26th April 2011

THQ And Games Workshop Extend License Deal

THQTHQ and Games Workshop have announced a multi-year extension to their successful video game license agreement, extending THQ’s current exclusive rights to publish video games based on the popular Warhammer® 40,000® universe through titles across all relevant platforms including core, social and mobile rights.Relic Entertainment

Since entering the licensing agreement with Games Workshop, THQ has published several highly successful titles based on the intellectual property (IP), including the Warhammer® 40,000®: Dawn of War® real-time-strategy games for PC systems that have shipped 6.5 million units to date. Two fresh interpretations of the Warhammer 40,000 IP are currently in development; one by THQ Relic Entertainment: Warhammer® 40,000®: Space MarineTM – a third-person shooter for the Xbox 360® , PlayStation®3 and PC set to release later this year – and Space MarineWarhammer® 40,000®: Dark MillenniumTM Online, a massively multiplayer online game exploring the deep fiction and myriad races of the IP which is in development at Vigil Games in Austin, Texas.

“The complex, futuristic war-torn universe created by Games Workshop equipped THQ’s award-winning development teams with the material to create one of the most loved PC franchises – Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War,” said Brian Farrell, THQ President and CEO. “Our envisioning of the Warhammer 40,000 universe will continue to grow with top quality games across all platforms, including the upcoming launches of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine and Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online.”

“The impressive translation of the Warhammer 40,000 universe from the tabletop to the video game space by THQ certainly highlights the potential of our most successful intellectual property in the right hands,” said Mark Wells, Games Workshop CEO. “We know that the depth of the storylines, characters and imagery of the Warhammer 40,000 universe positions the IP to excel across many media platforms – and extending our agreement with THQ will help ensure that Warhammer 40,000 maintains a strong and growing presence in the video game space.”

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20th April 2011

Relic Expands Dawn of War 2 Universe With Last Standalone

Relic EntertainmentRelic Entertainment has released it’s very popular Dawn of War II play mode The Last Stand as a new stand alone playable game. Dawn of War II Retribution: The Last Standalone is Dawn of War 2 Retribution The Last Standaloneavailable for purchase on Steam for $9.99 USD. This latest offering in the Dawn of War world is a cooperative survival mode where you control a single hero and face off against waves of enemies along with two other teammates. You can take on the enemy in two different co-op arenas with one of the six available heroes. Gain experience points to level up and unlock new war gear and abilities for your characters. Players can also customize their character’s abilities to create the ultimate build and fight off twenty waves of increasingly devastating enemies as well as track ratings against other gamers and see how your different builds match up.

The Vancouver studio has also released a slew of new screenshots for Space Marine. Head on over to the official Space Marine vs Orks on CrackFacebook Fan Page to check them all out. The intense 3rd person action shooter RPG Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine chapter takes place in the brutal, science fiction setting of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe. In the 41st Millennium, humanity faces extinction at the hands of horrific aliens and demonic hordes. Only one force can offer salvation: the superhuman Space Marines. Who will come out the victor as the Imperial Forces battle against feral Orks and the powers of Chaos? Will UltraMarine Captain Titus be able to hold back the Renegade Militia, Tainted Psykers and Bloodletter Daemons? The fate of the Universe will be in the hands of gamers this summer when Space Marine launches on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC this August.

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28th March 2011

T-Virus Outbreak Pinpointed Near Granville Island

CAPCOMCapcom® has offiically announced that Resident Evil®: Operation Raccoon City, is in development at Vancouver’s Slant Six Games for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360® and PC with a scheduled Winter 2011 release. In addition it was also confirmed that the forthcoming Nintendo 3DS™ title, Slant Six GamesResident Evil®: The Mercenaries 3D,will ship with a playable demo of Resident Evil® Revelations.

Since the launch of the first title 15 years ago the Resident Evil® series has enjoyed phenomenal success, selling over 45 million units worldwide to date. This latest offering will take the series in a completely new direction and offer a style of gameplay yet to be seen from the franchise.

Resident Evil Outbreak Zone

Resident Evil Outbreak Zone

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City delivers a true third person team based shooter experience set within the dark and sinister Resident Evil universe and a reinterpretation of the events depicted in Resident Evil® 2 and Resident Evil® 3. The setting of the Resident Evil universe not only provides a rich backdrop to the action but delivers a unique and thrilling triple threat battle. Zombies and Bio-Organic Weapons (B.O.W’s) add to the mix as players not only compete against an opposing squad but also tackle this third unpredictable element, creating a brand new style of gameplay and breaking the conventions of traditional team based shooters.

It is September 1998 and the action centers once more on the ill-fated Raccoon City and the horrific consequences of the deadly T-virus outbreak from the Umbrella facility. With a cover up required, Umbrella orders an elite team into Raccoon City to destroy all evidence of the outbreak and eliminate any survivors. Hearing of this plan, the US Government dispatches its own special forces to uncover any evidence that exposes the cause of the viral infection and Umbrella’s actions. Players take on the role of an Umbrella Security Services soldier (U.S.S.), competing alone or in four player co-op in a battle against all the competing forces at play in Raccoon City.

Expect the return of original Resident Evil enemies, iconic landmarks such as the Raccoon City Police Department and fan favorite characters, including Leon S. Kennedy, who as a rookie police officer in Raccoon City is on your hit list to eliminate. Players will experience a retelling of classic moments from past titles Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 and watch the events unfolding from the menacing perspective of the Umbrella Security Service, giving fans the chance to rewrite the history of the Raccoon City outbreak. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th March 2011

Follow Friday For March 25th

Reminder to all Canadian IDM developers: Take the Pixel To Product Digital Economy Survey. It’s important, and it only takes a few minutes. Follow Pixel To Product on Twitter at 49Pixels

So we are starting our weekend with a non-confidence vote in Parliament, which means we technically have no government and are headed for a Federal election. This also means that all of the Federal parties will be stepping up their campaigns of nastiness. As I said on Twitter earlier – please, please, please stop with the finger pointing. Instead of telling us why every other party is evil, tell Canadians truthfully why your party is awesome, be prepared to back it up with quantifiable proof, and let’s move on. Enough with the playground bully tactics, okay?3DS boxshot Act like the intellectual adults you’re supposed to be and take the responsibility you are asking voters to give you more seriously.

The bonus is that it’s Friday, and that means tomorrow is Nintendo 3DS Launch event day, so if you’re in Toronto or Vancouver, you can get some hands-on time with the 3DS before the midnight sales events at Future Shop. Vancouver’s pre-launch event will be taking place from 6pm until midnight at TD Square (corner of Granville & Georgia streets) and then moving over to the Robson & Granville Future Shop for the midnight opening.

The Toronto pre-launch event will be taking place at Yonge-Dundas Square also from 6pm until midnight, with the midnight sales launch at the Future Shop located at 325 Yonge Street. In support of Earth Hour between 8:30pm-Chun-Li Martini9:30pm, Nintendo Canada will turn off the lights and not draw any electrical power at its dedicated event space. Follow Nintendo on Twitter.

Last evening was the second iteration of the Women In Games Vancouver Martini Night, and while there weren’t as many ladies as at the first event, there was still a good turnout and new connections were made amongst those who attended. Last evening’s Chun Li Martini, created by our awesome Rogue bartender, also appeared to be a big hit; I was driving, so didn’t try it. Martini Night, which for now is supposed to be a ladies only social event, is intended to give women who work in the creative industry a place to network and talk about issues in the industry that are important to them. We hope you will come out for the next Martini Night in April – details to be announced. Follow Women In Games Vancouver on Twitter.

