Vancouver – Big Fish Games  has released their latest social game title, My Tribe™ on Facebook . My Tribe is the second in a series of social game initiatives that Big Fish Games is launching in 2010. My Tribe was first released in 2008 as a highly addictive, immersive downloadable SIM game for Mac and PC. Now redesigned and extended to the Facebook platform by the Big Fish Vancouver studio, My Tribe offers its characteristically fun and emotionally enriching gameplay to the social gaming audience.
“Social gamers are increasingly drawn to game experiences that offer greater depth of gameplay in easily  accessible, social formats,” said Will O’Brien, vice president of Social Games at Big Fish Games. “My Tribe is precisely that. What’s cool about My Tribe is that when you’re actively playing, you govern your tribe, but while you are away, your tribespeople will take matters into their own hands. Your teenage tribespeople, for example, may choose to sleep or eat instead of chopping wood!”
Players begin by selecting an island from among billions of options. Each island is unique with varying levels of natural resources and mysterious objects that are revealed through gameplay. Ryan Clark, My Tribe executive producer, provided more detail about the game: “With a player’s guidance, tribespeople develop areas of specialty – for example, construction – to help them accomplish larger tasks like building a ship or a storehouse. They grow from child to youth to adult, learn new skills, have children of their own, and eventually become respected elders. And because gameplay is continuous – your tribe is living, learning, fishing, eating and surviving even when your computer is turned off – it’s especially important for players to check in regularly on the tribe’s progress.”
Through problem solving and caring for their tribes, players unlock knowledge that allows their tribespeople to do things like create customized clothing and accessories, build shelter, provide food, and make scientific discoveries. As players accomplish various feats, they level up and eventually unlock trophies and quests. Tribespeople can travel to islands within a player’s friend network to help accomplish those feats. My Tribe is free to play with the option to level up faster and enhance the gameplay experience by buying virtual goods.
Edmonton – The siege begins again! Bioware’s  Dragon Age™: Origins  – Awakening , the expansion pack to the globally acclaimed Dragon Age: Origins, is available now at retailers and via download on Xbox LIVE® and the PlayStation®Network (PSN) in North America. In Europe, the game will be available on Xbox and PC at retail and also via download from Xbox LIVE® and PlayStation®Network on March 19. Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening builds on the original Dragon Age: Origins masterpiece beginning where the first game ended.
“Dragon Age: Origins introduced us to a robust, mysterious, and tumultuous fantasy world,” said Aaryn Flynn, Studio General Manager of BioWare in Edmonton. “Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening brings players deeper into the folds to face even more complex moral decisions as the leader of the Grey Wardens and the results of those responsibilities and actions.”
In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening players assume the role of a Grey Warden Commander entrusted with rebuilding the order of Grey Wardens and uncovering the mystery of how the darkspawn survive after the slaying of the Archdemon. In this chapter of the epic RPG saga, players make difficult moral choices about how to rebuild their order, resolve the conflict with the mysterious “Architect,” and determine the fate of the darkspawn. Each choice impacts the shape of each player’s heroic journey. Players will be able to import their character from Dragon Age: Origins or start out as a new Grey Warden from the neighboring land of Orlais.
Designed and written by the same team that created Dragon Age: Origins, the Awakening expansion pack introduces a brand new area of the world to explore known as Amaranthine. In this dark and dangerous world, players set out to unravel the secrets of the darkspawn and learn their true motivations. Players will face a range of horrific and terrifying creatures including an evolved, intelligent breed of darkspawn and other menacing creatures such as the Inferno Golem and a spectral dragon. Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening provides new customization tools for players to tailor their heroes and party and re-spec their character attributes, allowing for even greater replayability. Featuring an increased level cap, new spells, abilities, specializations and items, plus five all-new party members, players can further advance their adventures from Dragon Age: Origins.
Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is available for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and PC. The game is rated “M” for mature by the ESRB 18 and has an MSRP of $39.99 in North America. Dragon Age: Origins is required to play Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening for original campaign, full features, and downloadable content.
