18th April 2011

Game Prototype Challenge Five Is On

Wordcamp Montreal, which is taking place this July 9th and 10th at Coeur des Sciences, Agora Hydro-Québec – UQAM has put out a call for speakers. Early Bird tickets are also on sale now for $30.00.

Game Prototype ChallengeGame Prototype Challenge has announced its development theme for April – Companion and Rising. Participants have until 11:59pm on April 25th, 2011 to submit their game prototypes. That’s one week away, with a preview event known as Screenshot Saturday taking place on – you guessed it – this coming Saturday. This is the fifth round of prototype challenges, and if the previous four are anything to go by, this one will also see some awesome entries. You can check out all of the previous entries on the challenge’s web site.INplay 2011

The Early Bird registration rate for Interactive Ontario’s INplay 2011 conference has been extended until April 27th. Get your tickets now for what promises to be a great event. If you are a Canadian digital media designer, don’t forget to send in your submission for the CMF Canadian Interactive OntarioInteractive Showcase, the deadline is May 2nd.

Interactive Ontario has also released the results of its recent eLearning survey. Designed to examine the challenges faced by the province’s eLearning and cultural industry sectors, the 63 page PDF report (which I am still working my way through) looks at opportunities for growth and cross-pollination among all industry genres, including books, gaming, film, television and music.

OMDCSticking with Ontario for the moment, OMDC is now accepting applications for 2011/12 cycle of the OMDC Export Fund – Interactive Digital Media. This program provides eligible Ontario interactive digital media content producers with funding to participate in export development activities that correspond to a strategy for company growth. Primary activities supported are market event attendance and targeted sales trips that relate to the strategy.

In order to be eligible, all applications must be submitted electronically through the Online Application Portal (OAP.) Interested applicants must register their company’s corporate information here prior to commencing an application.

For technical assistance with registration or the application process send an email to OMDC. Applicants are encouraged to commence the application process well in advance of the deadline in case technical support is required. Complete Guidelines and the link to the OAP are posted on the OMDC website.

In lieu of an information session, applicants will have the opportunity to receive feedback on a first draft of their OMDC Export Fund application through a one-on-one pre-application meeting with an OMDC Consultant. Participation in pre-application meetings is not a requirement and is offered as a courtesy for applicants who may be unfamiliar with the program and/or require additional assistance. Applicants are also encouraged to contact OMDC at any time with questions regarding this program.

Pre-application meetings will take place on May 9 and 10, 2011. Please send in an email to schedule a meeting please email programs@omdc.on.ca. Once your email request has been received, OMDC will contact you to schedule a time on one of these two days.

Here is a look at Part Two of the EA Sports video series on re-launching the SSX franchise with SSX: Deadly Descents:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

mts-allstreamManitoba’s MTS has joined the “PVR from Anywhere” movement with the the launch of its My PVR (Personal Video Recorder) service which enables MTS Ultimate TV customers to add, change or delete their Whole Home PVR recordings using any computer with an Internet connection or from select mobile devices. This service is available free of charge to all MTS Ultimate TV Whole Home PVR subscribers.

“My PVR is a great addition to our MTS Ultimate TV service and will give customers the freedom to manage their Whole Home PVR from outside their home,” said Stan Kurtas, Vice President, Marketing, MTS. “We are always working to bring our customers the latest in technology in order to enhance, what we consider to be, the most feature rich television service in Canada.”

My PVR, which can be accessed through the customer’s MyAccount portal, offers customers the opportunity to browse through MTS’s online program guide to see what programs will be on in the next 12 days, search by title and create a shared login so anyone in the family can manage recordings over the Internet.

rabbleIndependent media site rabble.ca is celebrating its 10th anniversary by launching Media Watch, an initiative committed to dispelling myths perpetrated by ideologically driven reporters and sensationalist media. “We don’t want people to be blinded by SunTV,” said rabble.ca Publisher, Kim Elliott. “Our new media watch blog will feature a media consumer Twitter feed #sunwatch and the keen eye of Alheli Picazo.”

Coordinator of Media Watch and rabble.ca blogger, Alheli Picazo, wrote an expose in 2010 entitled “Ezra Levant vs Reality – A Prelude To Fox News North” in which she thoroughly challenged Levant’s characterization of George Soros. Following this piece Soros filed suit against Levant and Sun Media, resulting in a full retraction and apology printed in The Sun’s editorial section 13 short days after Levant’s original column ran.

“With the official launch of Sun TV News – featuring none other than Levant himself – there has never been a better time to establish a media accountability service,” said Picazo.

Though it’s starting off small, Media Watch aims to cover a wide range of media, from uninformed editorials and inaccurate reporting. rabble.ca’s team of dedicated spin decoders and lie detectors won’t just point out misinformation, but will provide readers with links to, and information about, the sources from which we cite accurate information. Be it scientific data, peer reviewed research, documented fact or expert analysis, we’ll share the tools you need to further investigate the issues.

Canadian voters are invited to tune in to rabbleTV on April 18 to watch special election coverage (“for the rest of us”) with the launch of the show Real Issues. Host Trish Hennessy (researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and author of the Hennessy Index) will be joined by guests Canadian Auto Workers economist Jim Stanford, Greg Elmer, Director, Infoscape Research Lab and Bell Globemedia Research Chair, and Atkinson Foundation’s Olivia Nuamah. This first panel responds to the leaders’ debates and the campaign so far, and will tackle the issue of strategic voting. 


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13th April 2011

And As The First Puck Drops

EA SportsStarting today, NHL fans will have the opportunity to make their Stanley Cup® Playoffs predictions in the EA SPORTS™ NHL®2011 Playoff Bracket Contest on Facebook. Fans can make their predictions on the real series using the EA SPORTS NHL 11 simulation engine that will link to the Playoffs bracket and predict who will advance to the next round. The engine correctly predicted that the Chicago Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup last year, and that the Vancouver Canucks would win the Presidents’ Trophy this year. Fans will vote on the winner of each series at the start of each round, accumulating points for Canucks vs Hawkscorrect selections; prizing will be available for each round so fans can continue to enter after the playoffs start. A grand prize winner will receive two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa for the most points accumulated throughout the contest; the winner will be announced at the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.*

The NHL 11 computerized simulation is conducted using artificial intelligence that uses real-life data from each team, such as player ratings and line combinations, and includes variances such as injuries and hot streaks to predict a realistic outcome of each game and series.

Contest Schedule:

First round selections open today, and subsequent rounds will be announced at the end of each series.

EA SPORTS NHL 11 Round One Predictions – Conference Quarterfinals:

Western Conference

(1) Vancouver defeats (8) Chicago; 4-2

(2) San Jose defeats (7) LA Kings; 4-1

(3) Detroit defeats (6) Phoenix; 4-2

(5) Nashville defeats (4) Anaheim; 4-3

Eastern Conference:

(1) Washington defeats (8) NY Rangers; 4-0

(2) Philadelphia defeats (7) Buffalo; 4-1

(3) Boston defeats Montreal (6); 4-3

(5) Tampa Bay defeats (4) Pittsburgh; 4-2

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Eligibility restrictions apply. Contest starts April 13, 2011 and runs through the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Complete Contest rules can be found online.

