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13th January 2010

Another Assassin’s Creed Coming – With MultiPlayer

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft has released their quarterly fiscal outlook, and while some areas reflect the dismal economic performance being seen around the globe and across all industries, the bombshell that immediately grabbed our attention – especially that of MMO enthusiast Michael, is news that there will be a third Assassin’s Creed in 2010. With multiplayer. This new expansion is over and above the two DLC additions already slated for release over the next couple of months, and is not an expansion on Assassin’s Creed 2. With the Assassin’s Creed franchise at the top of my own personal favourites, this is exciting news indeed. Of course with Ubisoft’s fiscal year for 2010 not beginning until April, this could well mean it will still be another year before this new chapter appears on game machines everywhere.

Disappointing news also contained in this press release was notification that Splinter Cell: Convictions has been held back until April, and the highly anticipated R.U.S.E., currently in development over in France, has also been delayed.

Not surprisingly, Avatar the Game did not sell as well as was anticipated. Whether or not this is because many families don’t yet own the levels of technology – such as 3Dtv – required to play this title in the manner for which it was developed, or simply because the storyline didn’t grab gamer attention as much as was hoped, remains to be seen.

Yves Guillemot

Yves Guillemot

Yves Guillemot, Chief Executive Officer, spoke to the news contained in the fiscal report, stating that “Despite a number of highly successful titles, such as Assassin’s Creed 2 – which is expected to reach 9 million sell-in units by the end of March 2010 – and Just Dance – our great Wii success during the holiday season – Ubisoft has not met its financial targets. The considerable contraction in the DS market during the year particularly affected Ubisoft, leading to a €160 million (approx. 240 million CAD), or almost 50%, year-on-year drop in the Company’s casual segment sales. At the same time, like in 2008, the year 2009 saw the release of many more very high-quality games than in the past. Against this backdrop and with a view to further reduce our exposure to the DS, we intend to continue to refocus our development resources on our major franchises and on the Xbox360 and PS3, the two consoles that are expected to see sales growth in games for gamers in 2010. Ubisoft has already demonstrated its capacity for success in the high-end games market thanks to Assassin’s Creed 2, with sales 40% higher than for the first title. The 2010-11 line-up – which is stronger in franchises for Xbox360 and PS3 – reflects our refocusing efforts and should enable us to both win market share and enhance our profitability.”

With that said, Ghost Recon fans will be happy to know that a new title in that franchise is coming, along with Raving Rabbids 4 and of course the highly publicized Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, along with a new Driver title. Hopefully we will see vast improvements in the Driver franchise with the release of this new title.

Something in the Ubisoft statement does concern me, though. There is mention that the company will be focusing on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which in the studio’s opinion are “the consoles which are expected to experience sustained sales growth in games for gamers in calendar 2010.” Does this mean that Ubisoft considers the Wii to be on the decline because of lower sales in the DS market? While the studio did also announce that other titles and innovations would be made public throughout the year, will the Rabbids be exiting from the Wii, the console which is credited with bringing families to the gaming arena – or will the Rabbids be Ubisoft’s main saving grace in the family market?

I do have to wonder about how Ubisoft concentrates its efforts on repeat business from franchise title fans (okay, I am guilty on that count), while not taking full advantage of the newer, high quality family titles like Academy of Champions Soccer from its Vancouver studio. While it certainly promoted the title to industry at E3 and GDC San Francisco, it did not, in my opinion at least, successfully promote the title to the buying public or to those buyers responsible for stocking stores, and I feel that this is one area in which the massive corporate hierarchy at Ubisoft fails – and could in part be responsible for lowered sales and lowered publicity – simply because there appears to be no logic or consistency in the flow of media relations and access to assets for publication and promotion (Ubisoft Corporate is not the only developer/publisher to be guilty of this). Perhaps this is an area which Ubisoft should be addressing when looking at their overall corporate performance as they enter their coming fiscal year – innovation isn’t important only in game development, it’s important in game marketing as well, because the times have changed, and not all game purchase dollars are spent the same way. In an age when citizens are urged to “buy local” – why not promote locally-made titles to the local buying public, so that they know when they spend money allocated to, say, family entertainment titles – they can base part of their decision on choosing to support a locally (or even nationally) made quality title, thereby also supporting their local economy.  This would add another selling feature to Canadian-made titles, kind of in the way clothing has a “Made in Canada” label, but that’s just my opinion.

