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21st December 2009

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

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

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

Game Features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much of the actual Canadian growth is due to the strengthening of the major development hubs in Vancouver and Montreal, as well as up-and-coming development centers like Toronto. By contrast, while U.S. states continue to maintain similar amounts of employees, anecdotal evidence indicates that American game development is becoming less clustered around urban centers.

The ‘Game Developer Census 2009’ digital download is comprised of the following elements: The .DOC version of the report, which summarizes the contacts in easily readable form and provides totals for game developers per state and Canadian province, and the .XLS Excel spreadsheet version of the report, which allows the individual fields to be sorted, exported and used however the purchaser sees fit. The report is available for $ 2, 495.00 USD.

Refresh EventsTorontoRefresh Event’s Justin Kozuch has released a very interesting article on the Refresh Event blog in regards to the Digital Media Camp held in Toronto. In his article, he asks the question “Toronto’s Digital Media Industry – Who Are We?” – a question which I think could be asked of not just Toronto, but our national digital media industry as we work towards Canada 3.0 and a national digital strategy.

Without giving away the contents of Justin’s article, I encourage everyone involved in any aspect of the digital media industry to give it a read, and answer Justin’s questions and points as if he were asking each studio, organization and association across the country “Who Are We?” and how that relates to the future of the Digital Media Industry not only provincially, but also nationally and on the global stage.

Computers For KidsWindsor – On Tuesday December 22 at 11:00AM, CAW Local 200 Computers for Kids will be holding their final placement of computers for the year. At this special event, which is to be held at their location, over twenty families will receive a refurbished computer system for their children.

Professional educators believe that lacking a computer can put a child at serious risk of falling behind in school. With the current global economic crisis, an increasing number of families are finding it difficult to provide the necessities of life. A computer in the home is usually out of the question for these young people.

However, a charity located in Windsor, Ontario is fighting to overcome this issue through the placement of computers in the homes of families with children or youth in need. Computers for Kids, Charitable Status Number 86000 1437 RR0001, focuses on increasing access to computers for disadvantaged and at-risk students.

In this age of increasing electronic technology, developing computer skills at an early age has become necessary for successful transition into working life. The use of a computer can provide students with a powerful tool, which can greatly improve their homework assignments, research projects and ultimately their education level. Computers for Kids takes aim at turning children of families facing economic barriers into success stories of the future.

The charity relies on computer donations from businesses, various agencies and residents to fulfill the referrals received from social service organizations and schools. “I would like to thank the many donors we have, commercial, institutional and residential, for their support,” said Chris Davies, Computers for Kids Executive Director. “By choosing to donate your computers and electronics to us, you enable us to continue offering this much needed service to our community.”

With generous support and hard work from many donors and volunteers, Computers for Kids has been able to help open over 40 computer labs throughout Windsor/Essex County, recycle over 2.5 million pounds of e-waste and donate over 1,500 computers to young people over the past six years.

Donated equipment is evaluated by trained staff and volunteers who then refurbish as many systems as possible for placements in after-school & summer programs, or in the homes of special needs students. In 2009, 362 computers were refurbished for designated placements in which over 660 children benefited.

In order to continue to meet the high demand for these services, increased equipment donations are necessary. Products that are accepted include desktop and laptop computers; peripherals such as mice, keyboards and disk drives; monitors; televisions; desktop printers and fax machines. Even non-functional items are found useful as the charity operates a recycling program that helps raise funds for their programs. To drop off your items, visit Computers for Kids anytime between 9:00AM – 5:00PM Monday through Friday. They are located at 4150 Sandwich Street in Windsor.

arcalifeVancouver arcalife and Uk-based Firebird Media Limited have signed a deal bringing the two companies closer together in the personal and historical archiving space. arcalife provides personal archiving solutions to its members, giving them the opportunity to store and share their family history, memories, stories, photos, video and audio – to enjoy now and to record for future generations. Firebird, through its website Memorybank offers its community a ‘peoples archive’, including sources of local historical information on which to base their research, as well as contribute to a wider cultural archive of local history from their own family memorabilia.

arcalife CEO Paul Taylor says, “This is a significant opportunity for both organizations. Many of our operational needs are similar and our services are complimentary, so it makes perfect sense.”  Memorybank users will have access to a wider range of services and products that arcalife users already have: the ability to make multimedia timelines and create time capsules as well as structured archives to store and share any family information from research.

The CEO of Firebird Media Limited is Dr.Nick Barratt, noted historian and consultant / presenter of the hit UK family history show “Who Do You Think You Are”. Barratt commented, “I think our members will be pleased with the additional functionality we’ll be delivering through Memorybank. The arcalife team brings significant technical skill to our group, and in return we’ll support them in their worthy mission to encourage us all to take a more active role in personally archiving our lives.”

The alliance will start by bringing historical project and archiving software to the UK education market. Dr. Barratt has been working for some time to encourage more interest in personal and local history in the UK education sector and has succeeded in having it added to a large number of school curricula. The new software, which will be called PROJECTBOOK, has been designed to support teachers and schools wanting to run and manage local history and personal archiving projects, and will be released during 2010 after intensive testing.

Dr. Barratt says, “I am particularly excited about our plans to develop bespoke education products to encourage a new generation of historians in schools to explore the world around them, and develop the important research and interpretative skills that will stand them in good stead no matter what they eventually decide to do with their lives.”

Classroom ReadySurrey – While many companies are relieved to have survived the recession in 2009, education publishing company Classroom Ready has grown over 30% since December 2008.

“Our success in 2009 can be attributed to the launch of four successful new products plus our high retention rate,” said Mr. Dave Doble, President of Classroom Ready Inc.

Headquartered in Surrey, B.C., Classroom Ready Inc. is an education publisher of weekly and monthly current events journals for students from Grade 3 to Grade 10. The journals come in a lesson plan format and are easy to use for teachers. Thousands of schools across Canada and the United States subscribe to the publications, which are available in French and English. Classroom Ready’s rapid growth has prompted Mr. Doble to take action which some in the business community might consider a little unusual.

“We are actively seeking acquisitions of education based companies in North America,” Mr. Doble said, “and we are making that known publicly. Our website contains a page for contact information if there are any interested companies out there.

“We realize how difficult it can for companies to break into the education field. We are looking for companies which are education based and would easily fit into our business model. They can be technology based or traditional hard copy publishers,” Mr. Doble continued, “Nothing is too big or too small, we will take a serious look at any serious offers tabled to us.

“Our website contains a message that if you own, operate or are an employee of a company that you would consider selling – and of course fits our education based criteria – we would like to hear from you. “

Education companies wishing to discuss business opportunities with Classroom Ready Inc. are invited to contact Mr. Doble directly at dave.doble[at]classroomready[dot]com or call 1-866-888-8967.

Fuel IndustriesAnd last but not least, I would like to leave you with a smile today – for your holiday viewing pleasure, here is Fuel Industries’ music video to accompany their recently released Christmas Music singles – which they obviously had a ton of fun working on.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video
This entry was posted on Monday, December 21st, 2009 at 10:36 am and is filed under Associations, Business News, Careers, Digital Products, Education, Events, Everyone 10+, fundraisers, Game Dev, Mobile, National News, Research Studies, Studios. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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