3rd September 2010

Company of Heroes Online Beta Has Launched

Relic EntertainmentDeveloped by THQ’s Relic Entertainment studio, creators of the award-winning Company of Heroes® and Dawn of War® franchises, Company of Heroes Online is an online multiplayer Real-Time-Strategy game that is free to download and play. Building on the frenetic Real-Time-Strategy action of the original Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes Online offers army specialization, commander customization, and persistent progression. Players will enter each match with a unique selection of upgrades and hero units with new items and experience earned with every match played.Company Of Heroes Online

The Company of Heroes Online Open Beta features two different armies, the Allies and Axis, each with three different divisions offering players a choice of play style. The Open Beta features 17 different multiplayer maps, which will be split between 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 modes. Players of the Company of Heroes Online Open Beta will also be able to enjoy the single player campaign from Company of Heroes for free. Players can download and play the Open Beta now by going to the game’s official site.

Michael Lustenberger, Vice President of Global Brand Management – Online, commented, “There really is no barrier to entry with Company of Heroes Online. Players will be able to experience both the single player campaign and online multiplayer for free and even receive free in-game items if they register before September 8. Sign-up today and experience the critically acclaimed Company of Heroes for yourself.”

Users who register for the Company of Heroes Online Open Beta before September 8 will also receive an exclusive in-game item pack for free. This pack will include 3,000 free supply points to use in the shop, 500xp to level up the commander, one free hero unit and one free army item giving early adopters a head start on the competition.

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27th August 2010

Canadian Social Media Marketers Pressed To Stay Current

apezoneNow you can compete against your Facebook and Twitter friends in the latest release of ApeZone’s SoliScare card game for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The new version adds 11 leaderboards and 18 achievements to this already addictive little card game.

SoliScare lets you embark on a fantastic journey through graveyards, haunted houses, and spooky castles. Put the beat down on ghosts, zombies, and classic movie monsters in 100 levels of play.

Game play follows one simple rule: move monster cards to your hero pile by choosing cards that are one higher or lower than your current hero card. As you make longer card runs, you’ll capture these creatures and add them to your jailhouse. Capture all 37 ghosts, zombies, and monsters to become the new Van Helsing.

LudiaLudia Inc., and Sony Pictures Consumer Products announced today that Ludia will create video games based on the hugely popular Pyramid series of television game shows. The licensing deal will result in games across major console platforms, PC/Mac, iPhone/iPod touch and iPad, the first of which games is slated for release in Q1 2011.

“Pyramid is a classic TV game show favorite, and we are thrilled to create games around the property so that fans of the show and broader audiences alike are able to feel the thrill of reaching ‘Winner’s Circle’ from home,” said Alex Thabet, Founder and CEO of Ludia Inc. “This deal serves to further expand Ludia’s prominence across platforms in the game show video game category, which has been a successful growth strategy for us.”

Pyramid will feature all the favorite elements from the show as the game pits pair against pair in a bid to reach the coveted ‘Winner’s Circle’. Players pick from six categories on the pyramid-shaped game board, and guess a series of words or phrases as described by their team mate. The duo that scores more points than their opposing team wins the match, and gets a shot at the grand prize. Additionally, the Pyramid video games will incorporate thousands of questions, connected gaming elements, single and multiplayer game modes, as well as reward systems to fuel the competitive fun between players.

“Pyramid has been a long-standing and successful game show franchise, and we are delighted to work with Ludia to create new opportunities that will bring an engaging entertainment experience to fans of the show,” added Mark Caplan, Vice President Licensing, Sony Pictures Consumer Products.

Three of EA Sports’ titles are vying for the top spot in the Golden Joystick Awards. FIFA 10, Skate 3 and 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa are all in the final run to the top. Ubisoft Canada is also competing against itself in the Action Title category, with both Assassin’s Creed 2 and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction in the running.

Assassin’s Creed 2: Bonfire of the Vanities and FIFA 10 are finalists for Downloadable Game of the Year while Next Level’s Punch Out!! and EA Sports’ Fight Night Round 4 have entered the ring for Fighting Game of the Year. EA Blackbox is trying to be first over the finish line in the Online Game of the Year with Need For Speed World while franchise twins Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines and Assassin’s Creed Discovery are both in the running for Portable Game of the Year. We have a cross-country showdown going between EA Montreal’s NFS Shift and United Front’s Modnation Dragon AgeRacers in the Racing Game of the Year category.

Bioware fans will have a real problem voting in the Role Playing Game of The Year category as Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age Origins Awakening have all made it to the final list. In the soundtrack category, we have Mass Effect 2 competing against Assassin’s Creed 2, and in the RTS category we have household favourite Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising from Relic. The voting for Ultimate Game of the Year is going to be hot and heavy with Assassin’s Creed 2, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins all hoping to take the podium. Read the rest of this entry »

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19th August 2010

Canada Is Eventful

Microsoft CanadaA quick reminder that Microsoft Tech Days will be touring across the country beginning next month. You may still have time to get in on the Early Bird pricing if you act fast. Early Bird prices close six weeks prior to tour arrival dates.

Vancouver: September 14-15
Edmonton: October 05-06
Toronto: October 27-28
Halifax: November 02-03
Ottawa: November 09-10
Montreal: November 23-24
Winnipeg: December 07-08
Calgary: December 14-15

whedon festIf you are a Joss Whedon fan, then you will want to be spending some time at Whedon Fest, a 3 day unofficial convention to celebrate all that is Whedon. The convention will feature guests and events from Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse. Organizers and fans will be celebrating the Joss ‘verse from Friday October, 1st to Sunday October, 3rd 2010 at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Centre in Toronto, Canada. The unofficial Whedon Fest convention will comprise of guest talks, autograph and photograph sessions, charity auction, a Saturday night masquerade and dance, contests, and more.