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8th January 2010

News From IUGO, D-Box, Meridian4 and more

Vancouver – Following IUGO’s massively successful Zombie Attack! Zombie Attack Bridge Defensegames, ZA! and ZA! Second Wave, the indie studio has launched a free version of ZA! Second Wave titled Zombie Attack! Bridge Defense. As the titles suggests, the lite version contains the bridge map for users to sample kill a variety of zombies with cool new weapons. Second Wave features more maps and hordes of challenges in the full version. IUGO also recently unveiled their web site’s nice new design – head on over to check out its shiny awesomeness and all of IUGO’s titles today – and don’t forget to vote for IUGO and other great Canadian games, publishers and studios in our Reader’s Choice Canadian Video Game Awards – only one week left to vote!

palmAt CES: Palm released details about their developer kit for webOS during their 3D gaming announcement at the Expo, where they introduced several graphics-intensive game titles for webOS, from leading game developers EA Mobile™, Gameloft, Glu Mobile and Laminar Research. Demonstrated at Palm’s CES event, the games will be available today in the Palm App Catalog for Palm Pre customers.

“We are very excited about the potential of webOS as a platform for mobile 3D gaming,” said Katie Mitic, senior vice president, Product Marketing, Palm, Inc. “This is a key application category, and we’ve worked closely with some of the leading game developers to deliver a great game experience for our customers.”

“Recent improvements to Palm webOS represent major advancements in enabling world-class mobile gaming,” said Travis Boatman, vice president of Worldwide Studios for EA Mobile. “These innovations have allowed us to quickly bring our best IP to the platform.”

The developers introducing titles today have had early access to the Palm webOS Plug-in Development Kit (PDK), which extends the Palm webOS Software Development Kit (SDK) with a set of tools, documentation and APIs that let developers write plug-ins for their webOS applications. The PDK lets developers easily integrate C and C++ code into their webOS applications, enabling new functionality, including immersive 3D games. A public beta version of the webOS PDK is scheduled to be available to all developers in March.

“The performance of the platform allowed us to create these great games in a limited timeframe,” said Baudouin Corman, vice president of publishing, Americas, Gameloft. “webOS allows us to deliver an outstanding gaming experience, and we look forward to bringing our best games to Palm customers worldwide.”“We expect the plug-in model to play an important role in the evolution of the webOS platform, just as plug-ins have with web browsers,” said Mitic. “And with this plug-in, we are making it super-simple for developers to bring the hottest games to webOS.” Read the rest of this entry »

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7th January 2010

Funcom Canada Leader Named and Scrap Metal Goes To CES

funcomMontrealFuncom is delighted to announce a key nomination for its newly established Montreal based company, Funcom Games Canada. The award-winning Miguel Caron – who brings with him over 15 years of organizational leadership experience – has been appointed to serve as the CEO for Funcom Games Canada Inc.

“We are thrilled to have Miguel join us at Funcom,” says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. “Our Montreal based Company is central to a string of new business initiatives in Funcom, both in the high-end MMO space and in the casual MMO space. Mr. Caron will be

Miguel Caron

Miguel Caron

instrumental in developing and expanding those initiatives. We have already found Quebec and Montreal to be an excellent location for business and we look forward to further expand our operations here under the leadership for Miguel.”

Miguel Caron has a proven track record of driving strong, sustainable revenue and productivity gains within highly competitive national and global markets. Mr. Caron will take on leadership of several strategic initiatives for Funcom, in several different areas of the exciting MMO games segment. One of his first mandates will be to lead the growth in employees at the Montreal company.

“Funcom is renowned for quality productions such as ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ and the ‘Longest Journey’ series. I have found its management team to be extremely competent, which is of course a key aspect of being successful in such a competitive market. I look forward to bringing my business experience to help that management team generate even more value to all Funcom stakeholders,” stated Miguel Caron, the newly appointed CEO of Funcom Games Canada.