Canadian Games ConferenceThe Canadian Games Conference organizers would like you all to know that tickets are now on sale for both the conference and the Canadian Video Game Awards, and they’ve announced the first round of confirmed speakers. Follow the Canadian Games Conference and Canadian Video Games on Twitter.

The Canadian Games Conference is a two-day conference/exhibition that brings together some of the industry’s top innovators, businesses and talent responsible for the explosive growth of the gaming industry, providing a platform to share knowledge and develop industry partnerships. The Conference, which takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on May 19th and 20th will be preceded by the Canadian Video Game awards on May 18th, at the Centre for Performing Arts. The Awards will be hosted by Electric Playground’s Victor Lucas and will featuring a live performance by Video Games Live.  As an added bonus, tickets start at just $30 for CGC pass holders, $37 for ESAC and CIAIC members, or $45 for the general public. Tickets for the Awards show can be purchased through Ticketmaster.  Public voting for Game of the Year will start April 15th on the CVA website. Follow Electric Playground, Victor Lucas and Video Games Live on Twitter

Announcing the first round of confirmed sessions:

  • Musing About Cloud – Denis Dyak, Silicon Knights
  • How FIFA Stumbled on a New Business Model – Paul Hossack, EA
  • How MMOs Really Work – Simon Ludgate, Soulrift and Craig Morrison, Funcom
  • On-Line Everywhere – Cyrus Greenall, Ubisoft Vancouver
  • The Design Evolution of HOARD – Tyler Sigman, Big Sandwich Games
  • Use Social Media Marketing to Grow Your Studio – Matt Tanner, Snowed in Studios
  • So You Want to be a Game Programmer? – Karl Schmidt, THQ
  • Microsoft KINECT Showcase
  • How to Self Fund Development – RBC and Export Development Canada
  • Cross Platform iOS Development – Wolfgang Hamann, Koolhaus Games
  • DO Sweat the Small Stuff – Kris Piotrowski, Capybara Games

Follow Export Development Canada, RBC, EA, Funcom, Ubisoft Vancouver, Big Sandwich Games, Snowed In Studios, THQ, and Capybara Games on Twitter.

Relic EntertainmentThe news that everyone (especially The Cavechild) has been waiting for and that you all probably already know is that THQ and Relic Entertainment announced late yesterday that Triple A title Space Marine finally has a release date – or, release month, anyway.  Set in the rich Warhammer 40,000 universe created by Games Workshop®, Space Marine is a single-player 3rd person campaign-styled action-shooter. This latest entry into the Warhammer 40 000 franchise will not only feature the brutal and feral Orks, but also the dark and sinister forces of Chaos.Space Marine

Space Marine puts players into the role of one of humanity’s elite soldiers, as they battle to protect an Imperial Forge World from a millions-strong Ork invasion. But this isn’t all that faces Captain Titus of the Ultramarines. When Titus makes planet-fall, he soon realizes that the forces of Chaos are lurking in the shadows pulling the strings for their own nefarious purposes.

The addition of Chaos forces adds more variety to the Space Marine single-player campaign by complementing the animalistic and horde-like Orks with a much more powerful and strategic enemy. While Titus can dispatch dozens of Orks alone, the Chaos Space Marines are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with him, especially with the support of Renegade Militia, Tainted Psykers and Bloodletter Daemons, among other units. Space Marine is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. Follow Relic and SpaceMarine on Twitter.

tiny hipposDev studio Tiny Hippos has been acquired by Research In Motion. A press release on the Tiny Hippo states that the studio is  “extremely excited about our future at RIM and continuing to grow and support Ripple. This is a great step towards our goal of providing a cross-platform mobile application development and testing tool to developers worldwide.  Specifically, we will be working to bring BlackBerry support to the Ripple product.

We also want to reassure all new and existing users that we expect that the Ripple product will continue to be offered for download and the team will continue to develop features, provide support, and help grow the mobile application developer community. We would like to extend a special thank you to all of you that have supported and believed in us.” Follow Tiny Hippos and RIM on Twitter.

Toon BoomToon Boom Animation Inc. has released the first of its first line up of fun mobile apps for the iOS App Store. Toon Boom has launched Flip Boom Lite for the iPhone and iPod, a fun app flipboom litethat lets your fingertips doodle, scribble or draw fun animations. Flip Boom Lite is already available for the iPad and has received rave reviews. Both apps are free in the App Store and let you discover the fun of animation creation. The company will be releasing more features for their apps in future updates.

“Toon Boom’s fun applications lend themselves perfectly for the iPod, iPhone and iPad. You can discover how easy creating animation can be while having coffee or waiting for a meeting,” said Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toon Boom Animation. Follow Toon Boom on Twitter.

rock hippo productionsRock Hippo Productions Ltd is pleased to announce that after only two weeks in the open beta phase, the MicroVolts player population has soared and continues growing rapidly every day.  To celebrate its success, MicroVolts will host a number of events where players will have the opportunity to win fantastic prizes including an iPad 2.  The events start tomorrow March 26 and will continue through April 11!

To thank the active and growing community, MicroVolts will host the MicroVolts iPad 2 contest where they will be giving away two custom MicroVolts iPad 2’s.  Players who rack up 10 hours of play in one week will automatically be entered into the drawing.  The first event will take place between March 28 through April 4, and the second iPad 2 drawing for 10 hours of play will take place between April  4-11. Additionally, this weekend between March 26th and 27th, MicroVolts will give out 2,000 bonus experience points for everyone who plays at least three hours! microvolts

MicroVolts features fast paced, third person shooter action and pits players against each other in a secret battle that has been waged and going unnoticed right in our own backyard for years.  No one knows for sure when or where the first toy declared war but rumor has it that the uprising began with four original limited edition figures, code named MicroVolts. Battle lines were drawn when Naomi, Knox, Pandora, and C.H.I.P.-the prototypes a-were soon joined by an endless number of modified versions. Now, toy figures around the world are engaged in an all-out war for valuable battery resources and supremacy of the Micro World.  All we can do now is stay out of their way and wait for a champion to be declared!

With a ton of weapons, inventive character designs, and a huge list of customization features, MicroVolts is destined to invigorate and re-energize the Free2play space. Intuitive controls and a third person view make the game easy to play and fun for both newcomers and veterans of shooter games.  Game modes include Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Item Match, Capture the Battery, and many more featuring various maps designed by toy concept. Follow Microvolts on Twitter.

Family ChannelFamily Channel is giving viewers a sneak preview of Canadian live-action tween show Debra! on the evening of April 22nd. Produced by Cookie Jar Entertainment, Debra! follows Debra Delong, an effervescent teen with a unique style and outlook on the world who is determined to start her own business. Debra’s best friend Preston is sometimes reluctant to become embroiled in Debra’s ambitious schemes but always manages to stick by her side. Debra! was created by Andrew Nicolls and Darrel Vickers (Jimmy Neutron, Fairly OddParents, Back to the Barnyard) and marks Cookie Jar Entertainment’s first live-action series for Family Channel. Follow Family Channel on Twitter.