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8th April 2011

The Conspiracies Are True

Reminder: You have two days left to apply to be one of 20 media professionals at Anita Ondine’s groundbreaking Transmedia Lab on April 28-29, presented by Merging Media Productions and CMPA-BC.
Deadline: MiGS 2011 Speaker Deadline is Monday. Get your proposals in now.
Register: Toronto Startup Weekend is June 3 – 5th.
Launch: Firefox 4 and Mozilla’s Vancouver Office Launch Party is on April 15th

Funcom and EA have released a new Secret World video – and apparently all of those conspiracy theories are … true …

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Also new today from EA Sports is the SSX franchise re-launch video for the upcoming Deadly Descents.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Ludia and Disney-ABC Domestic Television today announced the availability of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire game on Facebook platform, giving a true-to-TV experience with thousands of Ludiaquestions and hundreds of categories from the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” TV show, complete with authentic theme music. Based on the exciting and unpredictable “shuffle” format of randomized questions seen on the hit TV game show, players can now enjoy a multiplayer experience with friends and other Millionaire fans across North America on Facebook.

Contestants simultaneously compete to correctly answer ten multiple choice trivia questions from various categories, with the ability to use the “Jump The Question” lifeline for a stumper question as well as use their Facebook friends as lifelines to earn bonus points and increase their chances of winning. The champion of the multiplayer “Round 1” goes on to play a “Classic Millionaire” round of four questions, each with a progressively higher dollar value that leads to the simulated $1,000,000 grand prize.Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Congratulations to Ubisoft, who came out as big winners at last night’s MI6 Game Marketing Awards, hosted by California-based PromaxBDA, an international association for entertainment marketing professionals. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood picked up the following medals:

Gold Medal Best GamePlay Footage Trailer for “Enter Rome” Single-Player Gameplay Trailer
Gold Medal Best Product Packaging
Gold Medal Best Limited Edition or Collector’s Edition
Gold Medal Best Swag for the “Doctor Jack-in-the-Box” Collectible
Silver Medal Outstanding Promotional Trailer for its E3 trailer
Bronze Medal Best Co-Branding & Video Asset by Gamestop TV, Harlequin Doodle Dandy and Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell franchise also won two Bronze Medals, the first for Best Use Of Online Media or Use Of Online Social Media Marketing for Splinter Cell: The Search for Sam Fisher (by Liquid Marketing), and the second for Splinter Cell Conviction “Set in Stone” Buzz Tactic in the Most Effective Buzz Creation category.

Not to be left out, Ubisoft’s Your Shape Fitness Evolved: Boot Camp Pre-Launch Campaign picked up a Bronze NBA Jam for the WiiMedal for Most Effective Viral Marketing/Promotion and a Gold Medal for YourShape Fitness Evolved: Outtakes (Pereira & O’Dell) in the Best Work Never Seen category.

EA Sports NBA Jam picked up a Bronze Medal for NBA Jam in the Standout Print Advertisement category while Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 won a Silver Medal in the Best Online Take-over/Road Block/Rich Media Unit for Mass Effect 2 – Diorama produced by draftfcb San Francisco & Wieden+Kennedy

Speaking of awards shows, the voice over community is banding together in an effort for their industry to be recognized at the Oscars, which currently recognizes just four acting awards for live action. Animated films are eligible for the Best Picture and Animated Feature Film categories but there is no category to honour the voice actors in these films.

Canadian company Voices.com initiated the idea for a change to the Oscars program on their Facebook Group. When the company asked if talent were willing to not only talk the talk but also walk the walk and sign a petition lobbying for a voice over performance category, the fan-base gave them a resounding thumbs-up.

“Our initial research shows that many people are in support of the Academy Awards introducing a category for voice over performance,” says Stephanie Ciccarelli, Voices.com Chief Marketing Officer. “We were amazed by the outpouring of support in our endeavor to get the ball rolling in this regard. Recognition in the form of an Oscar for voice actors not only acknowledges their work at this level but also esteems voice acting and its significant contribution to film.”

The purpose of the petition is to achieve recognition for actors who perform behind the scenes. Outstanding voice over performances breathe life into animated films thereby creating iconic characters that are memorable, lovable and real. Recognizing the art of voice acting by designating a voice over performance category for voice actors in the Oscars could result in the fulfillment of many collective dreams.

ubisoftUbisoft and Gatorade have announced a new partnership to deliver a workout series designed specifically for fitness athletes for Ubisoft’s popular video game Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Gatorade enlisted the talents of celebrity-trainer Gunnar Peterson to develop a workout series created around the G Series™ FIT, their new line of innovative products for fitness athletes. The Gatorade-inspired workouts are available to download now for free on the Xbox LIVE marketplace.

The ‘G Series FIT Workout with Gunnar Peterson’ offers personalized training sessions with one of the country’s top celebrity and athlete trainers and the workout plan is designed to inspire and fuel the inner athlete in everyone. The downloadable workout plan includes a 30-minute full-body toning program, and introduces new exercises including jumping jacks, squat raises, lunges, and other new moves that integrate free weights and dumbbells.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is available exclusively on Kinect™ for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system. G Series FIT was developed specifically for fitness athletes to provide fuel, fluid and nutrients before, during and after a workout. The products, each inspired by fitness athletes and designed by Gatorade, are currently available nationwide.

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11th March 2011

Games For Rainy Days

Last Chance: Registration for the Great Canadian Appathon closes at 5pm tonight.

IUGOLast week during IUGO’s GDC Smartphone Summit Session, their VP of Biz Dev, Sarah Thomson, announced IUGO’s latest social game venture; Sunshine Cruise Lines. IUGO’s first social title, Lil’ Sunshine_ContinentViewPirates (published by Capcom Mobile), launched in November 2010 and was a breakout success earning accolades from users, critics and fellow industry colleagues alike. Lil’ Pirates went on to win Pocketgamer’s best FREEmium title of 2011.

Having proved their chops as a solid social game developer, IUGO plans to launch several social titles during the course of 2011/2012. “Lil’ Pirates was a great experience for us,” enthuses Thomson. “We saw that we could build a unique experience that users loved. It was amazing to see how “into” the game players got. On top of that, the game was monetizing really well solely from virtual items, which was a testament to our design strengths as a studio,” Sarah adds.

“Now, with Sunshine Cruise Lines, the team is super excited to build a game around a theme that appeals to Sunshine-ShipViewvirtually everyone: Travel,” offers Thomson. Setting sail later this Spring/early Summer of 2011, Sunshine Cruise Lines is a FREEmium game in which players manage their own cruise ship while traveling the world. “There is so much we can do with this theme,” she explains. “This is an opportunity for us to play on users’ imaginations while having the world at their fingertips. Players will find the game familiar and easy to play as we’ve kept a foundation of tried and true mechanics. But the team has been really amped to try new things in Cruise,” alludes Sarah. “With Cruise players will enjoy a more dynamic environment that encourages experimentation. Players will have a number of different options for how to make their cruise ship unique, while offering deeper social interaction. The team is focused on making every facet of the Cruise experience special and fun from the art style, the UI, the audio to how they all tie in and enhance each other. We can’t wait for people to play our game!”

frima studioDon’t get caught dead in that island wear, it’s so last season! Quebec’s Frima Studio and SFO’s Bolt Creative have announced that the Pygmies of Pocket God on Facebook have arrived dressed to impress with Episode IV: Dressed to Kill. This latest addition to the Pocket God world introduces new items, including St. Patrick’s Day accessories, as well as a new dance taking the island by lightning storm.PocketGod Dressed To Kill

Since its debut in December 2010, the Facebook version of Pocket God has grown exponentially and is attracting more players every month. More than 40 million loyal, unquestioning Pygmies have met their demise over that time, with two million of those being sacrificed by volcano alone (that’s approximately the same amount of people who visit Pompeii every year – coincidence?). Another two million sacrifices can be attributed to friends on Facebook sacrificing other friends in a host of brutal and irreverent ways, including electrocution, shark attack, venus fly traps, tornados, tar pits, and more! What good is a friend if you can’t sacrifice them every once in a while?