Battlegoat StudiosBattleGoat Studios and Paradox Interactive are pleased to announce that Supreme Ruler Cold War, the next title in the Supreme Ruler series, is scheduled for release in Q2 2011. Building on Supreme Ruler 2010 and 2020, BattleGoat Studios invites you to relive the tension and uncertainty of the Cold War. As the 1950’s approach, the Korean War looms, the Arms Race intensifies, the Berlin Crisis leads to the formation of NATO, and the world anticipates a new World War.

As leader of the United States or the Soviet Union, you must make the correct Economic, Diplomatic, Domestic and Military decisions to successfully navigate your country through this dangerous historical era and increase your nation’s Sphere of Influence on the world stage.Supreme Ruler Cold War

Features

– Play as the United States or Soviet Union in Campaign Mode
– Control any Nation in Post-World War II Era in Sandbox Mode
– Use Diplomacy, Trade and Espionage to influence the policies of other nations
– Research new Technologies to give your nation an edge
– Grow and Modernize your Economy
– Control Military production and deployment, or let your Ministers take care of the details
– And when Diplomacy Fails… Sophisticated Real-Time Strategic and Tactical Control of your Military Forces!
– Enhanced Graphics and Sound including New 3D Terrain
– Experience the redesigned GUI with improved On-Map feedback and streamlined controls
– Up to 16 players in Multiplayer over local network or InternetSoliScare

apezoneApeZone has released a free version of SoliScare for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, letting you take a free peak at their whimsical card game, specifically designed for the iPhone’s touch screen. The free version lets you play though ten ghost levels, where you will use your astral weapons of everyday objects to beat down ghosts. Drawing a club, gives you a golf club, a spade gives you a shovel, and so on. As you make longer runs of cards, you’ll capture ghosts and place them in your jailhouse. Try to capture all 13 ghosts. Collect coins as you clear cards and buy game perks to help you out.

kerberos productionsParadox Interactive and Vancouver’s Kerberos Productions have released new screenshots and gameplay scenes from Sword of the Stars II, the sequel to the hit 4X franchise, Sword of the Stars. Sword of the Stars 2Scheduled for release in Q2 2011, Sword of the Stars II will feature the six races from SotS and its expansions, as well as revealing the dark, running secret of the original series, the Suul’ka – an ancient race that is responsible for tampering with other races in the Sword of the Stars universe.

“We’re really excited to have the Sword of the Stars II as a part of our lineup at Gamescom” Says Executive Producer Mattias Lilja at Paradox Interactive. “PC gamers have a lot of love for the genre and we’re no exception. The game looks and plays great already and we’re really looking forwarding to showing off the game.”

nGen, Niagara’s Interactive Media Generator is pleased to announce the opening of its $3 million, state of the art facility designed for digital interactive media advancement. Funded by the Community Adjustment Fund, a government fund established as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan to address the short-term economic needs of Canadian communities impacted by the global recession. The new facility houses cutting edge digital interactive media technologies and will undoubtedly increase Niagara’s already growing reputation as a hub for digital interactive media. The expanded facility has been branded the Generator at one. Located at one St. Paul Street in downtown St. Catharines the facility has the capacity to enable entire media projects to be created at one location. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th August 2010

The Games Are Afoot

Toronto and Vancouver Halo fans, get ready to track The Covenant on August 21, 2010 and then Defend Reach in two separate missions on August 28th in Vancouver or September 4th in Toronto.

Locate the Covenant Advance Invasion Forces in either city to prove you’re ready to fight alongside Noble Team, win instant prizing, and be entered to win an exclusive Halo Reach Xbox bundle pack.Fight The Covenant

Join the fight and help UNSC track down Covenant by following UNSC_INTEL on Twitter. You’ll receive up-to-the-minute updates from UNSC pertaining to the whereabouts of the Covenant. Twitter followers of UNSC_INTEL will also be entered for the chance to win a Legendary Edition copy of Halo Reach.

In Defend Reach, Covenant have located and attacked UNSC control points. UNSC has planned a strategic assault and needs recruits. Do you have what it takes? Come down to the control point in your city for an event you’ll never forget. Battle Covenant troupes live using state-of-the-art weapons technology and be one of the first Canadians to get a sneak peak of Halo Reach. The event is free to anyone prepared to kick some serious Covenant butt. And for any die-hards out there who have pre-ordered the game, bring proof of purchase for an exclusive VIP experience at the event.

IUGOWith Microsoft’s announcement of Xbox Live for Windows Phone 7, IUGO is proud to be a launch partner with the upcoming platform. IUGO’s hit physics puzzler Implode XL and rabidly fun 3D tower defense game Zombie Attack! Second Wave are part of the prestigious line up of WP7’s launch titles.

“Early on Microsoft approached us to be a part of the WP7 launch,” explains Sarah Thomson, IUGO’s VP of Business Development. “ From what we had read and seen of the platform along with MS’s aggressive support for developers to bring over their content, we were excited to be a part of it. We believe WP7 is going to be a serious competitor in the smartphone space. The OS has been amazing to work with and implementing Xbox Live features is a brilliant move.”

