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29th October 2010

ESAC Releases 2010 Essential Facts and New Promo Video

esacToday is a big day for the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, with the launch of a new Canadian game industry sizzle video and the release of its annual guidebook to the entertainment software industry, ESAC 2010 Essential Facts (PDF). In this report, readers can find updated stats on the average age of the Canadian gamer, frequency of play, gender breakdown, preferred platforms and ways to play. The report also provides data on how online play, social games and mobile games are changing the gaming landscape. This annual publication also features relevant data about ESRB ratings awareness, family gaming and top selling games. Finally, Essential Facts gives an overview of the Canadian entertainment software industry with data on jobs, growth rate and annual contributions to the Canadian economy.

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The 2010 Essential Facts reveals that 39% of gamers (defined as someone who has played video games in the past 4 weeks) are spending more time playing games accessible through social networking websites.

Also of note is the fact that 7% of gamers use a mobile device (such as a cell phone or smart phone) most often to play video games – almost twice as many as in 2009 (4%). Gamers are also connecting their games with others through the Internet with 76% reporting online play.

“Social games are a growing part of the Canadian gamer’s repertoire – especially for ESAC 2010 Essential Facts PDF Reportwomen and teen girls – but they are only one of the many types of games that Canadians enjoy,” says Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC. “While we’re seeing a shift in how Canadians are playing games particularly towards online games, console and computer games remain the principal way to play,” she adds.

Social games are mostly free, widely available and accessible through social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. These games – including popular ones like Farmville, Mafia Wars and Cafe World – are quick to load, take only a few minutes to play and grow virally as users invite their contacts to join in. Research found that 35% of adult women and 37% of teen girls play social games. 26% of girls (6-12yo) play social games, with 38% report spending more time playing these types of games.

The research was collected through a comprehensive Internet survey using NPD Group’s Online Consumer Panel. Data was obtained from over 3,500 Canadians across the country identified as having played a video game at least once in the past 4 weeks. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 1.6%, 19 times out of 20.

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22nd October 2010

Never A Dull Friday

UbisoftUbisoft has released a video dev diary for Assassin’s Creed: The Fall, a comic book written and illustrated by Award-winning artists Cameron Stewart and Karl Kerschl and colored by Nadine Thomas, produced by Ubi Workshop and published by DC Comics. The first of the three issues will release on November 10th, 2010.

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Assassin’s Creed: The Fall follows 19th century Russian assassin Nikolai Orelov as he strives to claim an artifact of immense power from the hands of the Templars, encountering historical figures such as the ruthless Tsar Alexander III. Meanwhile, in modern times, a troubled young drifter copes with unsettling visions of a possible past life – visions that have irreversible consequences for the present.

Eidos MontrealEidos Montreal’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution is going to get a special preview tomorrow (today in AU) at The Mana Bar, a video game bar down in Brisbane, Australia. A team from Square Enix will be presenting a game demonstration, which will be followed by an exclusive video from the developers. Prizes and competitions giving away unique Deus Ex merchandise to the bar’s clientele during the day.

Loud Crow InteractiveVancouver’s Loud Crow Interactive Inc., a digital book publisher founded by a group of interactive entertainment veterans, announced today the redefining of e-books with its first release, PopOut!™ The Tale of Peter Rabbit, now available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch in all non-European territories.Pop Out Tales

With decades of combined experience in interactive digital media, the team at Loud Crow has applied its creative talents and technical expertise to revolutionize the reading experience. “For us, it’s all about making the reading experience fresher and better than ever,” says Calvin Wang, Founder and CEO. “We blend traditional content with rich, interactive elements such as audio, animation, and even touch and tilt gestures. Using the original illustrations and text, we’re able to achieve an authentic, yet modern experience that our readers will find unique and inspiring.”

The publisher’s first title in the PopOut!™ series of interactive children’s books brings the age-old Beatrix Potter classic to life with signature PopOut!™ spin-wheels, pull-tabs, spring-mounted elements, and objects that literally pop out of the page. Complete with a beautiful classical piano soundtrack, fun and immersive sound effects, and a charming vocal performance, this is an experience you and your family won’t want to miss.