Mr. Caron has led successful public and private businesses such Lyrtech Inc. He was instrumental to the growth of many high-tech companies and won many awards like the Arista price for best young entrepreneur of the year for mid and large size company as well as the Deloitte Canadian Fast 50.

Funcom is a world leading independent developer and publisher of online games, and was founded in 1993. There are currently over 300 talented individuals from over 35 different nationalities working at Funcom, spread out across offices in Norway, China, Switzerland, Canada and the US. This makes Funcom one of the most multi-cultural game development studios in the world. The company is responsible for multiple award-winning titles such as the ‘Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures’ and ‘Anarchy Online’ MMOs, as well as the ‘The Longest Journey’ and ‘Dreamfall’ adventure games.

Slick EntertainmentVancouver – Independent development studio Slick Entertainment, best known for its work on the award-winning N+ for Xbox LIVE® Arcade, announced today that it would put the pedal to the metal at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with its newest gaming creation, Scrap Metal™. A certified Scrap Metal™ demoist at Microsoft’s CES 2010 location (Booth #7144, Central Hall) will offer tech journalists and gaming enthusiasts alike the opportunity to check out the new racing title Scrap Metal Gameexpected to launch on Xbox LIVE. Arcade this spring. Registered press and other attendees are invited to stop by the booth at any time, although guaranteed media appointments can be scheduled by contacting Carolyn Carnes of Flash Fire Communications.

Drift around corners with guns blazing and take out legendary competitors in the fast-paced, top-down racer, Scrap Metal™! Fight your way through explosive, action-packed missions and defeat cunning bosses to add their vehicles to your garage. Customize newly-acquired cars and return to the track to blast through more enemies. Then, jump online with Xbox LIVE® to race against friends and crush their cars with the wheels of a massive monster truck in pulse-pounding online multiplayer matches.

Goals On TrackLangleyGoalsOnTrack.com has just announced a 2010 New Year release version which can help you better set, track, and reach personal and professional goals. Using GoalsOnTrack.com’s simple, attractive web 2.0 style interface, people can set goals just about anything they want, from staying fit, to landing a job, to buying a home, or traveling around the globe. GoalsOnTrack.com can help you easily create a S.M.A.R.T. based goal, and then keeps you focused and on track with user-defined supporting tasks or action steps. By consistently adding and completing these tasks, the web site keeps track of your real progress on the goal, and you will be motivated to see the result of your effort toward accomplishing your goals. Beyond that, GoalsOnTrack has just released a rich set of features, such as vision board, habits tracker, etc.

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5th January 2010

Minh Le’s New Project Announced

FIX KoreaMany fans of the classic FPS and LAN tournament favourite have often wondered where Minh “Gooseman” Le has gone. Well, it turns out that since leaving Valve Software a few years ago, the former Vancouverite and SFU student joined Korean software developer FIX Korea in 2008, and they have just announced Minh Le’s current project – Tactical Intervention, will have a beta release in the first part of 2010.

Mihn Lee worked on various games including Counter-Strike for HL2, CS:Condition Zero, Tactical InterventionCS:Source, and Day of Defeat at Valve. Lee left Value because he wanted to create his own FPS. Lee started working on Tactical Intervention since 2006 and then joined FIX Korea two years ago as vice president.

Tactical Intervention takes aim at maximizing strategic team play. The game is being developed with the Source Engine and is set in the modern battle between terrorists and counter terrorism teams. Tactical Intervention is guaranteed to deliver real-like weapon and character design as well as K9 units and hostage NPCs with impeccable AI.

“The Counter-Strike-type of game is proven to be a success throughout regions such as Asia, Europe, and North America. It is quite challenging to balance between bringing out familiarity and new system at the same time. But I can guarantee you will have fun playing it,” said Mihn Lee.

Tactical Intervention is already licensed in North America and Europe and the developers are currently looking for publishing partners in other countries including Korea, Japan, China and in Southeast Asia.