The new updates for Dressed to Kill include:

• All New Customizations: Fans have been waiting for the chance to dress up their Pygmies and the time has come! Pygmies can now be customized in a variety of ways, including wearing t-shirts, bow ties, life jackets (no worries, they won’t actually work), an oh-so-taboo censor bar, and more!PocketGod Customizer
• All New YPDA (Youth Pygmy Devotee Association) Dance: It’s fun to hang with the Y-P-D-A! Even though the Pygmies constantly meet death, it doesn’t dampen their spirits, and they’re now prepared to show the world their latest dance craze. Go ahead and join in already, we swear no one is watching!
• St. Patrick’s Day-themed Items: For the Pygmy leprechaun in all of us, players can now customize their favorite faithful followers with holiday-themed items such as clover hair ties and fashionable green suspenders to hold that grass skirt up. Players can also do a little jig with the new St. Patrick’s Day dance. All holiday-themed content is available for a limited time.
• Brand New Quests: Of course, we have added more quests for all the deities out there looking to bring their sacrifice count to an all-time high.

Stir Fry GamesThe National Lacrosse League, which is comprised of teams from Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto (along with some American teams) has announced that NLL 11, the NLL’s officially licensed video game by Pittsburgh’s Crosse Studio in conjunction with Guelph’s Stir Fry Games, is in development for Lacrosse11release this spring on Xbox 360’s Indie Game Channel.

The game will feature all ten NLL teams and the league’s 230 players, a completely new game engine, franchise mode, player statistics, celebrations and much more. For the first time, NLL 11 will include fighting in the video game. NLL Lacrosse 2011 will be available on the Xbox 360’s Indie Game Channel and will be priced at $5.00 USD.

While you’re waiting for NLL11 to debut, you could check out Stir Fry’s latest game, Office Brawlers, which is available on Xbox Live Indie Games. You can try it before you buy it, the price is 240 MS Points. Playing as your Avatar, you fight your way through Story Mode with 11 crazy weapons. You can play against your friends either on or off-line. Be the greatest Office Brawler of all time and achieve the highest score by playing in Survival Mode.

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What started out as a very small Meetup group for independent developers in the Vancouver area has now become Full Indie. The new group was unveiled to a packed house of over 100 devefull indielopers at Tuesday night’s monthly event for what is now the largest collective for independent game creators in Vancouver.

In May 2010, game developers Jake Birkett and Alex Vostrov founded the aforementioned Meetup group in order to connect with their peers. After only nine meetings with overwhelming event attendance and community input, Jake and Alex agreed that a formal brand, mission and web presence were the next logical steps. The group’s mandate will be to continue with its very successful monthly events which include presentations and networking as well as develop the Full Indie web site as a community-sourced endeavour, with centralized resources to assist indie developers not only in Vancouver, but around the world, with the development, publishing and publicizing of their work.

In keeping with the National Film Board’s commitment to digital production, and reflecting the evolution of National Film Boardaudiences into dynamic participants, the eastern section of the NFB Mediatheque in Toronto is currently being transformed into an interactive hub that will provide new ways to connect with the NFB. Its redesign guided by the principle of engaging and communicating with Canadians, this area of the Mediatheque will soon offer access to , where visitors can check out recent web-based projects via the NFB Interactive portal, the Online Screening Room featuring more than 1,800 streaming films, and news and information about the NFB.

This flexible new space will also be outfitted with ceiling-mounted projectors, floor-to-ceiling screens and a state-of-the-art audio system, providing a venue for innovative new content such as participatory programming and immersive multimedia installations based on NFB online productions. The space will also host exhibits and screenings; its resources will be creatively incorporated into the Mediatheque’s many workshops and camps, and it can be tailored for private event rental. A webcam-enhanced touchscreen will allow the public to further connect with the NFB and record instant feedback on their experience such as film reviews, workshop recommendations and programming suggestions. Visitors will continue to enjoy over 5,500 NFB titles on free digital viewing stations, and services and events at the Mediatheque will not be affected. This new area will open to the public in early April, 2011.

This is a good start, but doesn’t go nearly far enough; I hope that MP Tony Clement will keep the pressure up in regards to telecom pricing in all areas:

CRTCIn response to numerous requests, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today clarified the form and scope of its proceeding to review wholesale residential high-speed Internet access services, which was launched on February 8, 2011.

Canadians will have an opportunity to share their views at a public hearing starting on July 11th in Gatineau, Que. The CRTC will also hold an online consultation. Details of both the hearing and consultation will be announced shortly.

Although the scope of the proceeding will not be limited to reviewing usage-based billing proposals, the CRTC intends to focus on issues such as:

  • usage-based charges, whether aggregated between the Small Internet service providers (Small ISPs) or applied to each Small ISP
  • usage-based charges driven by peak traffic periods, and
  • an examination of network capacity and congestion.

The CRTC will not be expanding the scope, as requested by several parties, to include the billing practices for retail Internet services. There is no evidence that market forces are not working properly in this unregulated market.

Finally, the CRTC will not review, as was also requested by several parties, the overall regulatory framework for wholesale high-speed Internet access services. The overall framework was not part of the decision that is being reviewed, and it would not be appropriate to initiate such a wide-ranging review within the current proceeding.

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14th February 2011

Trailers For Your Valentine

Reminder: There are 15 days left to get your nominations in for the Canadian Video Game Awards.
Reminder: There are 15 days left to submit entries for the 2011 Design Edge Canada Regional Design Awardsubisoft
Reminder: Digital Media practitioners, don’t forget to fill in the industry survey over at Pixel to Product.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed in today’s conference call to investors that there will be a new Assassin’s Creed infinite ammo game this year, however we will all have to wait until May for more details.

Winnipeg studio Infinite Ammo, the co-developer of Aquaria, has posted a dev diary update for Marian and the Fantastic World of Dreams, and the game thus far looks great. In this very detailed dev diary you read about the process of meshing 2D with 3D and the trials the team has experienced thus far as the game unfolds. You can also hear a sampling of the game’s soundtrack as you read the diary post.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

If you are unfamiliar with Infinite Ammo’s project, the game’s main character is Marian, a beautifully carved marionette who rips her strings from the grasp of ‘The Narrator’ and to become her own master. She becomes caught in the dream world between life and death, learning to her own puppet strings as a tool in her quest to Rocket 5 Studiosdiscover her true identity, and in fitting with today’s universal Valentine’s Day theme, she may even find true love.

