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31st August 2009

Canada Media Fund Focus Group Sessions Coming to a City Near You

CTFOttawa – The Canada Media Fund launched its consultation with the industry through two virtual town halls on August 6, 2009, and now they’re traveling across Canada to conduct regional focus groups and gain further input for its programs. The Q & A PDF report from the August 6 Town Hall can be read here or you can access the taped version of the town hall here. The full tour schedule is posted below, or can be read on the CMF site. Background information on the Consultation Process is also available in PDF.

Briefing notes detailing the key policy issues are also available from the CMF site in PDF format. These issues will be discussed during the industry consultation process. Industry stakeholders are invited to submit written responses to the above policy issues. Industry participants can send their submissions to the CMF in Word or PDF format until September 4. According to their web site, no submissions have yet been received.

Key Issues

1. Program Allocations – Convergent & Experimental Streams
2. Convergent Content
3. Video on Demand
4. Audience Success & Return on Investment
5. Marketing & Promotion
6. Television Content in the Convergent Stream – Allocations by Genre
7. Documentary Production
8. Canadian Elements of CMF Projects
9. Third-language Production
10. Broadcaster-affiliated & In-house Broadcaster Production
11. Performance Envelopes. Eligible Entities
12. Audience Success & the CMF – Emphasis on original, first-run, prime-time programming
13. English Regional Production

Focus Group Meeting Schedule:

Regina – September 8
Winnipeg – September 9
Halifax – September 21
Fredericton – September 22
Charlottetown – September 23
St. John’s – September 24
Iqualuit – September 25
Calgary – September 28
Vancouver – September 29
Vancouver – September 30 (Aboriginal Focus Group)
Whitehorse – October 2
Toronto – October 14
Toronto National Focus Group – October 15 (By Invitation)
Montreal – October 21 (French Market Focus Group)
Montreal – October 28 (English Market Focus Group)
Ottawa – October 29 (French Language Producers Outside Quebec)
Ottawa National Focus Group – November 5 (By Invitation)
Montreal National Focus Group – November 25 (By Invitation)

Also from the CTF site: “The sessions will be moderated, and a light lunch will be served. The purpose of the Focus Groups is to obtain the input and expertise of industry stakeholders, such as yourself, as we create the policies and programs of the CMF. Discussions at the Focus Groups will centre on the key policy issues we outlined during our virtual town hall on August 6, 2009. Through the approach used during the sessions, the following are some of the questions that will be addressed:

* What are our common sector and business needs, and how do we align those aspects with
stakeholders’ discrete business goals?
* How can we leverage your feedback to deliver on the goals of the policy and the publicly-funded program?
*How do we gain awareness, understanding, alignment, and commitment among various stakeholders?

To register for one of the focus group sessions, please complete this form. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Rachel Coley, Administration Manager via email or by phone at 1-877-975-0766.”

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31st August 2009

Digital Alberta Hosts Pre-GDC Austin Workshop

digital albertaCalgary Digital Alberta is hosting a pre-conference workshop led by Dante Anderson, an industry veteran, former GDC presenter and currently VP of Product Development at Kuma Reality Games, and Ken Bautista, an experienced entrepreneur and interactive creative director who has led and organized several digital media industry missions to Shanghai, Austin, Washington D.C., Hong Kong,

Ken Bautista

Ken Bautista

Austin and San Francisco. Together, Dante and Ken will share their insights and experiences in successfully navigating an international conference like GDC Austin. From identifying key industry players, building a game plan for the conference, and networking effectively, we’ll show you how to stand out, be memorable, and get the most out of being at GDC Austin.

Austin newsfeed from Dante… “this is the year of social networking…GDC is on it…the third keynote for Austin is Sebastian de Halleux, co-founder of Playfish, one of the most successful social gaming companies. They consistently have 5 of the top 10 most popular Facebook games…This is a must-see talk… In other news the website says that hotel deals are still available: the Marriott is close and a good deal. Note it is not clear on the website but you must actually call Marriott and mention the convention by name and that they have a promotion running–(sheesh)…finally attending Austin Gdc can be a good way to meet the sxsw folks if you are thinking of attending/presenting/speaking…Austin is a good show, lots of people to meet and the city claims (rightly imo) to be the Live Music Capital of the World so it is a fun and interesting place…details to follow.

