29th January 2010

IUGO Serves Up An Alien Buffet

IUGOVancouverIUGO’s latest adventure on the iPhone, Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet, offers over-the-top alien slaying. Daisy Mae’s peaceful, simple life in her little desert trailer park will never be the same. A full scale alien attack on earth has begun and Daisy becomes the unlikely heroine outta nowhere. Take hold of the steering wheel and help Daisy Mae shoot and blast her way to victory in this fun and quirky dual stick shooter.

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Aliens: you have been served! Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet is slated for release in February of this year for the iPhone.Daisy Mae's Alien Buffet


* More aliens than you can shake a stick at!
* The baddest selection of weapons known to folks ‘round these here parts
* Purty graphics and fancy sounds effects
* Sassy costumes to unlock for Daisy Mae’s alien hoedown
* Daisy Mae “taunt” moves to stun the aliens silly
* Control options to suit every varmint’s needs
* VIP points to be earned towards an additional costume
* Global leaderboards
* Auto save

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29th January 2010

Mass Effect 2 Tops Charts, Return To Ostagar Returns to XBL Marketplace, FIFA Online Beta Announced

Bioware CorpEdmonton – Forty perfect scores. Two million units. One pop culture phenomenon. BioWare™ announced today that Mass Effect™ 2, according to internal EA data, has sold over two million units worldwide in its first week of release. Lauded for its intense shooter gameplay and deep, hand-crafted story, Mass Effect 2 for the Xbox 360 hasMass Effect 2 earned an average review score of 96 according to Metacritic.com — making it the second highest rated game of all time on Metacritic for the Xbox 360 platform. Mass Effect 2 has earned 40 perfect scores, amassed over 30 editor’s choice awards and is donning the front cover of 20 magazines worldwide. On launch day, the term “Mass Effect” was in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter and most searched on Google News. MSNBC.com said, “Mass Effect will go down as one of the most influential video game series of all-time.”

Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder, BioWare and Group General Manager of the RPG/MMO Group of EA said, “Mass Effect 2 is poised to be one of the biggest games of 2010. We could not be more proud of the game’s universal acclaim and early commercial success.”

Mass Effect 2 launched this week hot on the heels of BioWare’s Dragon Age: Origins, the studio’s dark fantasy RPG which shipped in fall 2009. Dragon Age: Origins has earned an average review score of 91 on Metacritc, making it the highest rated original intellectual property from EA in the last year. Mass Effect 2 follows in BioWare’s tradition of delivering excellence on every front: gameplay, story, character development and visuals. Mass Effect 2 is an epic shooter/RPG set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets. In Mass Effect 2, players step into the role of the heroic Commander Shepard, leading a crew of some of the most dangerous operatives from across the galaxy on a mission so challenging that it’s potentially suicidal. Featuring intense action, a rich storyline, space exploration and engaging character interaction, Mass Effect 2 delivers an unparalleled gaming experience.

In other Bioware news, Return to Ostagar, the highly anticipated and oft-delayed DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, is available on the Xbox 360 Marketplace as of today. Here is the full lot of information from Bioware’s Community Announcement:

If you were able to download Return to Ostagar during its previous release, you will not need to download it a second time. However, you will need to download the new version of the title update.

The PC and PlayStation 3 versions are still in testing. We expect the PC to complete testing in time for release early next week. We will update you with PlayStation 3 status when we have more information.

Title Update Release Notes:

Some players were unable to unlock the four achievements from Warden’s Keep and the Stone Prisoner during the first four days of launch. These achievements will unlock properly once you sign in to your Xbox Live and EA accounts.

The previous Xbox 360 update introduced an issue that relocked class specializations. This title update will resolve that issue.

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28th January 2010

Interactive Ontario Has Four New Directors

Interactive OntarioTorontoInteractive Ontario today announced four new directors have been elected to the Board. These directors were voted in on January 26th at the Interactive Ontario Annual General Meeting of Members.

Newly elected board members include:

Sara Diamond, President, OCAD
Collin Douma, VP, Social Media, Proximity Canada
Gary Schwartz, President & CEO, Impact Mobile
Jeffrey Elliott, Founder and Co-CEO, GlassBOX Television Inc.

