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29th November 2010

Magic Santa Is Giving Away A Trip To Walt Disney World

sympaticoCanadian users of the Magic Santa video platform now have another reason to share the joy of the holiday season – a chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World from Sympatico.ca. Canadian residents can win a family vacation valued at $10,000 by creating a free Magic Santa video message for the children in their lives, and then submitting a photo or video that captures the priceless expression on their child’s face as they watch their personalized Magic Santa video. Digital photo or video submissions can be uploaded to Sympatico.ca’s user-generated-content (UGC) platform until December 19, 2010.

kids help phone

Magic Santa is a video platform and application that enables parents and extended family members to very quickly and easily create and then view personalized and unique video messages to their kids from Santa.  Creating a video takes less than five minutes, with users submitting only essential information (no complex questionnaire), yet will leave a lasting impression as children marvel at the idea that Santa knows their name, what they want for Christmas, and more. The free service is available both online and as a free downloadable iPhone application from the iTunes App Store. Whether a video message was created using Magic Santa online or the iPhone app, families can “share the magic” with others through Facebook, Twitter or email at the click of a button.

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

This holiday season, Sympatico.ca is also sharing the magic with Kids Help Phone, Canada’s only phone and on-line counselling service for youth, by donating $0.25 to the organization for every Magic Santa video created, up to $50,000.

“Magic Santa was created to bring the magic of the holidays to life for kids. With the launch of our Magic Santa contest, that magic can now live on at Walt Disney World for one lucky family,” says Michele Ferrari, SVP – Portal Content English, Business Strategy at Sympatico.ca. “We are proud to be helping parents share the joy of Christmas with their families, and at the same time enabling those families to support Kids Help Phone, an incredible organization that is there for kids across the country whenever they need someone to talk to.”

Magic Santa is not only a free application, it is also free of advertising, enabling Sympatico.ca to help families across Canada keep the spirit of Christmas alive for young kids, without commercialization.

Photo and Video Submission Guidelines

– All entries submitted to contest.magicsanta.ca will be reviewed for eligibility according to the contest rules. Eligible entries will be processed within one to three business days after a submission has been made.magic santa

– There is a per person limit of one contest entry per day and ten contest entries over the entire contest period.

– The odds of winning depend on the number of valid entries received during the contest period.

– The contest runs until December 19, 2010 at 11:50pm (ET).

– On December 21, 2010 at 1:00pm (ET), one entry will be randomly drawn from all eligible entries received during the contest period.

– Full contest rules are available online.

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29th November 2010

EA Sports Named As A Whitecaps FC Founding Partner

Electronic Arts Inc. and Vancouver Whitecaps FC have announced that EA Sports has EA Sportsbecome a Whitecaps FC Founding Partner and the club’s Official Video game Partner. The deal marks EA’s first partnership with a North American soccer club and places Whitecaps FC alongside world-class European clubs like Chelsea FC, Arsenal FC, and Real Madrid CF, all current partners with EA Sports.

Through this relationship, EA Sports will showcase its FIFA Soccer video game franchise through Whitecaps FC, including signage, broadcast, and game applications. Similar to its work with European clubs, EA Sports will expand its current relationship with the Whitecaps to explore new ways to enhance its video game experience and create greater authenticity inside of its EA Sports FIFA Soccer products. In addition, EA Sports and Whitecaps FC are committed to working together in the months ahead to create and launch a program for youth development designed to support the growth of soccer locally and nationally.EA Sports and WhiteCaps Partnership

According to internal EA sales data, the EA Sports FIFA Soccer franchise has sold more than 100 million units thus far, and FIFA Soccer 11 is the best-selling sports video game in the world. Whitecaps FC and BC Place Stadium will be included in FIFA Soccer 12, enabling fans to play with the Whitecaps MLS team in their new home before the stadium is actually complete. In addition, a limited number of FIFA Soccer 12 games will be available in British Columbia in specially designed Whitecaps FC branding.

“We’re thrilled to join Whitecaps FC as a Founding Partner, as they enter into their inaugural season in MLS,” said EA Sports Vice President and General Manager of Soccer, Matt Bilbey. “EA Sports has a long history of supporting soccer clubs internationally, and with the success of MLS, it’s the perfect time to bring this support to North America at the club level. British Columbia has been home to the FIFA Soccer franchise for 18 years, and now more than 1,200 EA employees at our Burnaby studio, so we pledge our support to work with Whitecaps FC to develop soccer here in the province and inspire the youth Whitecaps FCthat play this game.”

As Official Video game Partner of Whitecaps FC, EA Sports will have exclusive access to Whitecaps FC players to motion capture and turn into the life-like movement of the virtual players in future versions of EA’s FIFA Soccer games. The FIFA development team will also explore new ways to leverage MLS matches at BC Place to deliver improved authenticity in its games that match the complexity, finesse, and excitement of a real-world soccer match. EA Sports will also access players, staff, and its passionate fans to test early versions of its soccer products.

“Through innovative and interactive technology, EA Sports will bring football fans closer to the game than ever before,” said Paul Barber, chief executive officer, Whitecaps FC. “We are very pleased to welcome a global company with local roots on board—especially one of EA’s calibre—and we look forward to working together to build excitement for the launch of Major League Soccer in Vancouver.”

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29th November 2010

Sarbakan To Develop Two Kinect Titles

Game Prototype ChallengeAttention game devs – Game Prototype Challenge founder Jason Kaplan will officially announce Game Prototype Challenge V2 at noon EST on Wednesday, December 1. The new themes will be announced on December 13th, and the challenge will run from December 13 through December 20th. Get your thinking caps on, limber up those design skills and get ready for some informal designing fun. If you aren’t familiar with Game Prototype Challenge, check out their site and see all of the great ideas that were shared in Version 1.