IUGO now has games on iPhone, BlackBerry and WP7. Android is the next platform users will see IUGO content on. IUGO aims to build content on these specific smartphone platforms. Plans to explore social gaming and cross-platform gaming are also underway for the powerhouse indie studio.

Relic EntertainmentTHQ Inc. and Relic Entertainment have announced that there will be a second stand-alone expansion for the genre redefining real time strategy PC game, Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® II released in the first quarter of 2011.

Jeff Lydell, Producer of Dawn of War II – Retribution commented: “We all love the Blood Ravens here at Relic Entertainment, but there are also a lot of fans of the other races and armies out there so we decided that Retribution should allow the player the freedom to experience the campaign from the perspective they select.” Read the rest of this entry »

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16th August 2010

Mixed Media Monday

Strategy FirstMontreal’s Strategy First and U.S. based Nvinium Games are expanding the Space Empires: Battle For Supremacy franchise which began on the PC in 1993. The five-title franchise has been infiltrating social media and casual game platforms, and with versions for the iPhone and iPad due to launch in 2011, social gamers will now be able to connect with Space Empire gamers anywhere and at anytime, including those on Facebook.

“The avid Space Empires audience pushed us to expand from the PC to Facebook. We have been extremely pleased by the response to the new social network version of the game both in terms of excellent reviews and the exceptional take up of the game by the Facebook community. Accordingly we are expanding to the iPhone and the iPad platforms which will allow us to make the game available to these popular and growing social game audiences”, said Strategy First’s President Emanuel Wall.Dead of Night

big stack gamesBig Stack Studios has released a new game in the iTunes App Store. In Dead of Night, you will travel back to the 19th century and direct the vampire army through their conquest of Europe. In this 40 level quest you will capture villagers with your vampiric gaze and defend your legions from those of Van Helsing and the Werewolves. This title, which is OpenFeint-enabled, blends elements of castle defense and line-drawing gameplay and is available now for $ 0.99USD.

UbisoftThe Zellers store located at 8925 Torbram Road in Brampton will be holding an in-store BattleTag event with the game’s producer, Gael Seydoux, who will be on hand to talk about the new game and answer questions. The event will run from 10:00a.m. until 3:00p.m.

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund will begin a new round of consultation sessions with the industry this fall. Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, and Stéphane Cardin, VP of Industry and Public Affairs, will meet with stakeholders across the country to gain input on key issues to be resolved prior to releasing the program guidelines for 2011-2012 in December.

If you wish to attend one of these sessions, you are asked to please register by selecting a location near you. Exact times and locations will be provided to registrants by email prior to each event. New this year, stakeholders who are unable to attend a session in person can participate through an online discussion forum. More details will be provided by CMF in the coming weeks.

Tungle.meScheduling site Tungle.me has once again expanded its services, allowing users to add their Facebook Events to their Tungle.me account. With this new integration users can now see their entire schedule in one, simple calendar view, allowing them to factor Facebook events into their availability, thereby avoiding those pesky double bookings. As users RSVP to new Facebook Events, those events will be added to their Tungle.me calendar, automatically updating available time slots.

Boys and Girls Clubs of CanadaThis past Saturday marked a momentous occasion for Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and its long-standing partner Future Shop as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Future Shop Future Leaders Scholarships program. And what better way to celebrate than to give the gift of education to 25 Boys and Girls Clubs youth across Canada. Future ShopPresented with scholarships based on their outstanding contribution to their Boys and Girls Club and local community, good academic standing and financial need, the deserving 25 recipients will use their bursary to pursue their careers and life goals through higher education. Read the rest of this entry »

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6th August 2010

Happy Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day

Today is Universal Game Designer Appreciation Day. Let those responsible for your hours (or years) of exciting, frustrating and triumphant adventures in the digital world of weird realms, interesting characters and immersive stories know how much you appreciate their labours. Buy their games, play their games, and recommend them to your friends so that you have someone’s butt to kick in multi-player mode.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has announced that Jordan Mechner, creator of the Prince of Persia franchise, will deliver the Keynote address at IN 2010. There is an impressive line-up of speakers presenting sessions at this year’s conference. IN 2010 will be divided into the following streams: Mobile, Social Media, Games, Cross Platform and Visionary. Make sure you register soon, the Early Bird tickets are only available until August 20th.Canadian Video Game Awards

Building on the success of their inaugural event held this past May, the Canadian Video Game Awards will be returning on May 18, 2011 at the Centre For The Performing Arts in Vancouver. If you are in business and considering using Twitter as a tool, then the Twitter for Business Workshop is an event you may want to attend. Lead by social media pros Monica Hamburg and Tanya Roberts, this seminar will be held at the ING Direct Café Boardroom on August 21st and is Bookcamp Vancouverdesigned to help you understand how to use Twitter to build your brand and interact with clients.

The second Vancouver BookCamp will be taking place at the SFU Downtown Campus – Harbour Centre on October 1st. This free (registration required) full day event brings together a variety of stakeholders in the publishing industry to discuss digital publishing, digital reading experiences, the book’s evolving role and how publishers can leverage themselves for success in the digital age.

frima studioFrima Studio has put Zombie Tycoon on sale on the PlayStation Store for only $2.49 until August 9, 2010. Normally $4.99, Zombie Tycoon is one of the most successful PlayStation Minis of all time and unlike any zombie game you’ve played before!Zombie Tycoon

Frima’s team thought that it was about time to turn the tables on those living dead stereotypes…again and again, you find yourself having to survive some kind of undead apocalypse. Well, no more! In Zombie Tycoon, you get to control your very own horde of ravenous zombies! This unique tale of intrigue and betrayal spans over 10 challenging levels, complete with animated cutscenes, in-game dialogs, and a bunch of humorous references. Equip your slavering, putrescent swarm of undead minions with over 100 quirky items and send them shuffling after humans like wolves on cattle, laying waste to town after town as they spread their blight across the globe.