Rocket5 Studios has released the first teaser trailer for that studio’s upcoming iOS game XS Force, which the creators will be demoing at GDC 2011. XS Force is an explosive arcade shooter starring characters inspired by some of the biggest action movie stars of the 1980?s, and this trailer lets you get a glimpse of one of the XS Force heroes.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Rocket5’s previous titles for the iPhone and iPod Touch include Giant Moto and Holeshot Drag Racing as well as amusement apps Alien Booth and iSpoof Walken.

source studioSource Studio has announced new DLC for the recently updated Proto Galaxy. Proto Defense, the first DLC release for Proto Galaxy, will soon be available for free via the game’s Steam page. Check out what’s coming in this expansion:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Released in October 2010, Proto Galaxy is a turrent defense game that allows up to four players to team up and save the galaxy from an alien force determined to enslave humanity. As Earth’s last line of defense, you must put an end to the attacks and rebuild a home for the survivors.

distribution360Distribution360 has acquired rights to distribute the Cartoon Network U.K. version of Skatoony to French and German-speaking Europe as well as Spain. The company will also distribute the North American version of Skatoony—produced by marblemedia—to the same territories. Skatoony (U.K.) airs on Cartoon Network U.K.; Skatoony (North America) was commissioned by TELETOON, and premiered on the Canadian kids network in English and French this past October. Skatoony is the first animated/live-action quiz show adventure that pits tweens and ‘toons against each other in four frantic, trivia-based rounds. Set in a fantastical television studio in the fictional town of Showtown, the series is anchored by the cartoon duo of hostskatoony Chudd Chudders and his lounge-singing sidekick, The Earl. Each week, they attempt to put together another show, while all manner of mad happenings occur around them. Skatoony Interactive features the “Skatoony Home Game,” a multi-player game where kids play Skatoony in real-time against other kids online.

“We’re excited to be distributing both versions of Skatoony to international markets,” says Stéphanie Röckmann-Portier, Managing Director/Head of Sales, Distribution360. “We’re looking forward to offering broadcasters a library of versioned episodes in order to identify content that best suits their needs.”

“Working with Distribution360 gives us the opportunity to exploit new territories for Skatoony,” says Michael Carrington, Chief Content Officer, Turner Broadcasting. “It’s a fantastic fast-paced game show which is sure to delight new audiences across Europe.”

In addition to Skatoony, D360’s kids slate also includes Splatalot, Ambition Skatecamp, This is Daniel Cook, and This is Emily Yeung for distribution to international markets.

communitechCommunitech’s annual Tech Leadership Conference on March 2, 2011 is the place to be for anyone in high-tech — to hear keynote speakers author Geoffrey Moore and futurist Watts Wacker, share views with journalist and author Scott Berkun, and gain insights from a high-tech power panel moderated by former Global national news anchor Kevin Newman. More than 500 people are expected to attend the largest such one-day event in Southwestern Ontario.

“It’s an action-packed day that will focus on the new fundamentals of business in an era where the power of the crowd shapes everything from marketing practices to purchase consideration, and leading-edge innovation continues to drive rapid change,” said Iain Klugman, president and CEO of Communitech.

The Tech Leadership Conference will feature a ‘BIG Conversation’ between Canadian industry leaders — MKS CEO Philip Deck, Sr. VP OSI John Ruffolo, and CTO OpenText Eugene Roman with Geoffrey Moore and moderated by Kevin Newman — addressing the major shifts occurring in the tech industry. Startup companies will also pull back the curtain on latest innovations moving from stealth mode to commercialization in the annual Tech Expo staged at the conference.

Geoffrey Moore is best known as the author of the ground-breaking book “Crossing the Chasm” and is a managing director at TCG Advisors and a venture partner at MDV. Tech leadership attendees will hear from Moore how disruptive innovation can have a positive impact on their business plans. Lecturer, best-selling author, political commentator and social critic Watts Wacker will bring a futurist’s perspective to the Tech Leadership Conference, focusing on navigating the sea of change in business.

Scott Berkun — author of three best-selling books, contributor to publications such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian, and a blogger for Harvard Business and BusinessWeek — will investigate the myths of innovation.

Breakout sessions at the Tech Leadership Conference include the following topics and leaders:

* Myths of Innovation: Scott Berkun
* Developing Your Digital Roadmap: Dan Christian, DanoDigital
* Recruiting Trends: Sharon Rudy, SpencerStuart
* Under Construction: The Sales and Marketing Organization of the Future: John Neeson, Sirius Decisions
* Life After Exit Leadership Panel: Steve Woods, Google; Yvan Couture, Primal; Ron Neumann, Dejero Labs; moderated by Greg Barratt, Communitech.

secure keyCongratulations to Toronto-based SecureKey Technologies Inc., who has received an investment from Intel Capital, Intel Corporation’s global investment organization. SecureKey designs hardware and software solutions to enable the strong cryptographic capabilities of debit, credit and identity smartcards including those within NFC based phones to be used for online authentication and online purchases. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

canonCanon Canada is launching a national print and broadcast campaign, developed with JWT Canada that is uniquely Canadian – for Canadians by Canadians. The campaign, with additional online elements to be incorporated in the next several months, aims to deepen Canon Canada’s emotional connection with its consumers through the telling of important shared moments in life.

JWT Canada undertook strategic sessions with the various business units, which resulted in the notion that people need and want Canon imaging products when the output really counts; be that a photo of your child’s graduation, a retina camera that can detect early warning signs of diabetes or print-outs for an important client presentation. The campaign takes the focus off the product attributes and shines a light on the people who use Canon products.

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2nd February 2011

Three Different Kinds of Fight From Electronic Arts

EA SportsIf you’ve been itching for a good fight, you’ll be pleased to know that the Fight Night Champion demo from EA Sports is now available on Xbox LIVE™ and the PlayStation®Network. The demo features four of the biggest names from boxing’s past and present and will be the first demo in EA Sports™ history to include head-to-head online play.

In the Fight Night Champion demo, players can jump into the ring for three rounds of action at the famed Boardwalk Hall boxing venue with heavyweight legends, Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, or three rounds of welterweight action with current boxing stars, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

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As the first EA Sports title with head-to-head online play included in the demo, players will also be able to take the four boxers online and showcase their skills to the world before the game is released on March 1, 2011.

Fight Night Champion, which is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, introduces a host of gameplay improvements to the long running, critically acclaimed franchise. The refined punching system, dubbed “Full Spectrum Punch Control”, brings the most accessible and responsive controls ever to a Fight Night title. A new anaerobic stamina system tracks individual muscle groups separately, punishing a player’s over-dependence on a single punch and encourages combination punching and diligent stamina management. In addition, improved visuals, multiple control schemes, realistic damage, boxer-specific animations and multiple stun states round out the key gameplay improvements players will experience in the demo.

BiowareBioware has released a trailer for Dragon Age Legends, which according to the game’s information,  takes place thirteen years after a group of warriors led by the Templar Ravi banded together to prevent an abomination from destroying the Free Marcher city of Kaiten in a hedonistic orgy of narcissism and opulence.

The former Viscount Khedra spent most of his life as a venerated ruler, celebrated for his wisdom. Late in life, he started to change, beginning with the construction of a great coliseum where nobles’ chosen champions competed for pride and glory. What began as games of entertainment quickly devolved into great spectacles of carnage punctuated by outlandish pageantry. The lesser nobles of Kaiten no longer settled their disputes in court, instead grievances big and small were decided by sword for the pleasure of an increasingly bloodthirsty populace.

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The Viscount’s nephew, Ravi, and his allies discovered the source of Khedra’s odd behavior: Khedra was possessed by a powerful Pride demon and was now an abomination. These heroes were able to defeat the demon in a fearsome confrontation, and mysteriously, you were there to aid them.