Majestic MediaItWowed.Me, a new smartphone technology platform developed by Majestic Media Ltd., allows businesses and brands to drive audiences to Facebook fan pages and convert them into fans.

“Like” something in real life? By placing a Quick Response (QR) code on real world objects, smartphone users can now scan these codes with their iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or any smartphone device and instantly “Like” the real world product or business on Facebook, thus sharing it with their friends on the social media site. Read the rest of this entry »

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18th October 2010

New Canadian Games Conference To Debut In May 2011

Canadian Games Conference Leading Victoria event organizer Reboot Communications has just announced a new wholly-owned event, the Canadian Games Conference, debuting in Vancouver in May 2011 alongside the market-leading Canadian Videogame Awards.

This newly branded event will offer cutting-edge keynotes, lecture and roundtable content from local, national, and international game creators, focusing on core topics like game design and programming alongside emerging smartphone and social game areas. It will also include a bustling reboot communicationsexpo floor.

In addition, the 2011 Canadian Games Conference is also the first-ever event to feature a special ‘Best Of GDC’ content track, including some of the best speakers and topics from the worldwide Game Developers Conferences®.

This unique agreement for the ‘Best Of GDC’ content at the Canadian Games Conference evolves a partnership built around the former Game Developers Conference Canada™ event, which the Canadian Games Conference replaces and expands on. Reboot also ran the popular Vancouver International Game Summit from 2006 to 2008.

GDC-Expo FloorReboot Communications CEO Greg Spievak commented of the announcement: “Our conference efforts in the game space have always been for the industry, by the industry. Our Canadian Games Conference advisory board is made of key representatives from across the country – and we expect the same vibrant growth and stimulating sessions that have defined our game events for the past four years.”

The UBM TechWeb Game Network’s global brand director Simon Carless added: “We’re delighted to continue working with Reboot and the Canadian game industry by contributing the ‘Best Of GDC’ track to the Canadian Games Conference – and look forward to supporting the conference and awards as one of the leading events in this vibrant space.”

The official dates for the Canadian Games Conference will be May 19-20th, 2011 at the Vancouver Conference Centre. Once again, the show will be preceded on May 18th by the 2nd Annual Canadian Videogame Awards, also produced by Reboot Communications in conjunction with Greedy Productions and DigiBC.

Keynotes and session topics for the Canadian Games Conference will be announced on the website soon.

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14th October 2010

Quebec Technology Association Offers 33 Free Memberships To Assist Start-Ups

Quebec Technology AssociationThe Quebec Technology Association (AQT) has issued an invitation to all leaders and partners in the information and communications technology sector to recommend candidates for the second edition of its 1-2-3 GO! program. Each year, this program allows 33 start-ups to receive a free membership in the Association, which includes a targeted support program and substantial savings on registration fees for other networking and development opportunities available through the AQT Accelerator.

“We give out 33 free memberships per year, each worth $350, based on the recommendations of our members who are eager to see new companies have the opportunity to learn from experienced leaders. This helps recipients avoid potentially costly errors along the way, particularly during their growth stages”, explained Nicole Martel, Chief Executive Officer of the Quebec Technology Association.

Four companies from the 2009 cohort became regular members of the AQT, while others have been advised of their continued participation in the program. There are still many spots open in the 2010 cohort. These spots will be given to start-ups that provide ICT solutions and/or services with no more than 3 employees, that have been in business less than 3 years, and that have demonstrated their enthusiasm for the program.

One of last year’s recipients whose company became a regular AQT member had high praise for the program. In summing up his experience, Jonathan Stoikovitch, President of Sosign Interactive, said “within a few short months, AQT became a driving force for me. Their advice helped me find the best resources. I was introduced to people who have a great deal more entrepreneurial experience. I have absolutely no doubt that I saved a lot of time.”

Start-ups have until October 29, 2010 to apply by filling in the form available on the Association’s Web site. Requests for information should be directed to Patrick Gouin at 514-874-2667 ext. 106.