“Interactive Ontario is thrilled to welcome these new directors to the Board. Each one is a leader in their field, and contribute greatly to the interactive digital media industry,” said Ian Kelso, president and CEO of Interactive Ontario. “ We look forward to working with them over the course of the next year to continue to build the interactive digital media industry in Ontario and Canada.”

Re-elected board members include:

Mark Bishop, Partner, marblemedia
Danny Dowhal, COO, The Learning Edge Corp.
Trevor Fencott. Managing Partner & CEO, Bedlam Games
Laura Jo Gunter, Dean – Information Arts & Technology, Seneca College
Mike Mays, VP Finance, Silicon Knights

Returning Board members include:

Pary Bell, Vice President, Product, Digital Media, Rogers
Vikas Gupta, CEO & President, TransGaming Technologies
Lydia Sani, Partner, Redwood e-Learning Systems and Invisions Productions Inc.
Michael Schmalz, CFO, Digital Extremes
Scott Simpson, CEO, bitHeads / Headgames / playbrains

The executive was re-appointed by the board and includes:

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27th January 2010

Assassin’s Creed 2 Battle of Forli DLC Available Tomorrow

UbisoftMontrealUbisoft has officially announced the release date for the first DLC expansion for Assassin’s Creed 2. The Battle of Forli expands the Assassin’s Creed II Sequence 12 experience by delivering a missing piece of the storyline. Join Machiavelli and Caterina Sforza to defend Forli from the Orsi Brothers. Accomplish a daring rescue and prevent the Piece of Eden from falling into the hands of the Templars. Uncover new depths to the historical conspiracy by gaining access to six challenging new memories including the opportunity to pilot Leonardo’s flying machine across Romagna.

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Battle of Forli is rated M (in keeping with Assassin’s Creed’s rating) and will be available on Thursday, January 28 2010 on Xbox Live for 320 MS Points as well as a on the PlayStation Network for $3.99.

Battle of Forli

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27th January 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and a Sword of the Stars Sequel

EA SportsBurnabyElectronic Arts will celebrate the single largest sporting event on the planet with the only official and exclusively licensed videogame for the EA Canada-developed 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Now everyone can play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, Wii™, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) and mobile in April 2010 in anticipation of the real-world tournament which begins in June. EA Sports FIFA World Cup

EA SPORTS™ 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa will feature all the emotion and passion of the fiercest national rivalries battling on the world’s biggest stage, with all 199 national teams that took part in qualification, all 10 official stadiums to be used in South Africa and stadiums from each qualifying region. Gamers will be able to play as their home nation from qualification right through to a virtual reproduction of the FIFA World Cup Final™ and feel what it is like to score the goal that lifts a nation. Everything fans love about the World Cup will come to life in spectacular detail, including confetti rain, streamers, & fireworks—just like the official tournament.

For the first time ever in a videogame compete in a full and authentic online World Cup tournament. Carry the hopes and dreams of a nation into battle against fans from rival countries, from the group stage through the knockout rounds to the chance to be crowned 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa TM champion. For fans of nations that failed to qualify for South Africa this is the chance to replay and re-write history. Plus, gameplay innovations capture the journey from qualification to the final tournament with home and away strategies for every nation, situational tactics in-game, and altitude effects that fatigue players faster and even impact the flight of the ball.

Presented in an art style that celebrates the cultural vibrancy of the first FIFA World Cup TM to be held in Africa, EA SPORTS 2010 FIFA World Cup on the Wii is an action-packed soccer game that brings friends together in their living rooms to compete for the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM. Travel around the world virtually to take on all 32 nations competing in South Africa in head-to-head challenges in Zakumi’s Dream Team mode. Start the journey with random players and then build your team by stealing an opposition player after each victory. Win a challenge and pick a player until you have conquered the world. Plus, take your team to a friend’s house on your Wii Remote.

Kerberos ProductionsVancouver – At the Paradox Interactive Convention in New York last week, Kerberos revealed that their next project is the much awaited sequel to the critically hailed Sword of the Stars 4X franchise. Today, Paradox Interactive summarizes some of the details revealed.