If you haven’t seen it already, here is the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In this trailer, hear from Spider-Man creator Stan Lee as he discusses the latest iteration of his web-weaving super hero.

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Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions is scheduled for release on September 1st for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii (developed by Quebec’s Beenox Studios) and Nintendo DS (developed by Griptonite Games). There is a variety of pre-order bonuses available, depending on where and how you place your order.

“Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions delivers an original storyline that bridges four unique worlds,” said Rob Kostich, Head of Marketing, Activision Publishing, Inc. “Each action-packed universe will have its own detailed art design and thrilling missions, challenging gamers to use new skill sets to defeat United Front Gamesenemies as they unlock powerful new moves and progress through the game.”

Those waiting for the resurrection of the True Crime franchise will have to wait a little longer. Activision has pushed back the anticipated release date for United Front’s upcoming open-world action title, True Crime®: Hong Kong. Instead of being released in 2010, it will now be making an appearance in 2011, stating that they are giving the dev team more time to polish the title in order to give gamers a high-quality playing experience.

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation has released its first iPad app. Available for free, Flip Boom Lite will help you learn how toFlip Boom Lite animate and create cartoons on your iPad. Along with the included demo project are features such as:

* Intuitive user interface with collapsible drawing slider, full-screen drawing, adjustable line width
* Brush, eraser, undo, reset view, bright colour selection, scale and translate
* Previous and next drawings display, flexible frame rate and send to photo library

There are also features which are unique to the app version of Flip Boom Lite: Cool Shake to StoryBoard Pro 2undo a previous action, Magic Grab to reset your drawing to original position and Finger Pinch to scale and translate your drawing.

Also new over at Toon Boom is StoryBoard Pro 2, and along with new features is a new licensing option – Toon Boom is now offering a rental option, letting users rent the software for a full year at a cost of $299.99 USD for either Windows or Mac operating systems. Visit the StoryBoard Pro 2 page to see what’s new in this latest version.

sillysoftVancouver’s Sillysoft Games has released the first screenshots of their upcoming turn-based strategy game Castle Vox, slated for PC release in September 2010.
Castle Vox
Castle Vox features simultaneously planned turns, as players vie to out-strategize each other on a variety of war maps. Multi-player modes allow both relaxed one-move-a-day games as well as fast speed wars. Board game fans will particularly look forward to Castle Vox, which mixes elements from Diplomacy and Axis & Allies and includes maps spanning many eras and mythologies, such as the American Revolution, Hades, Japan, Napoleonic Wars, Native America, Outer Space, and the Roman Empire. A map editor will let players create their own boards.

Toronto publisher Dreamcatcher Gamers, JoWooD Entertainment and the BVT Group announce that the DreamCatcherrelease of the “ArcaniA – Gothic 4” Playstation 3 version is set for release in the first half of 2011. The successor of the internationally successful Gothic series will be released on current-gen consoles for the first time, additional to PC systems. Xbox 360 and PC versions will hit the stores on Oct. 12th 2010.

The focus during development of ArcaniA – Gothic 4 rested on a well-founded quality assurance. Playstation 3 gamers will experience the same, high quality product as Xbox 360 and PC customers. This has caused the adjustment of the release date but conversely sets the course for an outstanding gameplay experience on all platforms.

Telefilm CanadaTelefilm Canada is pleased to announce the selected feature film projects from minority French- and English-language communities across Canada that have been selected under the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives, respectively.Feature It 2010

Targeting eligible Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers, these initiatives are part of Telefilm’s Official Languages Activities (OLA) Program to develop market-driven feature film projects and to expand the available pools of these creators:

– Écrire au long targets eligible Francophone creators from Quebec communities outside Montreal and from Francophone communities outside the province of Quebec;
– Feature It! targets eligible Anglophone creators working in Quebec.

Participating writers and producers receive development funding in the form of an advance for a later phase of their projects and take part in four-day workshops to review the fundamentals of film development and scriptwriting with industry experts. In addition, participants will subsequently receive personalized, professional support from scriptwriting advisors or producer-mentors.

Toronto-based Francophone writer Maxime Desmons sees his acceptance into the 2010-2011 Écrire au long program as an opportunity to improve both his project and his scriptwriting skills.

“To participate in Écrire au long and receive financial support fFrench Language Project Outside of Quebecrom Telefilm for such an early stage of a project increases my credibility as a scriptwriter,” he said. “Working with a mentor who will challenge me and critique my work professionally will make me work even harder on my project and strengthen me as a writer.”

Montreal-based Anglophone writer-producer Debra Kouri raved about her 2009-2010 Feature It! experience and how it helped her project Oh, Christmas Trees.

“In my 12-plus years in the film and television industry, the Feature It! training was the best I have ever received. We had extremely experienced lecturers and industry professionals share their experiences with us. The lessons we learned have already proven invaluable and I’m sincerely looking forward to writing my next draft. I wish this type of training was mandatory for all Canadian writers and producers!”