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13th October 2010

TechnoMontreal Names New General Manager

technomontrealYves Pelletier, M.Sc., CMC, FCMA, TechnoMontréal’s Chairman of the Board and Senior Vice President and Director of the Montreal office for DMR-Fujitsu, announced today the appointment of Mrs. Lidia Divry as General Manager to strengthen its mission of bringing together all players in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) of Greater Montreal, around common goals and concerted action in order to optimize the competitiveness of the industry worldwide.
Lidia Divry
“We are pleased with the arrival of Mrs. Divry, CMA, MBA, Ec.D. to the TechnoMontréal team,” said Mr. Pelletier. “Mrs. Divry’s experience in economic development and management, combined with her understanding of the issues associated with the competitiveness of the Information and Communications Technology sector and the marketing of innovative projects will help TechnoMontréal to address the major challenges in our industry,” added Mr. Pelletier.

The information and communications technology industry provides employment for more than 120,000 people in the metropolitan area and ranks among the most dynamic industries in the world, both in terms of creativity and technology. It is however at a crossroads and faces a new challenge: ensuring that future generations will have jobs while building on its worldwide success. It is within this context that TechnoMontréal reinforces its leadership and invites governments, entrepreneurs and creators to rally around major developmental projects and support the marketing of innovative products.

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8th October 2010

Communitech Hub Opens For Business

communitechLess than a year after provincial support for a major digital media innovation centre was announced, The Communitech Hub has officially opened for business, ready to foster the next-generation of digital media innovation in Ontario.

The Hub, which occupies 30,000 square feet of a renovated downtown Kitchener Tannery building, is now home to start-up companies, small-medium enterprises, and global multi-nationals all aiming to accelerate the pace of development of new ideas and products in the digital media sector. Leaders from business, government, and community organizations gathered at The Communitech Hub today to recognize the expansive effort that has now created a leading-edge facility customized to meet the needs of its occupants.

The Hub grand opening

Iain Klugman, Communitech, Tom Jenkins, Open Text, and Kevin Tuer, CDMN at The Hub grand opening

“Ontario has a tremendous legacy of innovation in digital media and ICT, and this sector is exploding around the world. The Communitech Hub will help launch more made-in-Ontario companies, create good jobs and better lives for families,” said Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation.

The Communitech Hub will not only serve as a collaboration centre for resident companies, but will also link to other digital media centres across Canada as part of the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN). The CDMN headquarters reside in The Hub along with Communitech offices.

“Creating this facility has been a collaborative effort between community organizations, industry, all levels of government and the community itself, making this a truly remarkable achievement,” said Iain Klugman, President and CEO of Communitech.

Founding partner companies who have contributed to the establishment of The Communitech Hub include: Canada’s largest software company Open Text Corporation; leading-edge visual technologies company Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc.; and high-tech heavyweight Research In Motion (RIM). The Communitech Hub — a $100 million project — was created with contributions from the provincial government, the federal government, the City of Kitchener, and private industry.

“Open Text and the other founding industry partners are committed to innovation; The Communitech Hub will enable R&D projects that might not have been possible without this unique environment,” said Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman & Chief Strategy Officer at Open Text, and Chair of the CDMN.

Renovating the 30,000 square foot space in the former Tannery building and transforming it into a state-of-the-art facility for digital innovation was no small undertaking, given the size and scope of the project. The facility features unique amenities such as a four-sided 3D ‘immersive environment’ provided by Christie Digital powered by Christie’s 3D stereoscopic projectors, enabling display of vast amounts of data. The Hub has an open concept area for the established companies to brainstorm and collaborate, and private office areas for entrepreneurs to ‘incubate’ ideas in close proximity to tools and services they need to succeed. Companies have access to a suite of expert resources including entrepreneurs in residence, project manager support, and marketing & branding expertise.

“This facility is a dream come true for many of the people who celebrated The Communitech Hub opening today who can now envision the innovative technologies that will undoubtedly have their start in this facility,” said Kevin Tuer, VP Digital Media of Communitech and CDMN Managing Director.