In Sword of the Stars 2, gamers will be reacquainted with the original six races from Swords of the Stars I and its expansions as well as reveal the dark secret of the original series, the Suul’ka – an ancient race that is responsible for tampering with the Liir, Zuul, and other races in the SotS universe! Sword of the Stars 2 is in early production and is scheduled for release in 2011.

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27th January 2010

Peer 1 Gets Ready to Open New Flagship Data Centre

Peer 1TorontoPEER 1 Hosting, Inc. has announced the opening of its US$40 million data centre, located in Toronto. At more than 40,000 square feet, this new data centre is more than twice the size of a professional hockey rink and marks the first time PEER 1 Hosting is offering all three hosting solutions – colocation, dedicated hosting and managed hosting – in Canada.

The opening of the flagship data centre is also the first time PEER 1 is offering all three hosting solutions under one roof, enabling small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) to conveniently choose the right solution for their business.

“The Internet is a vital platform for our customers, and it continues to grow,” said Fabio Banducci, president and CEO for PEER 1 Hosting. “Our new state-of-the-art Toronto data centre ensures we stay current and provide the fastest and most reliable network to serve our customers, now and in the future, while providing PEER 1 with enhanced flexible capacity to support its own growth.”

This is the most efficient data centre PEER 1 Hosting has built to date, with increased power densities, high reliability, and robust security. Building it in four sections, with each section built as a separate Performance Optimized Data Centre (POD), enables customers to expand their data centre capacity faster than ever before, while allowing PEER 1 to cost-effectively manage growth.

The new data centre utilizes some of the most efficient products and technologies on the market. This includes a redundant critical cooling infrastructure using both a local well for primary water supply and a connection to the city’s water system.

“We’re also using redundant high-efficiency Variable Frequency Drive centrifugal chillers to reduce cooling costs and condenser towers with economizers,” adds Ryan Murphey, vice president of facilities and data center operations for PEER 1 Hosting. “This enables PEER 1 to lessen the environmental impact of the data center by taking advantage of “free cooling” when the temperature drops below 10C.”

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26th January 2010

Digital Media Pub Night To Raise funds for Haiti Clean Water Project

Vancouver – The Vancouver digital media industry is raising their glasses to clean water. A group of industry leaders, musicians and concerned citizens have organized a pub night this Thursday to raise funds for a clean water project in Haiti.

Lead organizer and videogame veteran, Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch says, “Like many Canadians, our hearts go out to Haiti. My husband, Eli and I are both take action type of people and we decided to gather our network around a long-term sustainable project: clean drinking water. With Steamworks hosting the event and the help of friends in the music and digital media industries, we’re hopeful that Thursday night will raise enough money to launch this project for Haiti.”

Steamworks’ owner and Bailey’s husband, Eli Gershkovitch, is hosting the event. Tickets can be purchased for $25 dollars online at haitipubnight.com and include a beer, choice of burger and fries. Musical performances by Adaline, DJ Revise, Echo Pilot and The Zoe Trio will be featured. A silent auction will also be on site with donated goods from the videogame sector.

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Funds raised will go towards a Unicef Safe Water project with matching funds from CIDA. With an estimated 300,000 homeless in Haiti, the pub night group wanted to focus on a second wave support project. The Safe Water initiative provides homeless families with water kits, water purification tablets and other supplies that help reduce the deadly risk of contaminated water.

The group is using all of the tools in their arsenal to spread the word including a website, YouTube video, Facebook group and twitter feeds. The fundraiser takes place this Thursday at Steamworks from 7-10pm.

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26th January 2010

marblemedia Announces 3rd Season for Taste Buds and Canada Gets A New Yahoo!

marblemediaTorontomarblemedia today announced that a third season of the smash-hit children’s television series Taste Buds has been green-lit by TVOntario for a spring start of production.