Fuel IndustriesOttawaFuel Industries has released a new web application which is designed to make the following of topics on Twitter much easier. TweetYouThere is Tweet You Therecurrently in beta, and is showing the current tweets relating to this month’s CES in Las Vegas. TweetYouThere makes it simple to follow each company’s Twitter feed updates, and you can choose to view results either alphabetically or by popularity. Each company’s feed shows up in a sidebar window when you click on their respective names. I couldn’t find much in the way of information about this web app on the Fuel Industries’ site, but I would certainly be interested in learning more about TweetYouThere and finding what is in store for it in the future.

Independent Games FestivalCongratulations are due to Klei Entertainment, whose upcoming title Shank has been nominated to the IGF Awards, which take place at GDC San Francisco. Shank has been nominated in the Excellence in Visual Art category. Another Vancouver-made title in the running at IGF is Enviro-Bear, an iPhone-iTouch game designed and developed by Justin Smith. Enviro-Bear has been nominated for a Nuovo Award. Shank and Enviro-Bear are the only two Canadian titles which have been nominated for this year’s IGF. Good luck to both studios!

Sony EricssonToronto – Canadians will be among the first in the world to experience open and integrated social media, communication and entertainment with the launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia ™ X10 phone, which will make its North American debut first in Canada , exclusively from Rogers . The Xperia ™ X10 is expected to be available in the second quarter 2010.

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30th December 2009

Autodesk Invites Submissions for 2010 Show Reel

Reminder – There is less than 48 hours left to get your nominations in for our first Readers’ Choice Awards – don’t be shy or assume that someone else has nominated your title, character or studio – send in your own nomination, whether you’re a developer, PR specialist or gamer. All Canadian titles, components, studios and publishers are eligible.

Autodesk CanadaCalling All Canadian Game Dev Types Autodesk has issued a call for submissions for its 2010 Games Reel. Providing the perfect avenue to flaunt your work, the reel will be showcased at GDC from March 11-13, in San Francisco, Calif. Additionally, it will be streamed live on the AREA and featured on Autodesk’s Web site. If you’ve worked on any recent video game cinematics, trailers, in-game sequences and/or animations created with 3ds Max, HumanIK, Kynapse, Maya, MotionBuilder, Mudbox and/or Softimage, submit your work today. The deadline for imagery submissions is January 15, 2010 and for video submissions, January 29, 2010.

Website Music PlayerCampbell River – Independent musicians trying to find out how to sell music online can now use Website Music Player’s easy-to-install MP3 widget app that lets music artists take control of their income. Instead of handing over percentages to corporate media companies, musicians are able to set up a playlist of their own downloadable songs, and market them on social networking sites that already attract millions of visitors.

WebsiteMusicPlayer.com users can load their catalogue of songs into a flash MP3 player widget, choose a skin that color-coordinates with their website, and collect direct PayPal payments from the buyers who purchase their music tracks. Music sellers set their own prices and can track their sales info to help with future marketing plans.

Sellers have complete control over the entire process. They can create preview clips that allow buyer to hear enough to decide to purchase, yet don’t give away the entire song. The download process is protected and automated to allow hands-free delivery to the buyer, yet still protects the seller from having their download links illegally spread all over the web. Sellers can capture buyers’ emails to create a list of fans to notify when new songs are released. With the upgraded Platinum service, sellers can have their fans and associates sign up as their affiliates and sell music from their own website sites to increase sales and exposure.

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24th December 2009

Updates from KrabbitWorld and Some Christmas Cheer From Bootup Labs

Krabbit OnlineSurreyKrabbitSoft released has released KWO_AD, an advanced new demo for KrabbitWorld Origins. As an apology to web response to the current beginner focused demo, gamers will be immersed in true excitement of the game, experiencing the depth of game play and full game mechanics. Viewers will be entranced as the camera takes control playing out dramatic events krei portraitheralding each interactive segment. Witness Teella’s dramatic transformation from the lovely high priestess to the ghastly eyeless fallen. Acquire the advantage in the heat of battle with newly learned combo tactics. Play each of six level 92 Krabbits adorned in flaming, poison or ice bracers as you defeat the evil arch nemesis throughout numerous scenes. In the final epic battle defeat all characters you played.