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4th October 2010

Canada Media Fund Appoints New Director of Industry and Market Trends

Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) today announced the appointment of Catalina Briceño to the position of Director, Industry and Market Trends. In this newly created role, Ms. Briceño will ensure that the CMF’s policies for supporting the production of Canadian television and digital media content are aligned with emerging trends and developments in the industry in Canada and internationally. She will monitor key trends and developments in terms of emerging technologies; business models and production financing; and regulation in order to provide the CMF with market intelligence to develop effective policies.
Catalina Briceño
With over 13 years of experience in the audiovisual and new media industry, Ms. Briceño comes to the CMF from Salambo Productions, where she helped build the strategy and business model behind the internationally acclaimed, multiplatform project Têtes à claques as Producer and Director of Operations. She began her career in 1997 when she founded Caliope Communications Inc., which developed, coordinated financing for, and produced audiovisual content using evolving new media technologies, from digital visual effects to 3D animation to convergent web applications. Over the years, she consulted for various private and public funds and instructed a number of workshops through INIS on new media financing for audiovisual students and professionals. She is regularly invited to speak at conferences about the challenges and opportunities linked to using web and interactive applications in the entertainment sector.

Until joining the CMF, Ms. Briceño served as Vice Chair of the Board of the Regroupement des producteurs multimédia (RPM). In 2008, she received the Prix Séville de la Relève from the Association of Women in Film, Television, and New Media.

Ms. Briceño will join the CMF on October 25, 2010.

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4th October 2010

Interactive Ontario Welcomes New Team Members

Interactive OntarioInteractive Ontario (IO) is pleased to welcome Patricia McCutcheon and Armen Karapetyan to its growing team and is bidding farewell to Sarah Baird, VP Programmes and Operations.

Patricia McCutcheon will be taking on the role of Director of Programmes where she will oversee programming for the upcoming iLunch 9.0 series, GameON: Finance and INplay 2011 conferences. Armen Karapetyan is IO’s new Director of Operations, and will be primarily responsible for IO’s financials, forecasting and human resources management.Patricia McCutcheon

Patricia McCutcheon was the National Organizer, Digital Media for ACTRA National for 4 years. She was with ACTRA for 7 years prior to that holding various positions within the Commercials department for ACTRA Toronto. After leaving ACTRA, Patricia had short-term contracts with the OMDC, Allstream and most recently as Director, Business Development at Spark Inc. a corporate event management company. Patricia studied Commerce with a major in marketing at Concordia University. She has also studied Business and New Media at Ryerson University.

Prior to his move to Canada and current role with IO, Armen was the Operations Director of the Armen KarapetyanBarthelmes Conservatory of Music in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before leading Conservatory operations, Armen also served as finance and grants manager for several international relief and development organizations, such as Feed the Children, Open Society Institute and Jinishian Memorial Foundation. Armen holds a Master’s degree in Physics from Yerevan State University in Armenia and Master’s degree in Business Administration from American University of Armenia.

“We are very excited to have Patricia and Armen join our team. With their wealth of knowledge and experience, I know they will strengthen IO’s efforts to better the interactive industry in Ontario,” said Ian Kelso, President and CEO, Interactive Ontario.

IO also notes the departure of Sarah Baird, who joined Interactive Ontario in 2005 as the organization’s first full-time employee. Over the past five years Sarah has overseen the programming and logistics for all IO’s efforts. In this time IO has successfully hosted over 750 speakers at over 70 events ranging in size from industry networking events to multi-day/multi-stream conference such as IN. Since Sarah joined the organization, IO has grown from just over 50 companies to more than 260 companies at present.

“Sarah’s contribution to IO has been critical to its success. Her passion and dedication to the industry and to our mission as an organization has always been exceptional. We certainly wish her the best and thank her for her many years of service,” says Kelso.

Taking on an expanded role within the organization is Max Berdowski, now Vice President, Business Development & Communications. In addition to developing partnerships, Max takes on responsibility for IO membership, communications and marketing. As well, Communications Director, Danielle Engels, who has been with IO for 2.5 years adds IO’s marketing efforts to her portfolio.

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28th September 2010

TechnoMontreal Names New Board Members

technomontrealTechnoMontréal’s Chairman of the Board and Senior Vice President and Director of the Montreal office for DMR-Fujitsu, Mr. Yves Pelletier, M.SC., CMC, FCMA announced today the appointment of three new members to the Board of the organization. TechnoMontréal is one of the major Information and Communications Technology (ICT) clusters in North America and is a powerful economic driver for entrepreneurs and creators of technology in Greater Montreal.