With recent funding secured from the Shaw Rocket Fund, marblemedia will produce six new deliciously enticing episodes of Taste Buds. A hands-on interactive food adventure series for children ages 7 to 10, Taste Buds takes place in the kitchen and beyond. Hosted by returning cast members Avery, Lily and Matt, season three continues to encourage young viewers to be part of the whole process of food preparation – shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning up. taste buds

“We are proud to be able to influence the way kids are learning about food,” said marblemedia Executive Producer and Partner Mark Bishop. “Our third season of Taste Buds will celebrate the countless letters and suggestions we continue to get from kids and their parents while introducing them to new foods and healthy ways to create meals for the whole family.”

The launch of season three is scheduled for fall 2010, as the show returns to TVOntario, Access Alberta, Knowledge Network and the Saskatchewan Communications Network.

Associated with the television show, the official website TasteBudsTV.com, will be seasoned with additional interactive content supporting the third season, including streamed episodes, delicious recipes, make-your-own “cookbooker” and games for all ages.

Yahoo! CanadaTorontoYahoo! Canada has announced the launch of a new homepage for Canadians that brings together the best of the Web with the best of Yahoo! in a single destination across both PC and mobile screens. With the new Yahoo! Canada homepage, Canadians can easily add apps – from Yahoo! or virtually any other site on the Web – and access them from their computer or mobile devices so their favourite content, services and experiences are always at their fingertips.

“The Web is an indispensable part of Canadians’ lives, it’s where they socialize, stay in touch with family and friends, buy products and services and share their photos and memories,” says Matt Idema, Yahoo! vice president and country manager, Canada. “Whether for their PC or mobile device, Yahoo! Canada is bringing greater simplicity and relevance to the way Canadians experience the Web. Our new homepage is designed to help Canadians stay on top of what is going on in their world, and around the world no matter where they are.”

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26th January 2010

Innovacorp Announces I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition Winners

innovacorpHalifaxInnovacorp today announced the first and second place award winners in the provincial I-3 Technology Start-Up Competition, an innovative competition to identify and support high potential Nova Scotia knowledge-based businesses.

“The start-up businesses chosen as first and second place award winners are excellent examples of the types of high potential Nova Scotia companies that have the opportunity to compete globally,” said Dan MacDonald, president and CEO of Innovacorp.“The I-3 finalists are all targeting high growth industry sectors, including clean technology, life sciences, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.”

The first and second place zone winners each receive $100,000 and $40,000 respectively in a combination of cash and in-kind business building services from professional services firms located in their zones to be used for the further development of their start-up ventures. The first place winners will move on to the provincial round happening February 9, to compete for a $100,000 seed investment from Innovacorp.

The first and second place award winners in each zone are:

Zone 1 (Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough counties)

1st Place – LST Energy – Jim Trussler, Gus Swanson and Philip Landry – Pictou – has developed an innovative patented technology that will enable efficient burning of grass and hay biomass pellets. While grass and hay biomass is plentiful and renewable, until this innovation it has been impractical to use as a fuel because it caused furnace and stove maintenance issues that required continuous intervention. LST Energy will first target commercial heating applications.

2nd Place – X-Flux Environmental Technologies – David Risk – Antigonish – has developed an innovative system for real-time monitoring of carbon dioxide emissions from underground carbon capture and storage facilities. The patented technology enables a network of ground level CO2 monitoring probes, network management and validation of carbon storage for public safety and containment integrity. X-Flux is positioned to enter the global market and will begin pilot installations in 2010.

Zone 2 (Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties)xona games

1st PlaceXona Games – Matthew and Jason Doucette – Yarmouth – is an independent game development studio targeting Xbox 360 and PC gaming platforms. The company concentrates on intensifying retro-style games and has already gained international recognition, placing 7th in the world and 2nd in Canada in Microsoft’s 2009 Dream Build Play competition. Xona’s game Decimation X is the number one rated Xbox LIVE Indie Game in Japan.