Absolute SoftwareAbsolute® Software Corporation has announced that the company will be presenting at the Government Security Conference & Expo (GovSec) on next-generation solutions for endpoint security and management of mobile devices in Washington, DC on March 31.

Geoff Glave, senior product manager at Absolute, will discuss the growing challenges facing IT in managing and securing the endpoint. He will focus on the need for a layered approach to security, which is now, more than ever, essential to an environment that consists of multiple devices across multiple platforms.

“The mobile landscape is changing dramatically for IT organizations and they need to be prepared more than ever to mitigate the risks posed by mobile data,” states Rob Chase, chief operating officer at Absolute Software. “Absolute is uniquely positioned with cross platform and device support, persistence, and emergency response services. Our solutions provide organizations with actionable intelligence to effectively secure and manage their endpoints and the valuable data on them.” Follow Absolute on Twitter.

teletoonThe season finale of the TELETOON original series Total Drama World Tour premieres on Sunday, April 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and TELETOON is keeping everyone in suspense – even the contestants. This season’s winner will be decided by the fans through an online vote beginning Sunday, March 27, with the winning contestant revealed during the final episode on Sunday, April 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Before the winner is revealed, TELETOON will pay tribute to the three remaining contestants, Alejandro, Cody and Heather, with special episodes in the weeks leading up to the finale. One tribute episode will air on each of the first three Sundays in April at 8 p.m. ET/PT taking a look back at each of the finalists’ journeys from the beginning of this season all the way to the finale. On Sunday, April 24, the finale will air as part of a special four-episode marathon beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT with the three most recent episodes followed by the season finale at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

When viewers visit the Teletoon site to fill out their ballots for the winner beginning Sunday, March 27, they can also enter a contest for the chance to be animated into their very own Total Drama character and conduct an interview with animated host Chris MacLean.

Total Drama World Tour brings an international twist and musical spin to the popular Total Drama animated franchise. This season continued the series’ hilarious tradition of parodying reality shows by bringing back some of the fan-favourite past contestants and a few exciting new faces. The crew’s latest chance at fame and fortune saw them fly all over the world for a chance at another million-dollar grand prize while facing the kind of scary, embarrassing and even disgusting challenges that Total Drama fans have come to expect. Total Drama World Tour is created and produced by Toronto’s Fresh TV Inc. Follow Teletoon on Twitter.

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15th March 2011

A Hive Of Activity In The Digital Media Sector


Released: Homefront from THQ is in stores today. The PC version of this game was developed in Canada by Digital Extremes, a small detail glaringly overlooked in many of the press releases sent out by THQ, including today’s launch releases.

Meetup: Vancouver Social Games will be holding a Meetup on March 23rd at The Revel Room.

chicken balls HDReleased: Endloop Systems has launched their latest title on the iTunes App Store. Chicken Balls HD for the iPad is currently on sale, so take this opportunity to join the fray as the bravest chicken this side of New Mexico. It’s the summer of 1947, you’ve just come back from the Great War and had hoped to hang up your flight cap for good. When a UFO crash lands just outside the nearby town of Roswell you knew you’d have to take to the skies – one more time. Chicken Balls is a puzzle game that makes use of both slingshot and pachinko-styled physics to help you save the planet.

Updated: Shaw Media’s Video On Demand app for the iPhone and iPod Touch lets you search through new releases, Shaw Appcoming soon, comedies, dramas, thrillers, classics, TV series and more. Read a short description of your selection, hit order and turn on your TV to enjoy the show. New features in this update include:

• Let your friends know what you’re watching through Facebook, Twitter or Email.
• See which movies are Coming Soon to Shaw Video On Demand.
• Choose to be notified when selected Coming Soon movies are released (IOS 4.0+).
• User interface improvements to make finding content easier and faster.
• Auto-suggest in Search.
• View your order History.
• Indication of TV episodes that you’ve already watched.
• Foreign language filtering.
• Auto-loading of more items in lists.

Now if they could just add an “OMG I forgot to set the PVR” feature to this app…

Today’s trailer feature is for Prototype 2, currently in development at Vancouver’s Radical Entertainment.

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

Nothing like a bird’s eye view of the big city.

Deloitte Technology Fast 500Apply Now: Could your Canadian tech company be one of the nation’s Fast 50? Here’s the application and here’s the categories:

  • Technology Fast 50TM ranking Recognizing the 50 fastest growing tech companies with the highest percentage revenue growth over five years.
  • Companies-to-Watch award Honouring younger, promising Canadian tech companies that are in business for less than 5 years.
  • Technology Green 15TM award recognizes Canada’s leading GreenTech companies, including any technology that promotes a more efficient use and re-use of the earth’s resources in industrial production and consumption.
  • Technology Fast 50TM Leadership award Their ability to create a distinct competitive advantage in a high-growth market allows them to dominate their sector and quickly join the ranks of other Canadian global leaders.  Chosen by Deloitte and its sponsors from the applicants to the Technology Fast 50TM ranking, these companies are the elite members of the Canadian technology industry

CBCApply Before May 20th: The CBC Prime Time Television Program is tailored to address the individual’s creative & craft needs as well as the industry’s ever changing marketplace & business practices. Our residents gain a solid understanding of the importance of collaborative work and how to successfully marry creative inspiration with industry savoir-faire.

The curriculum of the CBC Prime Time Television Program takes the following approaches:

* Training on an individual, discipline specific and story department level.
* Individual mentorship, constant self analysis and critical feedback are central to developing a writer’s creative & professional integrity
* Strong business/career management skills are critical to their success and our priority is to arm our writers with confidence in their skills, an expanded network of peers, strong TV spec scripts and a viable original series package to shop.

CeLEA - ACEeLThe Canadian eLearning Enterprise Alliance (CeLEA) has introduced the first survey in what the Alliance hopes will become a regular series of surveys of the elearning landscape in Canada. This initial survey is intended to gather general information from a broad cross section of industry participants. CeLEA is particularly interested in the commercial elearning sector and in future surveys we will address specific issues, challenges and opportunities within that part of the eLearning industry.

If you or your company falls within this demographic, the Alliance would greatly appreciate a few moments of your time to respond to the survey. Responses will be collected over the coming few weeks, after which the results will be analyzed and a summary presented through the CeLEA web site.

MIGSThe 8th edition of the Montreal International Game Summit (MIGS) will be held at the Hilton Bonaventure of Montreal this November 1st and 2nd. The MIGS team is seeking local and international game industry experts interested in presenting at MIGS and therefore contributing to the quality of the event. All session proposals must fall within one of the following five tracks: Arts & VFX, Business, Design, Production and Technology. Interested professionals can apply via the MIGS website before April 4th.

“Montreal Shines” is the new slogan for the 8th edition of the event. “This theme is full of meaning. It reminds people that Canada, thanks in part to Montreal, is now the third worldwide game development cluster. It also reflects the bubbling created by this gathering of industry professionals at MIGS, as well as its radiance on the global scene”, says Marie Claude Bernard, director of the event.

Last year, the MIGS welcomed more than 80 speakers from all over the world. “The 2010 edition was truly successful, thanks in great part to its substantial schedule. We’re aiming at no less than surpassing that success by offering an even richer one this year!”, proudly announces Ms Bernard.