Feedback from gamers has been very positive, with one gamer stating that “The game has one of the most insanely strategic combat systems I’ve ever seen in an RPG!” Another gamer felt that the new demo, which features dramatic story driven cut scene samples & easy to follow instructions is very exciting, saying that “It was cool to see what my characters can get and become!”

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Q1 2010 Features to look forward to include story driven cut scenes which will be integrated throughout the game, leading the player’s adventures. KWO Advanced Demo will be integrated as an advanced tutorial for the seasoned gamer, and quick keys tips screens will become accessible in game. Krabbitsoft has also announced that Party Play is also coming to Krabbit World Origins. Gather up to four party members consisting of both main and henchie Krabbits as you play through the quest stream. Experience your choice of six classes first hand, each with their unique powers and symbiotic weapon. Take control of individual party members at your discretion leaving the others to fight at your side or from a distance.

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23rd December 2009

Sales, Dev Programs, Social Media Projects and a Virtual Conference

playbrainsToday’s Super Special: Madballs in Babo Invasion by PlayBrains is currently available for 50% off on Steam. Grab this fast-paced action game for your PC from Steam (sale price $4.99 USD) or for your Xbox 360 from XBL MarketPlace for 800 MS Points and play as your XBLA Avatar as you campaign across distant worlds either solo or with four-player online co-op, taking no prisoners in your wake. Challenge your friends (and your enemies) to see who’s the baddest ball on the planet in no-holds-barred 16-player multiplayer arenas with freaky characters or with your 360 Avatar. Try out the Invasion Mode where combatants create the very worlds where they wage war. Dozens of unique character classes, weapons, special abilities, worlds, unlocks, secrets, maps, and game modes give you limitless gameplay. Madballs in Babo Invasion has been nominated in several categories for our 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards.

biracyVancouver – In the face of increased number of independent productions, increased production costs, diminished funding sources and limited funds available, forward-thinking members of the industry have been casting about for creative ways to fund films. An innately expensive undertaking, the making of a film is often decided by the deep pockets of the companies and individuals funding the project. These decisions can heavily influence the final product with ultimatums about creativity, casting, product placement, etc. Further, financial pressures are constraining the industry as piracy cuts into independent film revenues.

The Biracy Project™ is a social experiment in crowd-funded filmmaking which will build the audience in advance and give the audience the power to make decisions on how the film will be made.

“Let’s make a sustainable industry and allow the people who support it to benefit from the rewards” says Biracy CEO and Founder David Geertz; and added with a sarcastic chuckle “Ultimately, we’d love to end this piracy problem by making the pirate a buyer.”

Geertz has a solid history in the film industry ranging from production to media distribution. His frustration with the constraints placed on filmmakers by the financing bodies has led him and a solid team of experienced professionals to develop the Biracy Project™ concept.

The Biracy crowd-funding model starts with people choosing their membership level (minimum level is a $25 annual commitment). In exchange, members have access to regular updates via video and blog entries, they get to vote or provide other input on decisions that pertain to the development and production of the movie and they receive a copy of the completed film, To compensate members for their participation, the Biracy Project™ includes a members’ only game, the “Producer Challenge”. Game points are awarded for tasks completed by participating members. In addition to determining the winner of the Producer Challenge, game points will be used to allocate 75% of the movie proceeds among the membership. The winner of the Producer Challenge will receive the Grand Prize of an Associate Producer credit on the film together with appropriate financial compensation.

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22nd December 2009

Psychoz Releases Their First Title and Xona Updates Duality ZF

Psychoz InteractiveMontrealPsychoz Interactive is proud to announce its first iPhone/iPod touch title, Dead Strike is now available for purchase on the App Store.