Sarbakan Game StudioQuebec-based Sarbakan Game Studio has announced an agreement has been signed with a multinational corporation for the creation of multiple games on Microsoft’s Kinect, the controller-free, motion-based gaming device for the Xbox 360, released in November 2010.

Under the agreement, Sarbakan will develop two games, yet to be named publicly, based on the Kinect platform. The games, which will be sold in retail stores across the United States and Europe next year, are just the beginning of what promises to be a new era in video game development. More details on Sarbakan’s Kinect development and this partnership will be available over the upcoming months.

“We are truly poised as a forward-developing studio,” said Guy Boucher, President of Sarbakan. “As we broadened our services to include iOS and Kinect platforms, our existing and potential partners have really Pirates of the Caribbean Cursed Cave Crusaderamped up their creative development with Sarbakan to provide their titles and brands across multiple platforms.”

Along with the partnership announcement, Sarbakan has launched a revamp of its corporate web site. With a new look and high-tech underpinnings, the web site provides Sarbakan clients, partners and friends easier access to all Sarbakan has to offer in innovative game design and development. Although the web site is only it is first phase, visitors can quickly view the company’s latest developments and keep up-to-date on upcoming happenings. New features and information will be added over the course of the upcoming months.

With its indie vibe but larger-than-life ambitions, Sarbakan is on the hunt for talented, high-octane candidates, from game designers to programmers, to fulfill the company’s growing needs. Interested candidates can contact Sarbakan to learn more. Zombies and pencil pushers need not apply.

Previous titles from Sarbakan include The Incredibles save The Day, Pirates of the Caribbean Cursed Cave Crusade and Tron: Legacy Digital DJ web games and Wizards of Waverly Place: Spellbound on the Nintendo DS for Disney Interactive as well as Lazy Raiders for XBLA.

Sunday MuseAs a leading voice actor specializing in animation, Sunday Muse has become the go-to person for those wanting to learn how to become an actor in the animation industry. Her original techniques show students how they can animate their bodies and voice through connecting to the emotions and actions of the characters they’re playing.

Sunday Muse joins Voice Over Experts with her podcast lesson on “How to Introduce Your Child to Voice Acting” to help parents prepare their children for getting involved in cartoon voice acting. Sunday’s podcast is full of industry knowledge, casting expectations and exciting tips that will help parents prepare their child You Can Do Voices Toofor what it might be like to be a working voice over actor. Sunday has also produced a book with CD titled You Can Do Cartoon Voices, Too! and it is currently listed on her site for a limited-time special of 30% off.

The Voice Over Experts is hosted by Voices.com, the online voice over marketplace. The podcasts are an educational library of free voice acting lessons designed for those just starting out and are a treasure trove of resources for established voice actors who want to refine their knowledge and skills from the privacy of their own home and at their own pace. The Voice Over Experts Podcast can be found in the iTunes Podcast Directory and online at the Voices.com Podcast Center.

Whistler Film FestivalWhistler Film Festival 2010 now has an app for that – their new iPhone app is now available in the App Store. Developed by QuickMobile, this free app will allow you to access the 10th Anniversary Whistler Film Festival (running December 1st through 5th) from the palm of your hand. Get inspired by filmmaker interviews, panels, industry programmes, and behind-the-scenes coverage.nextMEDIA Toronto

NextMedia Toronto is currently underway, and if you were unable to attend, there are loads of live tweets to be found, just search the #nextmedia hashtag on twitter. If you are in the Toronto area and would like attend tomorrow, there are still day passes available.

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario has sent out the announcement for their next iLunch event, which will be held on December 10th at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel. Titled Relationships with Multiple Partners: Can It Work, this session will feature case-studies on creative partnerships, how these relationships were instigated and structured, plus highlights of the challenges and successes producing the resulting properties. Knowing and securing the right partners for your project is paramount to its success, and featured speakers James Milward (Secret Location), Trevor Fencott (Bedlam Games) and Garry Flahive (NFB) will focus your attention on several key points, including cross platform relationships, methodology, ROI, brand expansion, the limitations and benefits of IDM partnerships and much, much more. Purchase your tickets now to get the whole story.

Shaw CableOn the heels of raising 2.6 million pounds of food and $250,000 as part of the Fill the Food Banks campaign (PDF), Shaw has launched Shaw’s Amazing Family Reunion contest, the next initiative in their Together is Amazing movement.

The contest invites Canadians to create a virtual scrapbook page sharing their story of why together is amazingthey would like to reunite their family. Ten deserving families will be chosen by a panel of judges and will create their dream family reunion, each valued up to $25,000.

“There is nothing more heartwarming than seeing families come together,” said Brad Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications Inc. “Over the past couple of months we’ve had the great pleasure of watching as our communities united to fill food banks across Canada as part of our Together is Amazing movement. Nothing would make us happier than to see that sense of ‘togetherness’ continue.”

Canadians can enter online from November 29, 2010 to January 15, 2011. Entries are limited to one per person, and applicants are asked to create virtual scrapbooks of their family memories and their dream reunion as part of the submission process.flightnetwork on blackberry

flight networkFlight Network, one of Canada’s leaders in online travel, has launched its free iPhone, and BlackBerry mobile applications. Unique to the FlightNetwork.com, this mobile application offers the ability to search and compare the lowest airfares available in the country, then seamlessly book a flight within the native app, without being re-directed to another webpage or having to telephone in payment information.

Additional features of the FlightNetwork.com mobile application include an option to connect instantly with one of FlightNetwork.com’s 65 flight specialists for customer support. Also, easy sharing of airfares with friends and family is available through email, Facebook and Twitter. It also allows customers to book in either US or Canadian dollars and provides secure 128 bit encryption for payments.

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