CIRAEntries for the .CA Impact Awards are approaching the 500 mark. The Canadian Internet Registry Authority (CIRA) encourages other impactful websites to enter and compete for the chance of winning $5,000 and national recognition.

“The overwhelming number of entries has surpassed all of our expectations here at CIRA,” says CIRA’s president and CEO, Byron Holland. “This is proof that Canadians truly live in a society that values the importance of .CA websites.”

The .CA Impact Awards are designed to recognize youth, educators, not-for-profit organizations, small businesses, technology developers and web designers for their innovation, the quality of their work, and the impact of their .CA websites and applications.

There are only two weeks remaining to enter your website and have a chance at winning $5,000 and the recognition of being the most impactful .CA website in your category.

There are four broad categories for entries:

  • Small Business – celebrating a company whose website or application has helped a business contribute to its community, foster sales or create jobs.
  • eLearning – recognizing youth and educators who use their .CA website to share knowledge and promote education.
  • Not-for-Profit – distinguishing an NGO or association whose website or application is making a difference in the lives of members, donors, or the public.
  • Web Technology and Design – recognizing individuals and organizations for innovation and impact in enhancing the speed, reliability, practicality and/or security of the Internet for all users.

Entries for the awards will be received until 11:59 p.m. (PT) March 25, 2011. Judging takes place in April 2011 and the inaugural awards will be presented at the mesh Conference in Toronto on May 24, 2011, all expenses paid for the four winners.

Mood MediaMood Media Corporation has  entered the Chinese market as part of its long-term global growth strategy. China’s booming retail sector represents a major opportunity for Mood Media to further deploy its in-store media solutions in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Lorne Abony, CEO and Chairman for Mood Media Corporation stated that “China presents a fantastic opportunity for our global expansion plans. While in-store media is mature and well understood in most territories around the world, it is still considered a new segment in China. This is changing quickly as Chinese retailers are starting to understand the substantial sales uplift a managed media service generates. We also know the timing is perfect for Mood Media to activate its expansion growth plan as aggressive measures are being undertaken by the Chinese government to enforce copyright protection and to legalize how media is reproduced and broadcast.”

Mood Media currently provides music services in China to Western brands such as Polo, Puma, Coach, Costa coffee and Hilton hotel group. The company is currently in discussions with many potential new Chinese partners. A key element of the initiative is to deepen its network of industry and government relationships that are required for navigating China’s complex regulatory environment.

Mood Media plans to become a key player in China’s vast and growing retail sector. In the first two months of this year China’s retail sales rose 15.8 percent year on year to 2.9018 trillion yuan (441.67 billion U.S. dollars), according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

destiny mediaThe US Court action between Vancouver’s Destiny Media Technologies, Inc. and Toronto’s Yangaroo has concluded. Yangaroo had filed a complaint for patent infringement against Destiny on May 5 2009, claiming that Destiny’s Play MPE® secure distribution system infringed on their US patent number 7,529,712, issued the same day.

On June 7, 2010, the Honorable William C. Griesbach ruled in Destiny’s favor, directing the Clerk to dismiss Yangaroo’s claim in its entirety. Yangaroo appealed this decision, and on March 10th, 2011 three circuit judges heard oral arguments in Washington DC and on March 14th, affirmed the original decision, dismissing the lawsuit in its entirety. Destiny Media noted that it will be filing a motion for costs.

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1st March 2011

Fight Night Champion and Rango The Video Game In Stores Now

EA SportsEA SportsFight Night Champion is now available in North America and will launch worldwide on March 4, 2011. Fight Night Champion is an intense and deep new mature experience that builds on the rich legacy of the Fight Night series, which is one of the most critically acclaimed sports franchises of the past five years. Fight Night Champion full version and demo version are available for the Xbox 360® and the PlayStation®3. The game has been rated M for Mature by the ESRB.

Fight Night Champion features new gameplay innovation that delivers the rawness and brutality of the most realistic boxing simulation ever created. The title is packed with a deep menu of new modes and features, including: the all-new cinematic, narrative-driven Champion Mode; more than 50 licensed boxers including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao; Full Spectrum Punch Control; the deepest career mode yet, Online Gyms, and much more.

“The EA Sports Fight Night franchise has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation in sports videogames, from ushering in the new console generation in 2006 with Fight Night Round 3, to Fight Night RoFight Night Championund 4 which introduced real world physics to the franchise two years ago,” said Dale Jackson, General Manager, Fighting, EA Sports. “Fight Night Champion advances the critically-acclaimed series with genre-defining new gameplay innovation, a deep feature set and an all new type of experience for the EA Sports gamer.”

Champion Mode brings cinematic storytelling to the Fight Night franchise and is the first such story mode in EA Sports history. Written by Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Will Rokos, Champion Mode allows players to step into the shoes of up-and-coming middleweight prospect, Andre Bishop, as he discovers that the road to becoming a champion in professional boxing is one that is filled with corruption, personal struggle and more than just what happens between the ropes.

Fight Night Champion also introduces a host of gameplay improvements. 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 Fight Night Champion.

behaviour gamesParamount Digital Entertainment, Electronic Arts Inc. and Behaviour Interactive would like to remind you that Rango The Videogame, rated E by the ESRB, is now available worldwide for the PlayStation®3, Xbox 360®, Wii™ and Nintendo DS™. This action-adventure game is inspired by the forthcoming Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies animated feature film, Rango in theaters on March 4th . Set in the gritty, Wild West town of Dirt and filled with wily and whimsical characters, Rango The Videogame invites players to continue on Rango’s wild Rango Zombiesjourney with all new tall tales, brimming with intense action and outlandish scenarios inspired by the movie.

“Rango’s fondness for telling tall tales allowed us to push the limits in creating new adventures for players of all ages to enjoy,” said Thomas Lesinski, President of Paramount Digital Entertainment. “We worked closely with the Rango filmmaking team on a unique game storyline and integrating stunning visuals from the film to create a game that delivers a great variety of game play that has already impressed the critics.”

Rango The Videogame lets players explore a wide variety of environments featured within and beyond the film and challenges them to achieve near-impossible feats as they work to uncover a plot that threatens the entire population of Dirt. Along the way, players will encounter Zombie rodents, Alien spaceships and even an 8-bit shootout inside an arcade machine. This family-friendly title captures the spirit and humor of the movie, with an extended storyline that goes beyond the vivid world of Dirt. Some of the features include:

Rango’s All New Tall Tales – Play as the quick-thinking chameleon Rango, the best Sheriff the town of Dirt has ever known, and explore a variety of new missions and environments that expand beyond those seen in the film.
Ride Roadrunners and Desert Bats – Speed through the desert atop these unconventional chariots as players engage in extraordinary acrobatic gunplay and more.
Interact with the Dirtonians – From a group of mariachi birds that provide color commentary to a gang of wild rabbits, the townsfolk of Dirt will provide no shortage of fun and entertainment.
Wild West Action and Adventure – Face hordes of hostile zombie rodents as you show the town who’s boss in good, old-fashioned shootouts where fists are flyin’ and spurs are shinin.’

pocketgamerI just realized that I forgot to check on which studios UK-based PocketGamer named to the top 10 and top 20 sections of its Top 50 last week, and upon checking see that GameLoft and EA Mobile were listed at number 1 and number 10 respectively. While neither developer/publisher produces 100% Canadian product, they do have a large number of mobile games developed in Canada, and both have major dev houses in Quebec, so congratulations to both of them. PocketGamer has also revealed the winners of its 2011 Awards, and again Canadian-made products were honoured.