Fight your way through a sprawling 3D, zombie-infested city as four survivors attempt to stop an outbreak of the living dead. The creation of an antidote depends on the group delivering a sample of the deadly virus to a hospital on the other side of the city. But as the foursome’s grim fight for survival continues, it becomes apparent that there’s more to the virus than anyone thought possible. As the group are systematically hunted by these abominations of nature, they soon discover that these cannibalistic monsters aren’t as mindless as they look.

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Dead Strike is the action-packed horror survival game the iPhone has been waiting for, with a powerful, twisted storyline, a brutal arsenal of weaponry, stunning graphics and more zombies than a BBQ at George Romero’s house. With a four player co-operative multiplayer mode coming soon in a free update, fans of Left 4 Dead, Killing Floor, Resident Evil and Silent Hill will devour Dead Strike, brains first!

Game Features:

* 46 levels, packed to bursting with legions of the undead.Dead Strike
* Unique abilities for each of the four characters.
* Nine different weapons including flamethrower, mini-gun and chainsaw.
* Original soundtrack with music and lyrics by Ben Spencer and Adrien Volpi
* Dynamic lighting, lens flare, mist and dust effects on all iPhone and iPod touch devices.
* Day and night battles.
* Choose a guns blazing action-packed approach or stealth tactics.
* Incredible AI where the undead react to sounds and action and can communicate with each other in real time.
* Frantic boss battles.
* Expansive and detailed 3D world to explore.
* Rich gripping storyline, edited and co-written by Pure Square Go.
* Buckets of blood splattering effects with sprays and splashes for full-on horror effect.
* Online high scores.

xona gamesYarmouth CountyXona Games has released a new trailer for their in-development title Duality ZF featuring some amazing game-play. In this video you will see the Boss Rush, which will unlocks once you beat the game; multi-directional controls, which unlock when beat all game modes with Dual Play control, and Dual Play control which will unlock once you beat all game modes in Solo Play. Duality ZF looks like one big, mad challenge waiting to happen – and has an awesome soundtrack from Imphenzia.

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21st December 2009

New Titles, Studies, Mergers, Events and a Little Holiday Cheer

Howling Moon GamesOntarioHowling Moon Games has released their newest iphone title Solar Advance in the iTunes App Store for 99 cents usd.

As the player, you are the intelligence controlling an advance technology Solar Advancethat can store the suns energy for use back on a distant planet. As the intelligence you will need to motion special matter that absorbs certain forms of energy. The energy that needs to be caught bursts from suns. Along its path it changes shape and colors. The color of the flare needs to be met by the same color matter for it to be harnessed.

Game Features:

* Each new level leaves the player with more matter to control, more color differences from the solar flares.
* A timer calculates your overall game score, preventing your MAT’s from being destroyed decreases your overall time.
* Each sun has a different gravitational pull.
* New Collapsing Star mode just for the iphone
* An amazing leaderboard system to keep track of your highscores
* Try and collect all the rewards

xona gamesYarmouth CountyXona Games has announced that their newest game, Decimation X is coming to Xbox LIVE Indie Games (XBLIG) in January 2010 for 80 Microsoft Points. Xona Games has not yet released a lot of promo material for the game, but according to the Decimation X web site, game play will revolve around intense retro-styled shoot ’em action for 1 – 4 players and feature music from Imphenzia.

Digital LeisureGormleyDigital Leisure’s Dragon’s Lair is now available for download via Nintendo’s DSiWare store. Rated by the ESRB as E10, Dragon’s Lair is Dragon's Lairavailable for 800 DSi Points.

Title Details: You play the heroic Dirk the Daring, a valiant knight on a quest to rescue the fair princess from the clutches of an evil dragon. Control the actions of the daring adventurer and find your way through the castle of a dark wizard who has enchanted it with treacherous monsters and obstacles. In the mysterious caverns below the castle, your odyssey continues against the awesome forces that oppose your journey to the dragon’s lair. Dragon’s Lair is a fully animated classic arcade game from legendary animator Don Bluth.

Game Developer ResearchGame Developer Research is pleased to announce the debut of its sixteenth report, the ‘Game Developer Census 2009‘. The in-depth 248-page report aims to create an accurate list of each significant developer and publisher within the video game industry in the United States and Canada, as well Industry Census 2009as an accurate list of staff averages for each company.