“At their cores, the Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives give minority Francophone and Anglophone writers and producers such as Maxime and Debra the hands-on mentoring that is so essential to the fine tuning of their work as fiction feature film creators,” said Sheila de La Varende, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National and International Business Development. “Through this program and others, we are making progress on our goal to enhance industry skills,French Language Projects Outside of Montreal increase the number of feature-film scripts, and improve creators’ access to our main funding programs for the eventual production of their projects,” she added.

Telefilm collaborated with the following organizations to deliver each initiative’s training components:

– The Creative Women Workshops Association is delivering Feature It! training components and held a four-day workshop session that ran from June 19 to June 22, 2010, in Montreal.
– The Institut national de l’image et du son is delivering the Écrire au long training components and will hold a four-day workshop session that will be held in Montreal from August 30 to September 2, 2010.

Since the launch of the OLA program in 2006, Telefilm Canada has been seeking to expand the talent pool of Anglophone and Francophone creators working in minority official language communities across the country. A total of 36 English-language projects and 48 French-language projects have been supported following calls for entries issued to both of these communities. The Écrire au long and Feature It! initiatives conducted under Telefilm’s OLA Program have received financial support from Heritage Canada through the Interdepartmental Partnership with Official-Language Communities.

This is the fifth and final year for the Écrire au long program, and the fourth and final year for the Feature It! program. Telefilm will review results of both initiatives this fall to determine how best to support the professional development of minority-language Francophone and Anglophone creators moving forward.

mytownSFO-based social web and mobile entertainment company Booyah has officially launched international support for its popular location based app MyTown. Now available exclusively for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad across Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, MyTown is the first to support global check-ins utilizing the recently launched Places Web Service via the Google Maps API.

“Booyah is the premier mobile and social gaming company on top of the exploding location graph,” said Keith Lee, CEO, Booyah. “Our launches in the UK, Australia and Canada are just the beginning of bringing real world gaming to players across the globe.”

MyTown’s location data is provided by the Places Web Service, a feature of the Google Maps API which returns the 20 most popular places near a given location. Blending location-based services and social gaming features, Booyah’s MyTown is the first and largest consumer channel to utilize the Places Web Service.

Currently more than 2.8 million users in the United States are actively buying properties, collecting rent and checking-in to real places in MyTown. Last week, Booyah introduced the product check-in, allowing players to scan barcodes of real-world products to unlock points and earn exclusive virtual items, creating real-life scavenger hunts, brand discovery and engagement.

rare methodCalgary’s Rare Method Interactive Corp. has appointed Mr. Joshua Ius to the position of Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Ius obtained his Chartered Accountant designation articling with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also holds a Master’s in Professional Accounting and a Bachelors of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management. His background includes both Industry and Public Practice experience.

bv mediaRogers Media Inc. and BV! Media Inc. have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Rogers Media will acquire all of the issued and outstanding Common Shares of BV! Media for $0.40 in cash per share. The all-cash consideration of $0.40 per Share values BV! Media at approximately $25 million and represents a premium of approximately 100% to the volume-weighted average trading price of the BV! Media shares for the past 20 trading days on the TSX Venture Exchange.

“We are thrilled to have the BV! Media team join the Rogers family,” said Claude Galipeau, SVP & GM, Digital Media, Rogers Media. “BV! Media has an extensive line of ad solutions that we will incorporate into our existing digital media sales offerings. In addition, the BRANCHEZ-VOUS! network of sites in Quebec will give us greater reach in the Francophone market. Upon closing, Rogers Digital Media will have an impressive set of content offerings and digital sales solutions, including premium brands, exclusive sales inventory on partner sites, channels targeting key demographics, and performance media.”

“We are very pleased with this transaction for many reasons: it reflects BV! Media’s true value and exemplifies our commitment to maximize value for all our shareholders,” commented Gino Coutu, President, Ad network and co-CEO of BV! Media. “Furthermore, it is occurring with a strategic partner that has already demonstrated its respect for our organization and our people, and it ensures total continuity with our trusted partners and clients. This transaction is fully supported by the senior management team.”

“After fifteen years as a successful standalone business we are eager to become part of one of Canada’s largest media companies and to have our team and assets contribute to Rogers’ expansion in both digital media and the Quebec market” commented Patrick Pierra, founder and co-CEO of BV! Media.

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19th July 2010

Telefilm Expands Web-Ciné 360 To Include English Language Productions

netflixThe biggest news of the day seems to be the announcement by American Internet movie subscription company Netflix, Inc. The corporation started our week with the announcement that it will expand into Canada this fall offering unlimited movies and TV episodes streamed instantly to TVs and computers (and game consoles?) for one low monthly fee.

Canadian Netflix members will be able to instantly watch a broad array of movies and TV episodes right on their TVs via a range of consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix, as well as watching on PCs and Macs. In addition to representing its inaugural international market, Canada will also mark the first streaming-only service promoted by Netflix.

At the time of launch, the Netflix Canadian service will be available in English only, but the company said it expects to add French language capability over time. Canadians interested in Netflix can sign up to receive an email from the company when the service launches in Canada this fall.

Yummy InteractiveVancouver’s Yummy Interactive, Inc. a veteran leader in online PC games distribution for over 10 years today introduced its turnkey game service, Yummy Games Quick Launch, which provides portal operators and online communities with a quick-to-market Games on Demand solution.

The Yummy Games Quick Launch system enables multiple business models packaged under one umbrella. Consumers can play their favorite games via subscription, full-purchase download and limited-time PC game rental. Quick Launch partners can choose from one of Yummy’s custom design themes for their website, and customize elements throughout the site. They will then be able to select their game inventory from Yummy’s licensed catalog of over 1,000 titles and even supplement their library with their own proprietary or licensed game content.