According to the OECD, ICT and the Internet are essential infrastructures for today’s economy. Given the significant contribution of the ICT industry to the knowledge economy, competition among host countries and regions to attract global leaders is increasingly aggressive, particularly in terms of incentives. The ICT industry provides over 120,000 jobs in the metropolitan area.

“We are faced with increasing global competition in the Information and Communications Technology field,” added Mr. Pelletier. “Unlike other traditional industries, we are facing a shortage of manpower which could, in the more or less long term, weaken the position of Montreal and Quebec on the world stage,” said Mr. Pelletier. “This situation is even more preoccupying considering that we have a recognized talent base and dynamic entrepreneurs that appeal to investors.” According to the president, our priority must be investing in the workforce, whether through training, immigration or tapping into the large pool of talented “baby boomers”.

The Information and Communications Technology sector plays an exceptional role in productivity, growth, job creation and the attraction of investments globally. “TechnoMontréal’s Board of Directors can further support the ICT cluster by stimulating its development in the region and strengthening its position among the world leaders,” said Mr. Pelletier. It is in this context that TechnoMontréal invites governments, entrepreneurs and creators to rally around major developmental projects and to support innovation, financing and the commercialisation of ICT companies. “I sincerely thank all the Board members who are willing to devote their time to our collective success and bring their experience to the growth and expansion of the industry globally,” he added.

New members joining the TechnoMontréal team come from the private and institutional sectors of the industry:

Mrs. Lyne Bouchard, Vice-Rector of the Longueuil campus and Vice-Rector of Information Technology Université de Sherbrooke
Mr. Denis Faubert, Senior Manager, Hydro-Québec Research Institute (IREQ)
Mr. André Gamache, Strategic Advisor, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)

Complete Board of Directors: Read the rest of this entry »

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27th September 2010

Two Vancouver Conferences Focus on Convergence And Storytelling

Women In View, an association of independent Canadian professionals in media, will be presenting SexMoneyMedia on October 14 – 16th in Vancouver. Registration for this event is now open, and you are invited to join a stellar group of media artists, industry leaders, scholars and policy sexmoneymediamakers in celebrating the achievements of women in media and creating a more vibrant, innovative and equitable media landscape for the 21st century. SexMoneyMedia will provide an unprecedented opportunity to engage in an international, multi-sector public dialogue on the future of media culture focusing on 4 core themes

• Vision and Representation
• Cultural Labour, Audiences and Markets
• The Unfolding Digital Universe
• Remedies, Policies, and Strategies

The opening keynote address will feature Trina McQueen, OC., Broadcast Journalist & former President of CTV Inc. and Rita Deverell, CM., Broadcaster & Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies, Mount St. Vincent University.

In addition to the symposium, there are also a number of Master Classes being offered, including a full day CFC Media Lab workshop on Interactive Storytelling featuring Ana Serrano and Anita Lee. There are several half-day workshops also being offered, including Documentary Storytelling, Behind The Scenes, and Visual Rights and Clearances. Space for these and other workshops is limited, so you should register soon to avoid disappointment.

International Digital Media and Arts AssociationLeading academics, professionals and artists will gather at Emily Carr University of Art and Design for the International Digital Media and Arts Association’s 8th annual conference to explore the world of digital technologies with a focus on the subject of The Digital Narrative. The conference will include workshops, keynote speakers, “extreme close-up” guest panels, paper presentations, networking, discussions, student showcase and social events as well as opportunities to explore Emily Carr’s state of the art facilities and the Innovative Program Awards.

New digital technologies and mediums are informing, challenging and reinventing our notions of narrative structures and storytelling. Non- linear, virtual, artificial, interactive, and cyber culture have become common terms and concepts when describing the emerging integration of science, art, and sociology. The Digital Narrative explores ideas of how storytelling and communication is influencing and influenced by new and emerging technologies. The conference takes place in Vancouver this November 4 – 6th, with Early Bird pricing available until October 20th.

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