Now, Ravi is the Viscount of Kaiten and you are one of his most trusted allies. When a mysterious set of circumstances begin to form around his son Eiton, you are the only one he trusts to save his son. Biwaore invites you to return to Thedas in Dragon Age Legends with your friends on Facebook, where you can battle demons and darkspawn in preparation for the launch of Dragon Age II next month.

FIFA 10 UltimateTeamEA Sports has also announced a major new update for FIFA 11 Ultimate Team, the new way to play FIFA 11 via downloadable game modes for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360®. The update, which includes new features Play A Friend Challenge and Friends Leaderboards plus over 50 improvements, will be live on February 17th. This is the first time major new features for FIFA Ultimate Team have been developed after the game mode released, as the FIFA franchise continues to lead the way in digital experiences for EA Sports.

“We have a thriving global community of over two million fans playing FIFA 11 Ultimate Team,” said Kaz Makita, Executive Producer for FIFA. “Our commitment to these fans is that we will continue to listen to their feedback to improve and enhance their experience year round. Play A Friend Challenge and Friends Leaderboards are both new innovations and features requested by the fans, and will enable players to better connect and compete with friends while playing FIFA 11 Ultimate Team.”

FIFA 11 Ultimate Team is a free-to-play, massively multiplayer trading and team building football game . Gamers and football fans are challenged to build a squad of the world’s best players by earning, buying, selling and even trading players with other FIFA 11 Ultimate Team gamers. Players can take their strategically crafted squads onto the pitch to compete in online and single-player tournaments which are updated weekly. FIFA 11 Ultimate Team gamers can access their console experience from the web for full auction and trading systems.

After only three months, FIFA 11 Ultimate Team continues to grow due to constantly updated weekly tournaments and daily item promotions. According to internal EA date, the game now boasts more than 65 million game sessions played, 171 million trades made, and 275 billion coins spent in the auction house. FIFA 11 Ultimate Team is available for free (restrictions and conditions apply, please see back of pack for details) and can be downloaded through the main menu in FIFA Soccer 11 on any connected PlayStation3 and Xbox 360.

The update also includes over 50 additional refinements that were included based on the feedback from the FIFA community. Some of the additional changes include updates to the auctions to make it easier to track auctions or repost expired items, Power Passing assistance is switched off by default in online matches, and a number of general stability improvements as well as the following:

Play A Friend Challenge

* Play A Friend Challenge enables you to test your skills against your friend’s Ultimate Team, even when your friend isn’t online. Take on your friend’s squad whenever you like with the CPU controlling your friend’s squad. Results are recorded and presented to your friend the next time they log on to their console. Now you can prove who has the best Ultimate Team whenever you are ready to play. Plus, when you return to your console, you can see who played your squad, left you a message, and challenge them to a rematch when you want to play.

Friends Leaderboards

* Compare your progress in FIFA 11 Ultimate Team against friends automatically with personalized leaderboards. Regardless of how you choose to play, you can now compete and compare your progress whether you are a trader, expert team builder, top entrepreneur in the auctions, or simply want to compare the value of your club.

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20th January 2011

Six Canadian Game Franchises Receive Interactive Achievement Award Nominations

marblemediamarblemedia interactive and Teletoon have flipped the On skatoonyswitch for Skatoony’s web page, which is filled with games, show information, downloadable craft projects and videos. Skatoony is a combined live action and animation quiz show for kids. Each week the two hosts, Chudd Chudders and The Earl pit 3 animated characters against real kids who hope to survive the show’s shenanigans, temperamental producer and environmental challenges to be declared victorious.

aiasSeveral Canadian titles have been named as finalists for the AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards which will be presented at DICE Las Vegas this coming February 10th. The dev teams from EA Canada will be competing against each other in the Sports Game of the Year category with both FIFA Soccer 11 and NHL 11 receiving nominations. The debut title for United Front Games, ModNation Racers, has been named to the Racing Game of the Year category.

Relic Entertainment’s Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising has been nominated in the Strategy Game of the Year category, while Ubisoft Montreal action title Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction is competing in the Achievements in Animation category. Bioware has been named to the Outstanding Character Performance category for Mass Effect 2 – Male Shepard, while Mass Effect 2 was given the nod for both the Outstanding Achievement in Story,  Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year and Game of the Year categories.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has been nominated for an Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition Award as well as Adventure Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Online Game Play. The Ubisoft Montreal blockbuster will also be going head to head with Bioware’s blockbuster Mass Effect 2 as they compete in the  Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction category. Best of luck to all of our Canadian nominees!

krangGAMESVancouver Film School graduate Nicholas Yonge has officially launched his indie game development studio krangGAMES, which will initially be focusing on flash games with an eye to expanding its products to other platforms in the future. The studio is currently developing DotGuy vs The Galaxy, which is an action-puzzle game where the player must successfully guide DotGuy out of a damaged spaceship. According to the game’s description, DotGuy vs The Galaxy will feature a campaign mode, unlockable modes of play, multiple playable characters, and user-made content via the Assembly Level Editor. krangGAMES also developed a game named Prior, which was created for the Ludum Dare Competition #19. Prior is a msyterious 2D platformer that was built in Adobe Flash, and in following with the LD19 theme of Discovery, players must navigate through a dark facility in an effort to figure out who they are, what has happened, where they are, and why they are there, developing their story piece by piece.

Hothead GamesHothead Games has brought Swarm creator, Dr. Mike Hayward, out of his dark and windowless office for a few short minutes to explain how players can control their “Swarm” in this first edition of “Ask Dr. Mike.”

Since Dr. Mike tends to speak in programming code without even realizing it, Hothead brought in “man of the people” and “regular guy”, Lead Designer, Pete Low, to bridge the gap and explain to us laypeople the unique and fun way to control your Swarm. Swarm is the upcoming and ultra addictive action game from UTV Ignition and Hothead Games set to release early this year. Dr. Mike did his PhD research in the field of artificial intelligence, and while his research didn’t directly relate to causing the horrific deaths of little cute and pudgy blue creatures, he has harnessed his work to realize that vision in Swarm. In the newly released video, Dr. Mike shows us everything from how to jump, group up, huddle and even stack and bash your Swarmites.

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Swarm gives players control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and drives them through an intense and often suicidal battle of survival. Swarm is the first game to feature mass character control, where players move all the Swarmites at once. Steer the flock of pudgy, clueless little blue morons through the game and they naturally flock and flow around obstacles. Creatively combine swarm moves to work your way through a relentlessly dangerous and hilariously brutal environment. Compete against friends to get the high score by deftly moving through the world and cleverly solving puzzles the game throws your way. Swarm is rated T for Teen by the ESRB

EA SportsEA SPORTS™ and Virgin Gaming™ have penned a new agreement which names Virgin Gaming as the official worldwide provider of online tournaments for EA SPORTS. The agreement covers all head-to-head competitive play, pay-to-enter and sponsored tournaments for select EA SPORTS console video games.
virgin gaming
As part of the agreement, the Virgin Gaming tournament platform will integrate directly with select EA SPORTS titles offering seamless web functionality and enhanced community tools for competitive gaming across Xbox 360® and PlayStation®3 consoles. The first tournaments will begin early 2011, with details to be announced in the near future.

“EA SPORTS is the leading sports video game brand and publisher in the world, and we are thrilled to offer our members the opportunities to compete in some of their very best multiplayer sports games,” said Rob Segal, CEO of Virgin Gaming. “Virgin Gaming is a unique convergence of competitive gaming, video games and social/community networking, and we are excited that EA SPORTS shares our vision for the platform and its potential.”