Vancouver – Vancouver Film School  (VFS), Canada’s premier entertainment arts institution and one of the most distinguished worldwide, will be welcoming emerging artists from all over the world starting this July for a series of week-long Summer Intensive Programs in Vancouver, BC.
As Vancouver enjoys the spotlight on the global stage in 2010, the Summer Intensives promise to be a truly international meeting of creative minds. Last summer, nearly 200 talented students from 4 continents and 18 different countries – including Canada, the U.S., Israel, Portugal, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago – attended the inaugural programs at VFS.
Students described their week at VFS as the “experience of a lifetime”, and that’s exactly what VFS will bring to a new group of aspiring artists, animators, designers, writers, actors, and filmmakers in 2010. The Summer Intensive Programs give students who are thinking about joining VFS full-time the chance to try its world-renowned entertainment arts programs for themselves, learn from top VFS faculty, and come away with industry knowledge, hands-on experience, and meaningful insight into what a one-year full-time program at VFS can offer them and their career.
2010 VFS Summer Intensive Programs include:
Acting for Film & Television: July 12-16
Digital Design: July 12-16
Entertainment Business Management: July 12-16
Sound Design for Visual Media: July 12-16
Writing for Film & Television: July 12-16
Animation & Visual Effects: July 19-23
Film Production: July 19-23
Game Design: July 19-23
Makeup Design for Film & Television: July 19-23
Foundation Visual Art & Design: July 26-30
After completing a VFS Summer Intensive program, students enrolling in full-time studies at VFS will have the cost of their Intensive applied to their tuition.
Summer Intensive Programs are open to anyone 17 years of age or older. Space is limited and several programs sold out in 2009, with this year’s sessions expected to do the same. For full details and to register, visit the programme information page .
In May, students will have an additional chance to find out more about VFS and the secrets to its alumni successes at one of several Roadshow events in major cities across Canada. The information sessions will provide an overview of VFS’s 13 programs, showcase award-winning student work, and give attendees a chance to meet VFS’s Director of Admissions, Benjamin Colling. Roadshow details and dates will be announced next week.
Burnaby – EA  Black Box  has started the closed beta for its massively multiplayer online action racing game Need for Speed™ World . Over the course of the next few months, thousands of players worldwide will have the opportunity to claim one of the limited slots in the PC beta test by enlisting online . Need for Speed World testers will be the first in the world to get an insider’s look at this hotly anticipated racing MMO, and their constructive feedback will go straight back to the development team to help add polish, finesse and tuning to the final product.
“Need for Speed World is the world’s first MMO racer – a completely new entertainment experience for speed junkies all over the world,” said John Doyle, Need for Speed World Senior Producer. “We have expanded Need for Speed’s classic adrenaline fueled racing with an all-new power up system and deep RPG style progression to create a truly massive, socially-connected white-knuckle Need for Speed experience.” 
Available this summer for PC, Need for Speed World brings together best in class action racing with an unparalleled social experience. For the first time in a racing game, players will be able to compete against any one of their friends, family or pick from thousands of top ranked players to challenge in intense online battles and police pursuits across 150 miles of sprawling open world. Need for Speed World takes the well known and popular cities from Need for Speed Most Wanted and Need for Speed Carbon to create the biggest, most exciting race world ever released in the Need for Speed universe.
Montreal – The National Film Board of Canada  has partnered with YouTube to premiere the feature-length documentary film, The “Socalled” Movie in the US, starting March 16 during the South By Southwest festival. Canadian musician Socalled , whose debut music video garnered over 2M views on YouTube, is the subject of the film and will also be performing at the festival. The “Socalled” Movie directed by Gary Beitel is a co-production between reFrame Films and the NFB and will be available for rent at youtube.com/socalledmovie . The film will be in Canadian theatres this spring. 