Best iPhone Freemium Game: Lil’ Pirates (Capcom Mobile) – developed by IUGO Mobile Entertainment
Best Developer: GameLoft – in both iPhone-iPod Touch and Mobile categories
Best Publisher: EA Mobile – in iPhone-iPod Touch and iPad categories
Best Developer: Hemisphere Games in iPad Category
Best Action/Arcade Game: Mirror’s Edge for iPad (EA Mobile)
Best Sports/Driving Game: Madden NFL 11 for iPad (EA Mobile)

QuickPlay MediaQuickPlay Media has unveiled Pocket Cinema™ – a service that offers consumers the ability to download, rent and watch popular movies on their video-enabled mobile device. Initially, the service is available exclusively for BlackBerry® TorchTM 9800 smartphone customers in the UK. Over time, QuickPlay plans to extend the service to additional mobile platforms and geographical markets. Customers who purchase a BlackBerry Torch from UK retailer Phones4U in March 2011 will receive a voucher for a complimentary movie download from the service.

Beginning today, BlackBerry Torch users will have access to a catalogue of hundreds of films by simply downloading Pocket Cinema on BlackBerry App World™. Users will then be able to access the movies on their BlackBerry® smartphone. Once downloaded over Wi-Fi®, the film is cached on the device and available for an unlimited number of views for 48 hours. Users don’t need a mobile signal or network connection in order to view films they have downloaded.

techdataTech Data Canada has introduced the StreamOneSM Software License Selector, a new application only available on techdata.ca. The Software License Selector is the first in a series of exclusive e-business services the company is building on its new StreamOne software platform, which improves how the channel sells and distributes software by making it more efficient and less complex.

The StreamOne Software License Selector significantly surpasses contemporary software license tools in breadth and ease-of-use. In four simple steps, the StreamOne Software License Selector guides resellers through the entire software-purchasing process, sifting through hundreds of thousands of software SKUs and each vendors’ complex licensing rules to identify the right software part number, the most accurate pricing and the correct license type.

The StreamOne Software License Selector establishes the industry’s most accurate and efficient software license distribution channel, reducing the cycle time from quote to license from days to minutes. For resellers, it lowers licensing processing costs, instantly provides accurate pricing and makes it easy to attach software to all hardware sales. For vendors, it provides the opportunity to increase their channel partners as more resellers will now be able to sell software using the Software License Selector.

The StreamOne Software License Selector automates tasks like SKU selection and order qualification for 27 major software vendors—representing more than 99 percent of the software licenses purchased through Tech Data. The StreamOne Software License Selector aims to quickly solidify Tech Data’s position as the premier software license distributor for the world’s leading software companies. Additionally, the StreamOne Software License Selector will help Tech Data strengthen software sales, especially among small and medium businesses.

Software vendors supported by the StreamOne Software License Selector include: Absolute Software, Acronis, Adobe, Autodesk, BitDefender, Computer Associates, Check Point, Corel, Diskeeper, Double-Take, Filemaker, Ipswitch, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Parallels, Red Hat, Sage Act!, SAP, SCO, SolarWinds, Symantec, Trend Micro, Vasco, VMware.

Wicked InteractiveMission Against Terror (M.A.T.), a free-to-play shooter published by Toronto’s Wicked Interactive, has teamed with GamerSaloon.com, the world’s largest player-to-player videogame tournament network, for cash prizes. To get things started right, GamerSaloon.com is hosting a special kickoff competition.

“We are very excited to be working with Wicked Interactive. Mission Against Terror is an excellent addition to our competitive roster,” said Justin Becker, Director of Affiliated Partnerships, GamerSaloon.com. “Whereas other pay and free-to-play titles claim to be perfectly balanced for robust, satisfying competitive gameplay, M.A.T. delivers, thanks to the significant investment that was made in developing the title along with the constant user-generated improvements and enhancements.”Mission Against Terror

“We are thrilled to be part of this opportunity,” said Sam Ho, Director, Wicked Interactive. “GamerSaloon.com is a gamer community unlike any other. Rather than just talking big, games on GamerSaloon.com back up their talk with cold, hard cash.”

How to Get Started:

1. Download M.A.T. from GamerSaloon.com (www.gamersaloon.com) to be entered into a sweepstakes to win $50 Bonus Cash
2. Spend your Bonus Cash however you see fit on tournaments, generating winnings and what-have you.
3. Invite your friends to join you for the chance to win. (4- and 8-man competitions available)

Special Kickoff Competition Prizes:

1st Place: $100 + headset
2nd Place: $25 + headset
3rd Place: headset

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25th February 2011

Follow Friday News

Reminder: Early Bird Registration for the Toronto Screenwriting Conference closes on February 28th.

Contest: Enflick, Inc. is holding a logo re-design contest for the PingChat logo.
Contest: Best Buy Canada and HP Canada have teamed up to revitalize someone’s home office
Contest: SteelSeries is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge giveaway.

Giveaway: The iPad HD version of Garage Inc from TransGaming Studios is free until February 28th. Get it now.

Pre-Order: Mac Gamers can pre-order Dragon Age 2 and The Sims Medieval from GameTree Mac. Release dates are March 8th for Dragon Age 2 and March 22nd Victor and Scottfor The Sims Medieval.

Appointment: Michael MacMillan has been appointed to the Fuse Powered Board of Directors. In his role on the company’s board, MacMillan will be responsible for working closely with Fuse Powered’s senior management team in solidifying and executing the company’s strategic direction.

Taking Over The World: Electric Playground is now available for American users of Hulu. Congratulations to everyone at the EP studio!

New Release: IUGO’s first music game Pricklees is now available on the App Store. It’s free so go download now! More characters and tracks may be unlocked for $1.99 USD.pricklees

“We see room for creativity and innovation in the music genre,” states IUGO’s VP of BD Sarah Thomson “What companies like Tapulous have done is incredible. They have proven their formula to be successful time and time again. But we feel there is so much opportunity to create a unique game mechanic and appeal to an even broader market. We wanted to combine the brilliance of music-based games such as the Tap Tap series with the cuteness and personality of broad appeal titles such as Angry Birds.”

Cinematic Intro: A preview of the opening moments from Dawn of War II: Retribution by Relic Entertainment is now live on YouTube. This latest chapter in the Warhammer 40 000 saga will be on store shelves on March 1st

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A special pre-launch event for Retribution was just announced on the Dawn of War community forums. A four hour game play special with members of Relic’s game test team facing off against members of the community. The fun begins at 2pm PST on Sunday, February 27th.

Yummy InteractiveYummy Interactive Inc. has announced a partnership agreement with BattleFront.com, worldwide publisher of wargaming and strategy combat video games. BattleFront.com has selected Yummy Interactive’s GameShield to securely manage licensing and activation of downloadable and mail order game products at its game portal.

“Delivering our games in an unobtrusive, simple download and mail order experience to our community members is paramount to us. With GameShield, we will be able to securely extend our digital products to new channels and also be able to offer game bundles and extra downloadable content, such as add-ons and expansion packs, with a smooth user interface for end users,” said Martin van Balkom, President of BattleFront.com.