“Competitive online gaming is an increasingly popular component of our industry and a great way for EA SPORTS and Virgin Gaming to help connect gamers around the world through the global language of sports,” said Peter Moore, President of EA SPORTS. “Virgin Gaming demonstrates the system-wide integrity we desire, and this is a great opportunity for EA SPORTS fans to experience secure and impeccably managed online tournaments for some of our top titles.”

Wicked InteractiveWicked Interactive and Mission Against Terror (M.A.T.) today offered a first look at Occupation Mode, the eagerly anticipated update which brings hardcore, capture-the-flag-style competitive action to everyone’s favorite free-to-play shooter.

“Gamers have been extremely curious,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “Since there hasn’tMAT Occupation Mode been an Old School hardcore competitive title in quite some time, gamers seem like they can’t wait to get their hands on Occupation Mode. We hope that these screenshots hold them over until Occupation Mode goes live, which, we promise, will be very soon.”

What’s New in Occupation Mode:

· New maps
· Territory capture and control – the two essential ingredients of a competitive title
· New team-based action and coordination
· Ability to set time-challenges – game creators determine how long one team has to hold all points on map for the win
· Opportunity to test out recently purchased or unlocked weapons in new, challenging environments

“With Occupation Mode, we offer players a great mix of flexibility and raw competition,” added Ho. “Some players want an experience that is nothing less than a fight to the death, with matches lasting countless rounds until one team finally emerges victorious from the firefight. For others, it’s about light, scrimmage with friends. We are proud to serve both communities of gamers with this latest update to M.A.T.”

Mobile IT management solution provider Rove has announced the rapidly growing adoption of its award-winning solution, Rove Mobile Admin, a secure smartphone- and tablet-enabled IT management solution giving IT staff unprecedented mobile access to incident detection, diagnosis, triage and resolution.

Spurring the surge of interest and uptake has been Rove’s Dashboard, functionality that aggregates alerts, alarms, notifications and tickets from IT monitors and incident management systems, presents them to IT administrators directly on their mobile device’s screen, and makes it possible to drill down quickly into problem details to identify the cause and implement a fix.

“We use Microsoft’s System Center Operations Manager to monitor a wide variety of security and server health issues,” said Jeff Rountree, Global Network Manager for Dover’s Pump Solutions Group (PSG), a world-leading manufacturer of industrial pumps and compressors. “While email alerts for warnings and errors are available to us, setting them up takes a number of steps and our time. With the Rove Mobile Admin Dashboard my team can view alerts directly, without the need for any email escalations. The added value is being able to receive alerts regarding our Exchange and/or Blackberry servers even if they’re offline – as long we have network connectivity we can get the Rove Dashboard alerts and begin taking corrective action.”

“There is a growing awareness within IT organizations that robust, proven mobile solutions are required to effectively manage their networks and infrastructure,” said Russell Ure, President and COO, Rove. “Rove Mobile Admin is increasingly seen as the preferred solution to address these needs.”

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14th January 2011

Garage Inc Now Available for PC Gamers

Garage IncGarage Inc., TransGaming Studio’s latest title, which launched to critical acclaim last week, is now available for the PC. The strategic time management game can be purchased at GamersGate for $9.99 USD. Now PC gamers can experience the challenge of operating an auto repair shop as Italian immigrant Angelo while dealing with finances, prohibition and the mob in 1920’s era Chicago. Earn money and live the American dream while keeping your customers happy, hiring new automotive specialists and dealing with special jobs for the local Mafioso.

Bioware CorpBioware has released information on another region in the Dragon Age 2 world. Sundermount is the highest mountain the range surrounding Kirkwall, and folklore gives the mountain a fearsome reputation. Legend says that Sundermount was the site of a vicious battle sundermountwhere both sides unleashed horrors into the waking world, and unholy creatures prowl the heights to this very day, unaware that the war for which they were summoned is long since over.

bnotionsbnotions is inviting people to sign up for the beta of their upcoming location-based squad espionage game Urban Ops. According to the game’s blog, bnotions is hoping for a Toronto launch around February 15th, when they hope to add some fun for the users of FourSquare and other location-based services. The premise behind Urb-Ops is to turn your city into a game board complete with teams, upgrades, competitions and prizes. The company also states that they have some cool long term plans built around: real-time, augmented reality, minigames, sponsorships, playing cards, social media integration.

Content 360Developers are invited to enter the Content 360 Digital Creativity Festival Competitive Showcase to pitch your newest concepts in audience engagement to the global TV & media industry at MIPTV 2011 in Cannes, France this April 4th – 7th. The competition features four categories and offers your company the unique opportunity to win international recognition, meet new business partners and secure development contracts from prestigious media groups. Entries will be accepted until February 14th 2011

Interactive & Cross-Media Digital Entertainment Formats: FremantleMedia and RTL Group are looking for ideas that are strongly anchored in the digital space and fully adapted to the all-digital, all-connected world of today. Ideas should go beyond a TV experience with an online extension, focusing on multi-platform implementation and transmedia consumption. Submissions can include online apps, mobile apps, social media and gaming concepts.The winner of this category will be awarded €10,000 (approximately $13 000.00 CAD) in funding to further development and jointly exploit the winning idea.

Smart Phone App For Youth Engagement: The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is looking for apps to be developed as a companions or standalone products in relation to the NFB documentaries “Sexy Inc.” and “Staying Real,” which explore sexual stereotypes and hypersexualisation of preteens and teens in media. The winning app should demonstrate that smart phones and rich media tablets can be effective educational tools while being entertaining and engaging through the use of the latest digital technologies. The winner of this category will also receive a €12,000 (approximately $15 000.00 CAD) development contract.

Online & Social Game: Showcase your original social and online gaming ideas with innovative game design and similarly creative business models. Submissions should employ interactive features, social media elements and in-game revenue sources that engage the player community, such as play-along or pay-along content. Ideas can be based on a TV programme, film, toy character, or an original concept with a strong focus on a social, online or mobile experience.

Rich Media Tablet & Social TV Apps: Showcase the latest rich-media applications for smartphones or tablets that create deeper interaction with TV content through dual-screen viewing. These TV Apps can be downloadable on rich media tablets and smart phones or can be accessed online through web browsers. Concepts can be innovative new TV/Web interfaces, ideas and apps that create communities around TV programmes.

Loud Crow InteractiveLoud Crow Interactive has announced that the studio has partnered with bestselling children’s author and illustrator Sandra Boynton to develop and publish digital interactive versions of Boynton’s popular children’s books. Boynton has written over fifty books including four that reached the New York Times best sellers list, and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

The partnership will see Loud Crow develop and publish interactive digital books under a new imprint, Boynton Moo Media. The digital books will be based on Boynton’s titles, which include the popular Moo Baa La La La, The Going To Bed Book, and Barnyard Dance. The book apps will be produced for a variety of Going to bed bookdevices such as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Boynton is also a Grammy-nominated songwriter and record producer, with three gold record albums, and future plans also include musical apps that will feature Boynton’s well-known recordings.

Boynton Moo Media joins the PopOut! line of digital books including PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit which has earned industry awards for design and innovation. “As soon as I saw Loud Crow’s exquisite PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit, I knew I’d at last found the perfect collaborator for bringing my books into the digital realm, says Sandra Boynton. “It’s so exhilarating to work with Loud Crow’s elite team of wildly original developers. Plus they all have very cool Canadian accents.”

