industry.
“Last year, the industry experienced its first decline in profit levels since the tech bust at the beginning of the 21st century,” said Maxim Armstrong, Economist. “Profits are expected to dip again this year, before a more sustained recovery takes hold beginning in 2011.”
Tumbling demand in foreign markets – particularly the United States – reduced industry exports by 16 per cent in 2009. Combined with a dropoff in domestic sales, industry revenues fell by more than 10 per cent last year. Manufacturers cut costs in response – notably by eliminating 20,000 jobs in the 12 months between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the third quarter of 2009. Profits fell to $1.7 billion in 2009, a 17 per cent drop from 2008 levels.
In 2010, production is expected to rebound modestly as demand improves and excess inventory is moved. However, costs are forecast to grow faster than revenues, leading to a further reduction in profits, to $1.4 billion. In 2011, healthier corporate profitability and consumer confidence are expected to lead to a strong rebound in production and a return to profit growth.