Yummy’s full spectrum of applications, back-office tools and digital distribution technology are all leveraged to engage customers in buying and playing games. If you are at Casual Connect in Seattle this week, be sure to stop by Yummy’s booth and say hi.

The Yummy Games platform includes:

* Yummy’s Progressive Streaming – this technology permits end users to begin playing a game before it has been fully downloaded. This buffering also reduces bandwidth usage, lowering overall hosting costs.
* Games Player – as both a web-based and desktop application, users can access their service and download, launch and save games through the Player from their desktop or their favourite web browser.
* Games Website – the website includes a complete array of pages that highlight the product catalog, service features and support. It includes all meta data on games, search tools, advertising and dynamic web services that will automate lists of games such as Top Played Games, New Releases, and Recommendations.
* Account Management – customers can establish user accounts which are fully managed, secured, and maintained and can be connected to outside databases.
* Automated Updates – content changes, game patches, application fixes are all managed automatically for users every time they log in.
* Digital Rights Management – game executables are wrapped and protected with Yummy’s GameShield™ technology and data is encrypted alongside session-based authentication and IP detection for user account access.
* Cloud Computing – a selection of games can now be saved to the Cloud, so users can access their game saves remotely.
* Real-time Reporting – revenue reports, statistics on player usage, network traffic, most played games, and network activity (session length, time of day, installs, playtime, geographic locations) are included.

The Quick-Launch system also manages hosting, delivery and e-commerce support as part of the overall white label package. Read the rest of this entry »

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5th July 2010

Entrepreneurship Partnerships and Scholarships

wavefrontWaveFrontAC would like to know if you are interested in turning your innovative wireless idea into a start-up company? Entrepreneurship@Wavefront is a new program being undertaken in partnership with BCIC to support and nurture 8 early-stage B.C. wireless companies. Program participants will receive one-year access to office space in Wavefront’sBCIC collaborative wireless incubation centre and $10k credit toward Wavefront’s advisory and testing services. Exemplary go-to-market services wireless companies would leverage are Wavefront’s handset library, usability services, refinement of business development strategies and industry connections. Participants can also leverage BCIC’s network of seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts for additional mentorship and guidance.

EA GamesSkate 3 will be dishing up a virtual Hawaiian skateboarding vacation tomorrow with the release of Danny Way’s Hawaiian Dream, an enormous skater’s paradise designed by the skating legend himself. Inspired by the tropical paradise of Hawaii, this all new Skate 3 downloadable content comes loaded with everything from original street terrain to flowing skate parks and of course Danny’s signature Mega-madness. Danny Way’s Hawaiian Dream content pack will be available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network for 560 MS points or $6.99. The DLC will also include new challenges, Leliana's Songcreate-a-skater gear, an all-new Danny Way playable character, and new achievements and trophies.

While skate fans are busy in Hawaii, I’ll be on a mission with Dragon Age’s Leliana as Bioware adds a new chapter to the Dragon Age: Origins saga. Leliana’s Song will allow gamers to play as the roguish bard in a tale that can lead only to treachery – and the reasons which led Leliana to The Chantry. For 560 MS Points ($6.99 PSN), play through Leliana’s Song to earn a new reward that can be transferred over to your original Dragon Age: Orgins and Awakening campaigns. So now you know what I’ll be doing tomorrow after work.

The Banff CentreNew media makers interested in developing a creative project or reflective essay related to this year’s theme are encouraged to apply to the Interactive Screen Scholarship Intensive, which takes place at The Banff Centre this August 14 to 20th. Participants will benefit from valuable mentorship across a broad range of new media interests. Applications for projects in all stages of development, from early concepts through to fully developed prototypes, are welcome.

Scholarships are available for up to ten Canadian and international applicants and include focused mentorship and public presentation opportunities, a travel stipend of up to $550, and full financial
support for program tuition, meals, and shared accommodations on The Banff Centre campus. Please visit the Scholarship Information Page to apply.

Local (Vancouver) indie game designer Alex Vostrov (Rocket Bear Games) has officially announced his new game. According to his site, the new game will be called Infested Planet, and is “an innovative real time strategy game where you face a humongous horde of mutating aliens with just 5 marines” will hit the gamer waves in the Fall of 2010.

TreehouseCorus Entertainment and Treehouse are pleased to announce the world premiere of the first ever Dr. Seuss inspired animated series, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! on Saturday, August 7 at 5:30 p.m. ET starring Martin Short as the voice of the Cat.

Produced by Portfolio Entertainment Inc. and Collingwood O’Hare Productions, in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Random House Children’s Entertainment, Treehouse and PBS Kids in the U.S., The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! is based on Random House’s bestselling beginner book collection, The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library.The Cat In The Hat

“We are thrilled to introduce the first ever animated series based on the whimsical adventures of Dr. Seuss, starring Canadian comedian Martin Short,” said Jocelyn Hamilton, Vice President, Programming and Production, Corus Kids. “A delightfully entertaining show that opens young minds to science and nature discoveries, this series is sure to appeal to preschoolers’ curiosity for exploration and the world around them.”

With Cat as their guide, best friends Sally and Nick are transported to all corners of the globe, making natural science discoveries of all kinds. Along for the ride are Cat’s two energetic helpers, the mop-headed zany duo: Thing One and Thing Two. Booting around in Cat’s one-of-a-kind custom vehicle, the Thinga-ma-jigger, the group can travel to the bottom of the sea, shrink down to the size of a bee to discover how honey is made or find out why owls sleep during the day.