“Loud Crow has been seeking partnerships that would build upon the early success of our PopOut! brand of books. We’re extremely thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Sandy and her team to bring her line of popular children’s books to the digital medium. The Boynton Moo Media imprint allows Loud Crow to further diversify its catalog with quality interactive content that will provide a unique and rich reading experience to Sandy’s already wonderful books,” says Calvin Wang, Founder and President.

The first Boynton Moo Media title that will be produced is The Going To Bed Book which Publishers Weekly names as being one of the best selling children’s books of all time. The digital book will feature innovative interactive elements including touch and gesture-based animations, audio, and narration. Like all of Loud Crow’s books, The Going To Bed Book app will offer the educational read-to-me mode and word-repeat-by-touch functionality and will be narrated by British invasion singer, Billy J. Kramer. The Going to Bed Book app is currently scheduled for release in February of 2011.

CIXThe Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has announced that Chris Arsenault – Managing Partner at iNovia Capital Inc. – will become the third Co-Chair of Canada’s principal innovation conference. A veteran early-stage investor and technology entrepreneur, Mr. Arsenault will join standing Co-Chairs Rick Nathan and Robert Montgomery in overseeing the organization and execution of CIX.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chris Arsenault to our leadership team,” said Rick Nathan, Managing Director of Kensington Capital Partners Limited. “As an experienced technology investor and proven entrepreneurial success, as well as major figure in the Quebec Chris Arsenaultinnovation community, Chris brings an invaluable perspective and a wealth of expertise to CIX.”

“An active Advisory Board member for several years, Chris has already made a profound contribution to the success of CIX,” continued Robert Montgomery, CEO of Achilles Media Ltd. and First Maximilian Associates. “We’re looking forward to seeing Chris take an even more integral role in directing the conference. With his help, I am confident CIX will deliver an even greater value to the innovation community in the years to come.”

Chris Arsenault is Managing Partner at iNovia Capital and has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for seventeen years. In addition to CIX, Mr. Arsenault currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Airborne Technology Ventures, DFT Microsystems, Fixmo, Plastic Knowledge, Reflex Photonics, and Woozworld. Mr. Arsenault is an active board member of the Canadian Venture Capital Association and of the Silicon Valley-based C100 Organization (the Top Canadians in the Valley).

EA Sports FIFA World CupThe FIFA President had the pleasure of welcoming a special guest to the Home of FIFA this week when Nenad Stojkovic, FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion 2010, joined Joseph S. Blatter to celebrate the tournament’s entry into the latest version of the Guinness Book of Records.

The FIFA Interactive World Cup is now officially the largest gaming tournament in the world, with 775,000 competitors taking part in the 2010 edition of the event. This event climaxed in Barcelona in May 2010 when Nenad was crowned champion after defeating all challengers at the Grand Final.

“The FIFA Interactive World Cup is of great importance to FIFA’s portfolio of events” said Mr Blatter, “the tournament gives us the opportunity to engage with a wider target audience through a platform which is of high relevance to the next generations of football fans”.

These words were echoed by the Chief Editor of the Guinness World Records, Gaz Deaves, who congratulated FIFA and its Partners EA SPORTS™ and Sony Playstation, saying “The strength of the FIFA Interactive World Cup is a hugely impressive achievement and its 775,000 participants are a testament not only to the popularity of sports videogames but also to the incredible effort it takes to organise the biggest gaming tournament in the world. We are pleased to award this record to FIFA and look forward to seeing it broken in 2011.”

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This year’s edition of the FIFA Interactive World Cup now promises to be larger than ever, breaking its own record for the number of competitors. The tournament has a new format this year, with six online seasons making the event more accessible than ever. FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion Nenad has also committed himself to helping to improve the skills of fellow players all over the world. Every Friday a selection of Nenad’s favourite tips and tricks will be hosted on the FIFA Interactive World Cup section of the FIFA web site.

ipipelinePennsylvania-headquartered iPipeline®, a leader in on-demand software that supports marketing, selling, and processing solutions for the nation’s top insurance companies, has acquired the assets of Vancouver-based GaleForce® Solutions. GaleForce is a market leader in providing advanced CRM with client management, productivity, compliance and security tools, and industry-specific integrations to broker-dealers, banks, wealth management advisors, insurance agents, and other financial services professionals. The strategic acquisition establishes iPipeline’s immediate Canadian presence and brings additional key employees with CRM and related experience in financial services. iPipeline currently does business with a significant number of Canadian customers.

“The acquisition of GaleForce supports our strategy to establish a presence in Canada and penetrate the wealth management, banking and broker-dealer markets, while expanding our capabilities in the insurance industry. With diversified customers in Africa, Asia, Canada, Central America, Europe, Oceania, South America, and the US, we have taken the first step in creating a global footprint in the financial services industry,” said Tim Wallace, CEO, iPipeline. “GaleForce provides their target markets with comprehensive CRM solutions designed to enhance advisor and agent productivity, ensure regulatory compliance, and safeguard transactions, delivering a 360-degree view of all business activities with customers. GaleForce’s SaaS-based model and solutions portfolio mesh perfectly with iPipeline’s vision to transform ideas into solutions that revolutionize the financial services industry. The integration of their products with iPipeline’s Velocity platform will enable straight-through processing for Canadian as well as global financial services clients. We are thrilled to have the GaleForce team join the iPipeline family and are excited about expanding our solutions portfolio.”

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7th January 2011

New Adventures Await

Reminder: The deadline to pre-order Dragon Age 2 and get the free upgrade to the Signature Edition is January 11th.

Bioware CorpBioware has introduced another new companion character for Dragon Age 2. Enter Sebastian Vael, an archer of noble birth. Join the Exiled Prince in his quest to seek revenge for the brutal murder of his family and direct his righteous wrath on your enemies. Sebastian is a full companion character, complete with his own series of side missions. Gain the prince’s allegiance as part of The Exiled Prince downloadable pack included in the BioWare Signature Edition, or available separately for $7 or 560 Microsoft Points.

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Dragon Age 2 is a stand alone chapter in the Dragon Age franchise, and while it is not a pre-requisite to have played through the previous titles, players can import their Dragon Age files and impact how the story unfolds for them in this new chapter. Dragon Age 2 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, and is scheduled for release to the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 8th.

psychicparrot gamesPsychicParrot Games has released a free iPad app for pre-schoolers. My Own Farm is an interactive educational title, as each tap on the screen generates animal movement accompanied with that animal’s My Own Farmsound, in turn helping young children learn about the sounds farm animals make while keeping them entertained.

PsychicParrot is also the developer of Farm Jump, an Open-Feint enabled iOS mobile game that features tilt and lean controls that enable you to capture some cows and jump on floating sheep, helping Farmer Will get his sheep back in their pens. The game also features donkeys, eggs bacon, plus the ability to dress Farmer Will in a variety of costumes.