“By selecting our complete DRM solution for their PC and Mac game downloads and mail order products, Battlefront.com can further expand their online distribution channel and storefront, confident they can support their partners and optimize digital sales with our flexible license management tools,” said Chris Hennebery, VP Software Distribution at Yummy Interactive. “The premium DRM technology that GameShield provides not only protects content but enables new and secured ways of bringing gamers downloadable games and post-sale content.”

Launch Trailer: Rango The Video Game, developed by Behaviour, will be released next week for  the Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Here is the newest game trailer.

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Source Studio has released Proto Defense – free downloadable content (DLC) for their space shooter game ProtoGalaxy, on Steam for the PC. The downloadable content delivers a brand new level of play for ProtoGalaxy, enabling players to experience the game’s enhanced editor powers and map-building source studiofeatures.

The DLC will be downloaded automatically for anyone who owns ProtoGalaxy, and to celebrate the DLC launch, ProtoGalaxy is available for 50% off until March 2.  Proto Defense is a completely different genre than the previous levels. The original release of the game consisted of action and adventure levels, where the players were constantly on the offense. The new downloadable content consists of  a tower defense-style level, where players must strategically defend themselves against incoming attacks.protogalaxy

“We’re showcasing a brand new level of game play in ProtoGalaxy that gamers have yet to experience,” said Alex Brown, CEO and founder of Source Studio. “We have been gathering valuable feedback since we released ProtoGalaxy last October, and with the new level added, the game takes on a different dimension of play,” Brown added.

Proto Defense contains the following:

  • New level with tower defense tactics
  • Pick from a big selection of turrets.
  • Reposition your turrets at any time to deal extra damage.
  • Take down huge bosses.
  • Compete in leaderboards for the highest score.
  • Tackle 8 new challenging achievements.
  • Built using the ProtoGalaxy Editor.

In ProtoGalaxy, up to four players can team up, configure their ship and upgrade their weapons in order to defend earth from powerful alien invaders. Throughout the game, players brave fierce battles, solve challenging puzzles, and explore the far reaches of the galaxy in order to end the attacks and rebuild a home for the survivors.

Game features:

  • Level editor
  • Single and multi-player mode (up to 4 players)
  • Array of weapon choice
  • Ship customization with large selection of parts
  • Use physics to solve problems
  • Save progress online and play from anywhere

Source Studio will be attending the Games Developers Conference and will showcasing  ProtoGalaxy, along with the DLC at the Newfoundland and Labrador booth (booth #1924).

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23rd February 2011

Digital Developments

Note: The World Wide Short Film Fest has opened Screenplay Giveaway to submissions.
Note: Nominations now open to Canada’s emerging technology companies for PricewaterhouseCoopers 2011 Innovator of the Year Award.

Game Prototype ChallengeThe third Game Prototype Challenge ended earlier this week with a total of ten game submissions centering around the theme of Loneliness and Dimensions. There are some very cool ideas in this last round, and considering that they were all done as side projects between February 14th and February 21st just makes them even better. The Challenge just keeps growing with every iteration, and I am looking forward to seeing comes out in the next one in March.Hothead Games

The final installment of the Ask Dr. Mike video series has been released by Hothead Games. Check out the in-studio rivalry between Producer Joel DeYoung and Lead Designer Pete Low as Joel tries to trump Pete’s new high score in the upcoming platformer Swarm.

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Watch the gameplay carefully and listen closely to the commentary for some inside secrets on game-play and high scoring tactics. See how the sacrificing of squishy blue guys will lead you to multiplier supremacy and achievement completion.

University of WaterlooPost-secondary students these days have so many cool new specialty areas to study, sometimes I wish I could go back to school full-time. Yes, I liked school. Except for Math. And Science. History, Law and English – those were my favourites. There weren’t really any courses leading towards any specific type of creative career when I was in high school, not counting the classes for performing arts or traditional trades like welding and wood-working.

A new graduate studies programme has been introduced at Waterloo University’s Stratford Campus. The Master of Digital Innovation (MDI) is a one year project-based interdisciplinary degree programme. Students will work through the programme as they would if they were working for an employer, in teams, working on core projects. Throughout the process of completing these projects, students will consult with faculty and industry partners, gaining hands-on experience in many areas, including Team Building, Design Thinking and Business Modelling as well as Marketing Strategy and Critical Cultural Analysis. That last one sounds like it involves Math.

This new full-time program, which will be offered for the first time in Fall 2011 pending final Ontario Council on Graduate Studies approval, will take place over three consecutive terms: Fall, Winter and Spring.

The Fall Session will focus on Working in Teams, Principles of Marketing in a Globalized World, Digital Media Solutions Design and New Perspectives on Media History and Analysis.  During the Winter Session, students will continue Working in Teams as they look at Digital Media Solutions: Project Management, Media Innovation and Impact as well as Understanding the Consumer Universe. The Spring session focuses entirely on Projects.

Longbow GamesLongbow Games has launched the latest game in their Hegemony series of historical RTS wargames. Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece expands upon last year’s PAX 10 finalist Hegemony: Philip of Macedon, adding two new campaigns and an all new diplomacy system plus an open sandbox mode with 26 playable factions and significant gameplay upgrades and refinements. The game is available online from Longbow, priced at $29.99 for the complete version or $9.99 as an upgrade from the original game.

“After spending the last year building a community and talking to fans about what they liked best in the first Hegemony, we’re really excited to show off all that we’ve added for Hegemony Gold,” said Jim McNally, President and Lead Designer of Hegemony Gold Wars of Ancient GreeceLongbow Games. “Not only do the new features significantly expand the range and depth of the tactics in Hegemony but the new campaigns and sandbox mode exponentially increase the amount of gameplay available.”

Conquer the ancient Greek world in Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece, a real-time strategy wargame that expands and refines the award-winning Hegemony: Philip of Macedon with brand new content and features. Experience the full range of warfare from reconnaissance and raids to field battles and mountain blockades as you campaign across a continuous satellite-accurate map of ancient Greece. Siege and starve your enemy by cutting their supply lines or burning their crops, all the while building and protecting your own supply network to support your growing kingdom. Play as Macedonia, Athens, or Sparta in the three historical campaigns, or choose one of the 26 factions in the epic sandbox mode and forge your own empire. With a dynamic new diplomacy system and greatly expanded tactics, Hegemony Gold sets the new standard for ancient IUGOwarfare.

IUGO Mobile Entertainment has released a trailer for its latest announced title, Pricklees, which has been submitted to Apple for approval. Jump, duck and roll to the beat with the Pricklees in this new music game that features 3 adorable characters you wish you could cuddle, if they weren’t covered in prickles.

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There are 3 levels of difficulty in the game: easy, medium and hard for tons of replayability, with more unlockable content through IAP. Dead easy controls and intuitive UI in dynamic 2D/3D environments allow for unique rhythm-based gameplay with 7 Fresh Electronic tracks and more songs coming in future updates.