In the first episode, Show Me the Honey, Sally and Nick have run out of honey. Luckily, the Cat knows just where to get more. They visit Queen Priscilla Buzzoo who invites the gang to join her in the bee dance to learn how honey is made.

Beginning on August 7, back-to-back 30-minute episodes of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! will air Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. throughout the month of August. Beginning on Tuesday, September 7, viewers can catch this series in its regular time-slots Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. as well as Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Beginning on August 23, viewers can visit Treehousetv.com to catch clips of the show, access 30 different colouring pages as well as six online games.

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15th June 2010

Ubisoft Montreal to Develop Titles for the New Nintendo 3DS

Propaganda GamesPropaganda Studios is at E3 in full force, with both of their currently in-development games being showcased at the Disney Interactive Studios booth. Oh and by the way, Propaganda is hiring.

The TRON universe is coming to additional platforms than previous transmissions revealed. Tron EvolutionDisney Interactive Studios today announced the development of TRON video games for Wii™, Nintendo DS™ and PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system. These games complete the TRON video game portfolio this year from Disney Interactive Studios, joining the previously announced TRON: Evolution for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.

Set during the era between the two TRON films, TRON: Evolution conveys a story of significant events within the TRON mythology. The game features an epic adventure across the massive digital TRON world filled with high-mobility disc-based combat and light cycle action. The TRON: Evolution games will be released in Holiday 2010 before the “TRON: Legacy” film hits theaters on December 17 in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D.

TRON Evolution – Battle Grids (Wii), TRON: Evolution (DS) and TRON: Evolution PSP are action packed games set within the combat arenas and mysterious cities of the TRON world. All game versions give fans a unique way to battle and explore the TRON universe alone or with friends and family.

“These games offer unique experiences within the TRON universe that are ideal for their individual platforms,” said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. “TRON is an exciting, dynamic property that appeals to interactive entertainment fans of all ages.”

The TRON games for Nintendo platforms (TRON: Evolution – Battle Grids for Wii and TRON: Evolution for DS), include games and art styles appropriate for a wide audience, including families and kids. While Propaganda is the primary developer, the studio has partnered with n-Space Inc. and SuperVillain Studios, both located in the USA, to deliver this wide range of games for the new generation of TRON titles. Armada of the Damned

Propaganda’s other new title, Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned (2011) is an epic action-role playing game that lets players decide what type of pirate legend they want to become. Will they become Legendary, or Dreaded? Set before the blockbuster films, the game is a deep action-RPG that lets players carve out their own story in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. In development for the PS3, Xbox 360 and the PC, Armada of the Damned casts players off on a journey where they will encounter numerous memorable characters, both original and familiar.

TransGamingTransgaming has just announced that new titles for the Mac are now available at GameTree – Disney fans can now pick up Toy Story 3 and Disney Princess Enchanted Journey at GameTree Online for $29.99 and $21.99 respectively.

Here is a look at the E3 2010 trailer for Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, coming to the 360 from Relic Entertainment.

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UbisoftA new 3D version of Assassin’s Creed will be released by Ubisoft for the just-announced Nintendo 3DS. Ubisoft has also announced that the following titles will be available when the new handheld units go on sale: Hollywood 61; Battle of Giants™: Dinosaur Strike; Driver® Renegade; Assassin’s Creed™ Lost Legacy; Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory™ and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon™.

As one of the top independent publishers on the Nintendo DS™ and Wii™, Ubisoft is also one of the first major publishers to invest hieavily in development for 3D. “Nintendo has created a new portable console that will allow easy and affordable access to 3D technology,” said Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer at Ubisoft. “The portability and freedom from glasses of the Nintendo 3DS™ allows our creative teams to craft unique new and immersive games for all types of gamers.”

Ubisoft’s Nintendo 3DS line-up spans different genres of video games, allowing early adopters of the new console to find the style of games that they most enjoy:

* Hollywood 61 (code name): Live the thrill of mastering tailor-made mind games and become the obsession of a criminal mastermind in the first interactive 3D movie. Solve the deadly mystery with 150 classic and 3D puzzles.
* Battle of Giants™: Dinosaur Strike: 150 million years ago, Nature’s fury was unleashed, forcing Dinosaurs to fight for their survival. Dive into spectacular battles and deal powerful blows to your worst enemies. Master your fierce dinosaur and rule the cataclysmic Jurassic world!
* Driver® Renegade: The first and exclusive action driving game on Nintendo 3DS that lets you experience the intensity of urban car chases. As former cop John Tanner, you work outside the law to fight crime in the gritty streets of New York and defeat the 5 crime lords who own the city.
* Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory™: Sam Fisher, the renowned secret agent is back in this redesigned version of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. Experience one of the most acclaimed games in the Splinter Cell franchise for the first time in 3D.
* Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon™: Lead the Ghosts, the most elite special forces unit in the US Army, across multiple tactical missions to prevent a war from breaking out.
* Assassin’s Creed™ Lost Legacy: Driven by curiosity and a desire to understand the origins of his Order, Ezio Auditore travels East in search of the lost castle at Masyaf, the ancient seat of the Assassins.