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26th January 2010

Mass Effect 2 Day, VFS Teams Up with Pixelogic, IUGO Releases More Escape Details

Bioware CorpEdmonton – It would be only natural to begin with the biggest game release news of the day – Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 hits store shelves across the nation today, and already the title is getting raves from every corner of the continent. I will be picking up my Collector’s Edition today, and I am really looking forward to the awesome goodness that I know will be contained in that special tin box. While EA did send an advance copy to Village Gamer, it hasn’t yet arrived (watch it be sitting in the post office box today), and while I certainly appreciate the opportunity the publisher is trying to extend to me, I never receive the titles they send until after the games have been released, and as I like to log a number of hours in a game before writing a review, well…gotta love our postal system. Not. Mass Effect 2 Collector Armour

Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder, BioWare and Group General Manager of the RPG/MMO Group of EA commented on the launch of Mass Effect 2 saying, “Rich, immersive worlds, compelling characters and stories, and intense action are some of the hallmarks of BioWare games, and Mass Effect 2 truly raises the bar in every area. I’m incredibly proud of our team, who worked passionately to deliver a very high quality game for our fans. This epic sequel in the stunning Mass Effect universe is an extraordinary accomplishment, one which we can’t wait to get into the hands of a world-wide audience!”

The Mass Effect trilogy is an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets. In Mass Effect 2, players will once again step into the role of the heroic Commander Shepard, commanding their crew of some of the most dangerous operatives from across the galaxy on a mission so challenging that it’s potentially suicidal. Featuring intense shooter action, a rich futuristic storyline, space exploration and emotionally engaging character interaction, the game delivers an unparalleled cinematic experience.

Gamers who purchase a new copy of Mass Effect 2 will also be able to activate the ‘Cerberus Network’, an in-game portal in Mass Effect 2 that will keep fans engaged with the Mass Effect universe through downloadable content (DLC) and news at no extra charge. The first piece of DLC is available today, featuring a new mission around the Normandy crash site. For players who do not buy the game new, the ‘Cerberus Network’ can be unlocked through a one-time, in-game purchase of an activation code for 1200 MS points on the Xbox 360 and $15 on the PC. BioWare will release additional news on future ‘Cerberus Network’ content in the coming weeks. Activation is tied to a specific EA Online account and is non-transferable. Mass Effect 2 is available for the Xbox 360 and the PC and is rated ‘M’ for Mature by the ESRB

VFSVancouverVancouver Film School (VFS), Canada’s premier entertainment arts institution, and Pixologic, maker of the award-winning 2D/3D sculpting, texturing, and painting application ZBrush, today announced an official partnership agreement to provide VFS with full access to educational licenses for Pixologic’s cutting-edge software, ZBrush.

The partnership is the first of its kind for Pixologic in Canada. The agreement will primarily benefit students of VFS’s Animation & Visual Effects programs, respected worldwide for their graduates, including District 9 director Neill Blomkamp among many others. VFS students will have access to the latest innovative tools available in ZBrush, upgrades and technical support.

“Pixologic enthusiastically supports education and is committed to providing artists with the ZBrushmost innovative cutting edge tools of their craft,” says Pixologic Chief Operating Officer Jaime Labelle. “From illustration to animation and visual effects to game design, we at Pixologic recognize the standard of excellence that comes from the entire VFS community and are thrilled to partner and support them in their creative process.”

ZBrush’s place within the Animation & Visual Effects curriculum means that students are provided with skills and experience in a tool that is widely used on top films like Avatar, Watchmen, and District 9, and games like Gears of War 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, all properties on which VFS Animation & Visual Effects graduates have worked. The partnership gives students at VFS a crucial advantage as they begin their careers.

“This partnership really allows us to take advantage of what Pixologic brings to the table with their products,” says VFS’s Managing Director Marty Hasselbach. “It also allows Pixologic to benefit from what VFS does, and that is create fantastic work using their cutting-edge software, ZBrush.”

IUGOVancouver – Mobile game developer IUGO has announced that their latest title Escape, which we announced a few days ago, will be going to the EscapeBlackBerry platform before it becomes available for the iPhone, with pricing to be revealed upon launch. This newest puzzler promises the following features:

*Endless levels and gameplay
*2 additional unlockable difficulty modes introduced through DLC (iPhone only)
*Simple controls for all ages
*Minimalist graphics for maximum appeal
*Unique cerebral game play complimented by relaxing audio and visual effects
*Surprisingly addictive!

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