TVOTVO is pleased to announce the launch of its new digital Public Archive, a free online resource that unlocks four decades of made-at-TVO educational programming that stands the test of time. The centerpiece of TVO’s 40th anniversary celebrations, TVO’s Public Archive is full of rare moments in television history including:

* popular Saturday Night at the Movies host Elwy Yost’s conversations with film legends of the 70s and 80s;
* insights from some of the greatest minds in science and technology like Richard Dawkins, John Polanyi, Carl Sagan and Steve Wozniak;
* interviews with political leaders including every Ontario Premier since John Robarts;
* rare moments with Canadian icons like Mordecai Richler, Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence and John Candy;
* and Canadian heroes like Jane Jacobs, June Callwood and Roberta Bondar.

TVO’s Public Archive is a valuable resource for researchers, filmmakers, writers, bloggers and anyone who wants to learn more about the cultural history that has made Ontario what it is today, and features beloved TVO programs that have defined TVO over the years. It launches with over 375 programs and segments that would take more than five days to watch.

The site includes episodes of Polka Dot Door, Today’s Special, Prisoners of Gravity, Imprint, Realities, Studio 2, the interviews portion of Saturday Night at the Movies, The Education of Mike McManus, Between the Lines and more. It also includes the new “Think Again” podcast series where programs are re-cut and re-mixed, examining important issues and placing them in context of the world today. New content that can be searched by program title, year, guest, subject or playlist will be added to the Public Archive regularly.

OMDCThe Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) today launched a major international TV, print and online campaign to showcase Ontario’s thriving cultural media sector. The campaign encourages consumers and investors to “be part of it” by buying Ontario’s award-winning cultural media products and investing in the province’s dynamic companies.

The six-week television campaign, showcasing more than 80 Ontario companies and world-renowned cultural exports, features a soundtrack by indie band Metric, which won the 2010 Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. The campaign was created by Toronto ad agency Brandworks International Inc. and will be supported by print and online ads in a variety of Canadian, U.S. and U.K. publications, along with an interactive website.

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Ontario’s entire creative cluster includes: book and magazine publishing, film and television, interactive digital media, music, performing arts, radio, advertising, architecture and design. Together, they contribute more than $ 12.2 billion to the provincial GDP and employ more than 300,000 people.

ubisoftUbisoft is going on tour with its Kinect titles, but it seems BC is not on the list, at least not yet. One would think that BC would be on the list considering that Ubisoft has a development studio in Vancouver. The only confirmed locations thus far are for Halifax, when they will be visiting the Halifax Discovery Centre on February 25th and 26th before moving on to the Wal-Mart at Halifax Shopping Centre on February 27th. All other provinces are listed as “Coming Soon” with BC and all three territories not appearing on the schedule at all.

frima studioFrima Studio has earned two of the five nominations given out for the Best PS3/PSP Mini Game by Sony Computer Entertainment of America for its 2011 PlayStation®Network Gamers’ Choice Awards. Frima’s latest effort, the aptly named A Space Shooter for Two Bucks!, has recently crossed the 100,000 downloads mark, and Young Thor is one of the most critically-acclaimed Minis in history.

Voting will be open for one week until Tuesday, March 1st, with PSN users across North America choosing their favorite game in each of the four categories by downloading a free XMB theme corresponding to that game, voting for one game in each category. When the voting is over, the winning game from each of the four categories will go on sale for 30% off at the PlayStation Store and 50% off to PlayStation Plus subscribers.

NexonNexon America has kicked off the second round of the Nexon iNitiative, a million dollar program designed with the intent to seek out the most promising independent video game projects and provide funding to support the next generation of game developers from around the world. Open for submissions until April 30th, the Nexon iNitiative will award game developers a share of $1 million in development funds for projects that align with Nexon’s focus on community building and long-term user engagement.
antic entertainment
The first Nexon iNitiative was launched in March 2010, which saw Canadian developer Antic Entertainment and Polish developer one2tribe chosen from a pool of more than 100 candidates in 2010. Each of the studios earned a share of more than $1 million in development funding. Both companies are currently creating online game projects that will be co-developed and published through Nexon’s global distribution network, which currently services 30 games in more than 71 countries.

Through the Nexon iNitiative, Nexon is looking for potential games that have wide-ranging audience appeal and which encourage community and social interaction. Flash, client-based games or ports from other platforms are all welcome submissions. Games with strong online and multi platform elements will get serious consideration, as will game concepts that align with Nexon’s goals.

Rogers Digital MediaRogers Media (RMI) today announced the appointment of Jason Tafler to the newly created position, Chief Digital Officer.  A veteran of the U.S. and Canadian digital sector, Tafler comes to Rogers from PointRoll, a leading provider of innovative digital marketing solutions and technology based in Pennsylvania.Jason Tafler

Tafler will be responsible for strategic and operational leadership for the Digital division of Rogers Media with accountability for financial and operational targets.  Rogers Digital Media is responsible for over 250 Rogers Digital products including brand websites, mobile products and client microsites as well as pure digital plays such as Sweetspot.ca,  BRANCHEZ -VOUS!, PoolExpert and Canadian Parents.  The range of partnerships and acquisitions brings Rogers Digital Media over 16 million unique viewers per month and reaches 65% of Canadians online.  As well, Rogers Digital Media provides ad solutions and content for Rogers Communications and ad representation for foreign clients.

Tafler grew up in Toronto and has spent most of the past decade of his career in the U.S. building, advising and investing in entrepreneurial growth-oriented companies in the media, advertising and technology industries.  He joined PointRoll in 2005 and became CEO in 2008.  Prior to PointRoll, he worked in a boutique investment bank in New York and with Zoomer Media and First Marathon Securities in Canada.

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15th February 2011

A Flood Of Game News Bytes

Dark AcreVancouver indie developer Dark Acre Game Development announced today that its new game, ‘Ball of Steel’ is now available as a free-to-play title via Kongregate.com for gamers with Unity-enabled web browsers.

Ball of Steel is a marble tilt-maze with a twist: in addition to navigating twisting passages, players must guide their ball through high-tech teleporters and avoid burning pillars of scorching flame to clear each table. Players may choose their challenge levels and warp or skip to any of the 20 boards.

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Ball of Steel was built in Unity 3D during two weeks of intensive full-time development. It was developed as an entrant to the Unity Game Contest currently underway at Kongregate.com, and represents the second in a series of free-to-play efforts from Dark Acre. You can check out more information on Dark Acre’s first title on the project’s web page.

frima studioIn the category of receiving the news a day late (honest, I just got this today), Frima Studio apparently celebrated Valentine’s Day by unveiling a host of new updates for Pocket God with Episode III – The Birds! This third episode follows in the footsteps of the recent Episode II: Clash of the Frightened for the social game, which is currently in an open beta and growing rapidly with more than 175,000 monthly active users on Facebook.

The new updates for The Birds include:

* The Return of the Dodo! – While it may have gone extinct hundreds of years ago for being too passive and peaceful, this reincarnation of the Dodo could not be farther from its ancestors – keep an eye out as it will terrorize your island, making short work of your fish and pygmies!pocket god
* New “Dodo Down” Item – Usually there’s a limit on how often you can sacrifice your friends, but with the new Dodo Down power, feel free to resuscitate them and bring them back to life…only to kill them again!
* More Customization – Make Pocket God your own! Players now have the ability to name their individual pygmies so there’s no need to have to settle for the pre-assigned monikers…name them after your enemies and get extra satisfaction from their sacrifice!
* Fat Cupid! – It’s gorgeous, lovely, and quite Rubenesque – it’s Fat Cupid and it needs to be stopped! Band together with your Facebook friends to take down the ultimate evil god.
* Valentine’s Treats – Take a break from drowning your Facebook friends and get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day…send them chocolate treats to let them know that each time you sacrifice them, it’s a gesture of love.