Ubisoft has also released more information about Shaun White Skateboarding, which will bring skateboarding to a wider audience, allowing players to transform a dull, lifeless city into their own extraordinary skating playground. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th May 2010

Yes The iPad Is Now In Canadian Stores

Well as many of you are well aware, today is launch day for the iPad in Canada. While it’s easy to want one, the iPad is not something that I will be purchasing in the near future. I have a netbook which I really like, and while the battery life could be better, it is functional for the purposes I require of it, and really, other than the tablet-styled type pad, I don’t see many advantages for an iPad over my iTouch other than the bigger screen. Besides, I need a PS3 more than I need an iPad. Then again, it would be easier to read books on the iPad than it is on my iTouch…

quickmobileBCTIA and QuickMobile are pleased to announce the “mobilization” of this year’s Technology Impact Awards (TIAs) taking place on June 8th, 2010. In collaboration with BCTIA, QuickMobile has developed an iPhone app and mobile website which provides information about the awards dinner real time on any mobile device.

BCTIAThe community will be able to access the awards program, list of attendees, and finalist profiles on their SmartPhone. Other major features of the mobile solutions include online ticket purchasing, past history of TIA winners presented as cover flow graphics, as well as the evening’s seating plan.2010 TIA app

David Snell, EVP of QuickMobile stated ”we are very pleased to provide the first ever mobile solutions to enhance and extend this year’s TIAs experience. The iPhone application and mobile website benefits both the attendees and organizers by including an interactive mobile program guide with access to real-time features, which in turn provides leading edge interactive tools for all attendees and reduces printed material.”

“We are very excited about using these innovative mobile solutions to differentiate our 2010 TIAs celebration“said Pascal Spothelfer, President and CEO of BCTIA. “QuickMobile has created these mobile tools for us within an extremely short time frame and incorporated features we know will improve our attendees’ experiences at the 2010 TIAs.”

Licensing Executives SocietyThe Licensing Executives Society (USA and Canada) Inc., are holding some educational events in Toronto on June 7th. Commercializing Technology through the Power of IP Licensing is an introductory course designed for those with no prior experience in licensing. According to the event’s information page, it is specifically aimed at:

* non-licensing professionals about to enter the field
* those who are considering a career in licensing
* entrepreneurs who need to understand the value of their IP
* professors of entrepreneurship
* students interested in learning the basics of Intellectual Property (IP) and how to commercialize IP through licensing

Essential Principles & Tools of Licensing is the next step in the Society’s educational programme, and it is also running in Toronto, with a given date of June 7 – 10. This course is much more in-depth and is also more costly to attend than the introductory session mentioned above. Please see the Society’s web site for all of the pertinent information. The intended audience for this educational programme are intellectual asset management professionals, including those responsible for licensing and business development, who want to increase their knowledge of licensing and raise their professional skill level.

kerberos productionsKerberos Productions and Paradox Interactive are happy to announce that Sword of the Stars: Complete Collection which includes the original Sword of Stars game as well as its’ expansions: Born of Blood, A Murder Crows, Argos Naval Yard as well as a brand new scenario, has been released today with a recommended retail price of $29.99

Developed by Kerberos, Sword of the Stars is an epic space 4x Strategy game set in the year 2405 that allows players to play as one of four distinct galactic races, research over 150 distinct technologies, design and build ships across three size classes and wield over 40 weapons from six different weapon groups. Players can also choose from a variety of single-player scenario campaigns along with up to eight player multiplayer.

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The first expansion, Born of Blood, unveils the merciless Zuul Slavers with over 90 brand new ship sections and their unique drive system, the Tunnel Drive. It also introduces a variety of new game features including slavery, trade routes and diplomatic communications, as well as 25 additional technologies, 15 more weapons, new ship sections for the original four races as well as new scenarios, maps and galactic encounters.

A Murder of Crows introduces a sixth new race in the form of The Morrigi with their unique ‘Grav Flock’ Drive System, 27 additional technologies, 15 more weapons along with construction ships, orbital stations, spy ships, police cutters and more.

The third and final expansion, Argos Naval Yard, completes Sword of the Stars: Complete Collection with 19 more new technologies, over 75 additional ship sections to build, 10 weapons, three scenarios, as well as single player/multiplayer with co-op scenario maps.

blitwareBuilding on the success of their popular software utility applications, Blitware is happy to announce the latest addition to their lineup, Undeleter. As the name implies, the application helps computer users rescue documents, photos, and folders that have Undeleterbeen deleted and were previously thought unrecoverable. Though Undeleter joins similar software applications in its category, Blitware developers have designed a unique functionality to prevent overwriting and the ensuing permanent damage that is a common risk with such software applications.

Scanning the PC and any attached storage devices such as cameras, USB drives, and external hard drives, Undeleter searches for deleted files and folders and displays them for selection and recovery options. Unlike most data recovery software applications Undeleter Screenshotthat recover files one at a time, Undeleter utilizes a unique technology that Blitware has termed “DataStream”. Recovering all retrievable files to RAM, encrypting them so that only the host computer can read them, and temporarily storing them until the entire batch is safe and ready to be written back to disk, Blitware’s DataStream technology protects against overwriting and damage to files that is problematic with other data recovery solutions. Undeleter is compatible with the following Windows operating systems: Windows XP Home/Professional, Windows Vista (32-bit & 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit).

The latest in Blitware’s suite of utility software products, Undeleter joins Blitware’s Driver Fetch, File Helper, and the ever-popular PC Medkit as part of the company’s lineup of electronically downloadable software applications. As a member of the Better Business Bureau and the Vancouver Island Technology Association (VIATeC), Blitware is committed to providing user-friendly, effective utility software to PC users and is confident that Undeleter, their latest application, will serve their customers well and far surpass industry expectations. Read the rest of this entry »

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