The Census report lists more than 700 companies alphabetically by U.S. state and Canadian province, along with general contact addresses, website information, estimates of employee numbers and details on their market specialties (from casual gaming, online gaming, mobile gaming and serious gaming to PC, handheld or console gaming).

Not included in the Game Developer Industry Census estimates are game tools company, game contracting/services company, PR, marketing, and external business service, or game distribution and retail professionals. The report is intended to be a valuable tool for game industry trendwatchers, contractors, service companies, and other entities wanting to acquire accurate information to reach out to the North American game market as a whole.

According to Techvibes, “The report reveals that the United States videogame industry employee count is essentially flat year-over-year, rising slightly from 44,400 to 44,806. The small rise in North American game industry employment was marked by an unusually high number of new studios – particularly in social and online gaming – springing up to counterbalance the many closures that occurred throughout the rest of the industry.

Canadian companies, however, saw growth that can almost be called explosive. The continued establishment of new studios and expansion of existing large studios led Canada’s the employee count in the Census to rise 30% year-over-year. The totals rose from 9,500 Canadian video game employees in 2008 to 12,480 in 2009.

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10th December 2009

Advances in Immersive Game Technology Abound

News from Skillz Systems, AMD, Intel and D-Box

QuickStickzHalifax – It’s that time of year, where thousands of enthusiasts head to the cold rinks to enjoy the sport of Hockey! Helping hockey players of all ages train their stick-handling skills, Halifax based Skillz Systems launched an interactive video game, called QuickStickz.

Hockey players can use any hockey stick, a computer and Internet access to play QuickStickz virtually anywhere and at anytime. The system includes cameras to track a custom ball and then feeds that Jacob Burke, age 12, improves his stickhandling skills with his head up, on the new QuickStickz productinformation to the training software on the player’s computer.

“What we’ve done is taken kids’ love of hockey and their love of video gaming and combined the two,” says Dean Dachyshyn, Skillz Systems Chief Operating Officer.

QuickStickz which launched just over a week ago, has been in beta testing over the past 2 years. Young eager hockey players across Nova Scotia were able to test and play the video game providing feedback, which was incorporated into the official product.

Endorsed by Buffalo Sabres assistant coach James Patrick and Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett, QuickStickz is poised to be the next generation training device. “We are looking forward to setting the hockey world on its ear with this revolutionary new training,” Dachyshyn says. Skillz Systems is a past participant and winner in the InnovaCorp I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition.

Dragon Age OriginsEdmontonBioWare re-invented the fantasy role-playing genre with its recent release of Dragon Age: Origins. With game patches issued days after the title’s debut, BioWare delivers full support for the visually striking AMD innovation, ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology. ATI Radeon graphics now give Dragon Age: Origins players the ultimate visual experience as they see more of this vivid in-game world, and at higher resolution. 1

* BioWare issued patches on Nov. 6 and Nov. 17, 2009 to fully enable Dragon Age: Origins on ATI Eyefinity technology, ensuring that gamers have access to ultra-widescreen resolutions for the ultimate visual experience.
* Experience even more of the fantasy world of Ferelden in Dragon Age: Origins by viewing it with an ultra-wide, three display configuration using ATI Eyefinity technology, allowing for a maximum resolution of 7680 x 1600.
* ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology allows seamless enablement of the biggest game environments available today. Gamers can arrange one to three displays using the ATI Radeon™ HD 5970, ATI Radeon™ HD 5870, ATI Radeon™ HD 5850, ATI Radeon™ HD 5770 or ATI Radeon™ HD 5750 graphics cards.2

“BioWare has made ATI Eyefinity compatibility a priority, and it speaks strongly to their belief in what AMDATI Eyefinity technology brings to the gaming experience,” said Neal Robison, director, ISV Relationship Management at AMD. “BioWare is known for creating rich, immersive gaming experiences, and it is clear that they appreciate how ATI Eyefinity technology found on the latest ATI Radeon cards, can help further enrich the experience for gamers.”

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