Since its debut on the world’s most popular social network in December of 2010, the Facebook version of Pocket God has grown exponentially and is quickly approaching a quarter of a million active users in less than two months. More than 20 million hapless and helpless pygmies have been sacrificed over that time, and one million of those are friends on Facebook sacrificing other friends in a host of brutal ways, including electrocution, drowning, shark attack, tornado, volcanic lava and much more! The lucky user who sacrificed the one millionth friend, Jessy Rivas of France, received 350 Pocket Change, the in-game currency for Pocket God!

behaviour gamesWith the city quaking in fear and no help in sight and a rumoured release date of March 23rd*, who ya gonna call? Atari, one of the world’s most recognized publishers and producers of interactive entertainment, is once again answering the call for gamers everywhere by delivering the first ever Ghostbusters digital title, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime. In conjunction with Sony Pictures Consumer Products and developed by Behaviour, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime will be available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360®, PlayStation®Network, and Windows PC Download at Atari.com.
Ghostbusters Sanctum of Slime
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a four player, ghost-busting adventure that will take players on a brand new paranormal experience. Players will suit up with their proton packs and assume the role of a rookie hired by the Ghostbusters to save New York City from a disaster of ghoulish proportions.

The action-packed gameplay progresses as players complete jobs as fearless rookies who explore a series of haunted environments that must be cleared of any ectoplasmic threats. The gripping adventure rages on as players encounter gigantic bosses that require a concentrated effort to defeat using a medley of highly destructive weapons including the Proton Stream, Plasma Inductor, and the Fermion Shock. Rookie Ghostbusters will face the dangers of the eerie world alone or with a ghostbusting team of friends both locally or online through the game’s multiplayer capability.

* Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime has yet to appear on the Xbox Marketplace or on the Atari store, so the release date as of yet has not been confirmed. Perhaps someone in the know could let me know?

fluik entertainmentEdmonton’s Fluik Entertainment has announced that Gunner Galaxies, the sequel to top-downloaded Gunner Galaxiesgame Gunner will is scheduled for release this March, and will pack new galaxies, new gameplay, fun new unlocks and ship upgrades into this latest chapter. Gunner Galaxies is an asteroid-blasting classic arcade action game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Fluik’s previous game releases include the aforementioned Gunner, Bubble Rainbow (which are free in the iTunes store and now residing on my iPod Touch), the also free Tic Tac Draw and Airport Madness Challenge, Airport Madness Mobile, Will It Fly, and CoolSpell, which all have both free and paid versions.

DreamCatcherToronto publisher DreamCatcher Games and parent company JoWooD Entertainment have confirmed the release date for the official Painkiller Standalone Add-On “Redemption“ as February 25th 2011 – although there is no official page on the DreamCatcher site yet for Redemption, the game will continue the epic Painkiller conflict between good and evil.

The kingdom of heaven is threatened by a ruthless army from hell. Two champions, Daniel and Belial, who we already know as the two previous heroes of the series, combine their forces and join the never-ending battle between good and evil.Painkiller Redemption

“It demands quite a bit of skill to confront the countless hordes of monsters – to vanquish them you can equip some really crazy weapons“, says Markus Reutner, International Product Marketing Manager at JoWooD. “We also have the right soundtrack for the fast-paced action because the atmosphere is particularly important when countless monsters attack you without mercy. An insiders’ tip for Painkiller friends as well as for new fans!“


· 7-10 hours playtime
· Transform yourself into a demon once you’ve collected enough souls!
· Use the occult powers of tarot cards
· More than 6,000 enemies and up to 1,000 monsters on all of the 6 new maps
· Easy to use map editor for your very own Painkiller experience
· Adrenaline pumping soundtrack

gamerkraftAnother Toronto-based publisher, Game Bridger Entertainment, has unveiled the latest game to come to their free-to-play gaming platform, GamerKraft. Aida Arenas, developed by Korean developer GalaxyGate, is an “MMORPG Brawler” set in the raucous world of Aida – a land where adventuring, treasure-hunting, and good ol’ fashioned rough-housing are the primary pastimes.

“We are excited to announce Aida Arenas’ arrival on the GamerKraft platform in the first quarter of 2011,” said Matthew Denomme, Marketing Manager for Game Bridger Entertainment, “the game’s charming cartoon graphics and whimsical game world, plus its accessible controls and gameplay mechanics, are sure to appeal to a wide range of both hardcore and casual gamers.”

Create a hero, explore dungeons, fight monsters, compete with friends, and discover hidden treasure in AIDA Arenas, the new MMORPG Brawler from GamerKraft, where you can Combine elements of the classic beat ‘em up arcade genre with the character progression and social features of modern MMORPGs.

Bioware CorpAnd of course I would be totally remiss if I did not even mention the big Triple A game news of the day, which is the announcement that Felicia Day has written a new web series based on Bioware’s Dragon Age series. The six part Dragon Age: Redemption series will star Ms. Day as elven assassin Tallis. In an article on USA Today, (no, I was not one of the lucky ones who were sent a press release about the web series, I found out about it via Twitter) the story will revolve around Tallis’ personal quest to capture a renegade magician and the companions she enlists into her fellowship along the way.

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8th February 2011

Canadian Game Title Updates

Garage IncFans of TransGaming Studio’s Garage Inc. game will be happy to know that the title will be available on the Big Fish Games portal tomorrow – unless you’re a BFG Game Club Member, then you can play it via the portal today.

Big Sandwich GamesToday’s PlayStation®Network update will include the long-awaited demo for HOARD™, Big Sandwich Games’ critically acclaimed action strategy game about dragons and their treasure. The full game is already available for purchase on the system.

“HOARD™ is at its strongest with a controller in hand,” says Tyler Sigman, the game’s designer. “We know that the addictive gameplay really sells itself when players get a chance to try it. We also know that a lot of consumers still don’t know HOARD™ exists, so we’re glad to finally make the demo available and remove that obstacle to new people trying the game!”

The demo will allow gamers to sample their fire-breathing, gold-collecting skills on several maps and game modes, including a 2-player local (“couch”) co-operative level. The full game includes 4 game modes, over 35 maps, leaderboards, trophies, and any combination of local and online multiplayer making HOARD™ one of only a few great options for 4-person couch-party style play.

HOARD™’s innovative gameplay and design focus on rock-solid short-session experiences earned it a “Best Quick Fix” award and “Best Competitive Multiplayer” nomination in IGN’s Best of 2010 Awards.

The full version of HOARD™ is for sale now on the PlayStation®Network for $14.99, and includes dozens of hours Big Blue Bubbleof gameplay and over 100 unique badges to be earned. HOARD™-themed avatars and wallpapers are also available.

Building on Burn the Rope’s phenomenal success in the App Store, Big Blue Bubble, Inc. is pleased to announce its upcoming major update to the top-selling iOS game. Praised by critics and gamers alike, Burn the Rope will be better than ever with new bug types, fast-paced bonus rounds, a new world of 16 never-before-seen-levels and beautiful Retina display support! We have also created a new “Burn the Rope Lite” version for those of you who prefer the try before you buy approach. Read the rest of this entry »

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