Play by leaning the device left and right as Farmer Will bounces from sheep to sheep. Look out for roosters. Roosters will help him get higher with a boost. Cows are also Farmer Will’s friends, so grab them when you can.

citeremisQuebec’s Citérémis has released Aztaka Developer’s Edition, with the objective of bringing together the independent developers and the gaming community into our “Quest for profitability.” According to the original game’s description, “Aztaka is an indie throwback to the good old side-scrolling actionaztaka developers edition RPG genre. In this gorgeous hand-painted world, you play Huitzilo, heir of the Sun God, able to wield both the spear and the spell. The watchful Gods have returned to their slumber and the evil Ehecalk becoming ever stronger is plotting. A mad power struggle to hold the seven Ancient Phonograms will ensue. You are the last hope of your people! Race across your once great land, reunite the Phonograms and restore prosperity to the Aztec Empire!”

Aztaka Key Features

* Plunge into a new and fresh universe.
* Manipulate spiritual energy, through an innovative hybrid control scheme to solve puzzles and vanquish foes
* Enhance and customize your character by training skills and abilities, and acquiring ancient artifacts.
* Embark on optional side-quests to acquire valuable items and gold.
* Acquire potions, rings, piercings and skills to aid in your travels.
* Twenty-one unique and detailed levels with grand, richly-detailed backdrops and fluid character animations

Purchasers of this Developers’ Edition will be able to enjoy the latest Aztaka release, the Aztaka OST and the Exotic Your Shape AppFrench Art book, as well as the complete game source code – all for the low introductory price of $9.99, which is 50% off the regular price.

UbisoftIn celebration of the New Year and a “New You,” Ubisoft has released the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App, which lets users view and manage their Your Shape profile and stats on-the-go, allowing them to quickly and easily track how many calories they’ve burned and monitor progress made towards their fitness or weight loss goals.

The Your Shape: Fitness Evolved App is a free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Even if you don’t own the game, discover the breakthrough technology used by Your Shape, check out our videos and meet the game’s fitness experts.

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5th January 2011

Behaviour Interactive President to Keynote at GameON Finance

behaviour gamesEA and Behaviour Games have released a few screenshots for upcoming movie-tie-in action-adventure game Rango Golden BulletRango, which invites players to continue on Rango’s wild journey through new adventures inspired by the movie. The game is set in the Old West town of ‘Dirt’ where players romp through a gritty, pint-sized, Wild West filled with wild rides, off-color characters and frantic shoot-outs.

“We are thrilled to be working with Paramount and the upcoming release of the video game version of its first animated feature,” said Sinjin Bain, Vice President of EA Partners at Electronic Arts. “Rango is a one-of-a-kind character that we know kids will love. We’re excited to give families worldwide the opportunity to take the humor and fun from the big screen into their living rooms.”

Tom Lesinski, President of Paramount Digital Entertainment stated that the studio is “pleased to team up with EA to deliver an exciting, action-packed adventure game that captures the spirit of the film and puts the fate of Dirt in Rango Zombiesplayers’ hands. We’ve added exciting twists and turns in the video game that will challenge players of all levels on their adventures as Rango.”

Rango is Paramount Pictures’ first full-length animated feature film. Rango the Game will be available on console platforms including the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, WiiTM and Nintendo DSTM in March 2011, when it will be launched simultaneously with the movie. Rango has not yet been rated by the ESRB.

Speaking of Behaviour, Interactive Ontario has Interactive Ontarioannounced that Rémi Racine, President and Executive Producer of Behaviour Interactive will be a keynote speaker at GameON: Finance 2011. Don Carmody, President of Don Carmody Productions, and Dino Patti, Co-Creator of LIMBO, and co-founder of Danish studio Playdead Games will also be featured keynote interviews at the conference, taking place on January 20 & 21 at the Design Exchange, Toronto.

For the past 18 years, Racine has positioned Behaviour as a world leader in the video game industry. Under his leadership, the company has ranked simultaneously amongst the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ and Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies™ from 2006 to 2008.

Carmody produced feature films Silent Hill and Resident Evil: Afterlife, which recently topped worldwide box office receipts of over $280 million – making it the most successful production in Canadian feature film history, surpassing previous box office champion PORKY’S, also produced by Don Carmody. In November 2010, Boondock Saints was released on the iPhone, iPad & iTouch.

Patti is co-creator of the critically acclaimed title, LIMBO, which has now received several international awards including two awards at the Independent Games Festival in San Francisco and 3 Milthons for Game of the Year, Best Indie Game and Best Visual Art at the European Games Awards.GameON Finance

GameON: Finance offers advice on transmedia digital game projects, and funding strategies on how to create a game or app that expands screen-based creative. GameON: Finance offers delegates the insider business and market knowledge needed to understand how to budget, build and finance your mobile, online, social, or ipad, game. Through one-on-one meetings, GameON: Finance fosters partnerships and connections needed to get a game financed, developed and distributed. Keynotes, panel discussions and interviews will cover boot-strapping, venture capital, government programs and alternate funding models.

UbisoftTwo brand new fitness programs for the Ubisoft’s Kinect exclusive fitness game Your Shape: Fitness Evolved are now available for download on the Xbox Live:

· “New Year New You”, a specific program to get back in shape after Xmas and New Year’s celebrations
· “Dance Workout: Bollywood”, a dance take on fitness, matching efficient exercise with Indian-inspired moves and atmosphere.Your Shape New Year

These 2 extra workouts are offered individually or as a bundle package. The bundle, including “New Year New You” and “Dance Workout: Bollywood” is priced at 560 Microsoft points, while each workout purchased individually costs 400 Microsoft points. In the first half of the calendar year, over 12 new pieces of add-on content for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will be released on Xbox Live. Two other workouts, the “Toned Body Program” and the “Cardio Boxing Platinum” are already available for download.

task aveThere is a new location-based task management app available in the iTunes App Store today for $2.99 USD. Task Ave., which hails from Toronto and was the winner of Startup Weekend Toronto last September.task ave screenshot

Task Ave.’s Features Include:

? Location-aware reminders with local notifications on iOS 4.0+
? Add, edit and delete tasks on a beautiful map or list view
? Drop or drag task pins on the map with an active task count
? Find locations with a search of nearby places or add your own
? Configure reminders’ proximity from 500m to 13km
? Switch location tracking between GPS and cell tower (battery friendly with iPhone 3GS & 4)
? Disable task reminders for specific locations or everything
? Remove completed tasks at an adjustable interval
? Disable anonymous data collection
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vanartsVanArts is now accepting applications for its Media Arts Boot Camp, which is open to BC high school students. Applications are due January 28, 2011. Late applications will not be considered. Seats are limited, so apply early! Students will be notified of their acceptance in early February 2011. Boot Camp recruits will have the opportunity to receive 4 days of hands-on training in one of these two courses:

Media Arts Boot Camp: This course will take students through the VanArts experience, introducing them to the variety of different programs we have to offer. They will be able to see how each program is unique, while seeing how they can also complement each other in the large scheme of the industries we train for.

Monday March 7: 2D Character Animation
Tuesday March 8: 3D Character Animation
Wednesday March 9: Game Art & Design
Thursday March 10: Visual Effects for Film & TV

Acting for Film & TV: For students who have aspirations of being a professional actor for film, television, or even theater, this is a great way to learn about the lifestyle of this industry, for 4 full days. Hands-on workshops will be explored and give students a chance to learn exactly what being an actor is all about, directly from professionals in the field.

Students will be selected based on a combination of factors: relevant experience, motivation behind their interest in the program of their choice, current grade and date of application. Priority will be given to Grade 12 students but other grades will always be considered. If selected, students must send a $50 administrative fee by an established deadline to confirm their enrollment.

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