Dante Anderson

Dante Anderson

As it is the new age social networking I will discuss social gaming and media At the prep talk. I will review the general trends and more specifically discuss how social media can be used to network an event like Austin. To that end I would recommend that attendees set up a Twitter and Facebook account if they don’t yet have them. I will mention a few good meeting places (Austin doesn’t have something as central as the W at the main SF GDC), some must see lectures, things to do at night (Austin really is the LIVE music capital of the USA as they claim) and some other networky stuff like trick I learned from some IBM guys. I mentioned this last time I was there but now I have found the article in question. See it at the prep talk!”

This is a mandatory session for subsidized delegates but we encourage and invite anyone in the industry to attend. AND THEN…come out for drinks with Ken and Dante and the Digital Alberta team afterward at Jameson’s!!

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31st August 2009

Oscar de la Hoya and Klitschko Brothers on Fight Night Round 4

EA GamesBurnaby Electronic Arts has announced that its first downloadable boxer pack for Fight Night Round 4 is now available on the PlayStation® Network™ and Xbox Live™ Marketplace. Featuring Oscar De La Hoya, Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko, and alternate versions of George Foreman and James Toney, the downloadable boxer pack retails for 400 Microsoft points and $4.99 on Xbox Live Marketplace and the Fight Night Round 4PlayStation Network, respectively. Named the Game Critic Awards “Best Sports Game of E3 2009” and according to NPD data,  sold over a million units in its first month, Fight Night Round 4 has been winning over reviewers and fans since its release on June 23rd.

In addition to the boxer pack, EA Sports™ announced that a free downloadable game update that enables players to use the face buttons on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers to throw punches is also available now. A new demo featuring the button controls will be available to all Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network users by early September. The 10 round demo will feature Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton as playable boxers.

Designed with a revolutionary physics-based gameplay engine, Fight Night Round 4 replicates the sweet science to an unprecedented degree of realism. Witness gloves grazing off an opponent as he dodges at the last second, or watch as a vicious uppercut rips through the block of a boxer who turtles for too long. With realistic physics, no fight is ever the same in Fight Night Round 4

Fight Night Round 4 is currently available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game system from Microsoft. This game has been rated T for Teen by the ESRB.

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31st August 2009

Jade Raymond Named as Head of Ubisoft Toronto

UbisoftToronto Ubisoft® announced today the appointment of Jade Raymond as head of its recently announced Toronto studio. Under the governance of Yannis Mallat, Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft’s Montreal and Toronto Studios, Raymond will oversee day-to-day operations of the Toronto studio’s work on video game projects.

Jade Raymond

Jade Raymond

Raymond joined Ubisoft’s Montreal studio in 2004 as a Producer on Assassin’s Creed® and is currently Executive Producer on the upcoming Assassin’s Creed® II among other Ubisoft projects. Prior to Ubisoft, Raymond spent eight years on video game development for Electronic Arts, IBM and Sony Online.

“I’m excited to have Jade managing our Toronto studio,” said Yannis Mallat, chief executive officer of Ubisoft Montréal and Ubisoft Toronto. “With more than 12 years of experience in the video game industry, Jade’s knowledge and leadership as an industry veteran are major assets in building the Toronto studio and expanding Ubisoft’s presence in Canada.”

“I’m honored to be a part of Ubisoft’s expansion into Toronto,” said Jade Raymond. “I’m looking forward to building a strong and talented team to work on AAA games and new intellectual properties.”

Ubisoft Toronto is slated to open by the end of the 2009 calendar year, and it’s expected to create approximately 800 new jobs over the next decade. Ubisoft is currently accepting applications for the new studio location.

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