“This latest development in our partnership with YouTube represents an exciting new distribution opportunity for the National Film Board of Canada,” said Tom Perlmutter, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. “At the NFB, we’re leading the way in using online and mobile technology to bring Canadian talent and creativity to the world and opening the door for Canadian innovation in the audio-visual industry. YouTube is the perfect platform for Socalled and The “Socalled” Movie, and the ideal channel to serve our growing U.S. online audience.”
Entertainment Marketing and Strategy Manager at YouTube, Sara Pollack states, “Socalled has been a celebrated figure on YouTube ever since his music video ‘You Are Never Alone’ debuted on the site almost two years ago. We’re thrilled to be able to give our users a chance to learn more about this talented artist by premiering The “Socalled” Movie on our platform.”
The NFB already programs its own YouTube channel  and features some of its award-winning animation on YouTube’s online screening room. Canada’s public film producer and distributor, the NFB also collaborates with YouTube on online short film competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
Longueuil – D-BOX Technologies Inc.  has announced another agreement with Galaxy Theatres to equip two additional theatres, both in the State of Washington, with groundbreaking D-BOX MFX Seats.
Galaxy Theatre Uptown in Gig Harbor and Galaxy Monroe, in Monroe, Washington, will both have 22 D-BOX MFX seats installed. This announcement brings the total number of Galaxy Theatres offering the D-BOX experience to four. Existing Galaxy Theatres offering the motion-enhanced seating technology include one of the first theatres, the Galaxy Highland in Austin, Texas, and Galaxy at the Cannery in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The newest theatres in Washington are scheduled to debut on April 2, with Warner Bros. movie Clash of the Titans.
“Last year we were just introducing our technology in commercial theatres and Galaxy Theatres was one of the first to come on board. We are very proud to continue that relationship by adding two more theatres and anticipate outfitting more Galaxy Theatres with our technology,” said President and CEO, Claude Mc Master. “As of today, more than 20 theatres have been or are scheduled to be installed representing a commitment for close to five hundred MFX seats since we first introduced the technology in commercial theatres.”
“Having been involved with D-BOX in the initial phase of that technology’s rollout, we know the public definitely enjoys the D-Box experience and we look forward to partnering with them to bring the fun to more of our customers.”, added Rafe Cohen, President of Galaxy Theatres.
Montreal – With thousands of Internet sites, blogs, forums and social media sites available to consumers, it can be difficult for local businesses to keep on top of all the public comments about them – and to ensure continued vigilance regarding their online reputation, or “e-reputation.” With this in mind, weblocal.ca  offers local businesses Canada’s first Internet reputation management system. This system enables them to examine, gather and analyze important online information related to their organizations. You can view a PDF data sheet  about the programme online at weblocal.ca.
“The new weblocal.ca Canadian Internet Reputation Management System offers local businesses a complete, easy-to-use and flexible solution that supports their marketing strategies to enhance their reputation among Internet consumers,” explains Andrei Uglar, General Manager, weblocal.ca”
For example, following an analysis, a business could take a number of actions to adjust its business strategy:
– Improve the impact of its marketing activities
– Enhance brand awareness on the Internet
– Establish and maintain dialogue with customers
– Ensure the accuracy of its coordinates on the Web
Web 2.0 has changed the way consumers make their purchase decisions -they consult other Internet users’ comments and accounts of their experiences before buying. According to a Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, 90 per cent of consumers rely on comments posted by their relatives, and 70 per cent rely on comments posted by their peers.
“In the Web 2.0 era, Web users are not only potential customers, but also potentially important influencers in their virtual environments,” specifies Mr. Uglar. “In very little time, a comment can find its way to a forum, get tweeted a number of times, and become the subject of a new Facebook page: there are thousands of Web users who are informed in real time.”
Up until just recently, the concept of reputation has been primarily associated with word-of-mouth communication. With Web 2.0, this has transformed into “e-reputation” and spreads quickly, given the large number of Internet users. As a result, businesses need to implement strategies to follow these trends and commentaries, and to act accordingly so that they can meet customer expectations.
Reputation management is important. According to some experts, reputation represents 70 per cent of the total value of a business. An Opus Research study of more than 2,000 businesses shows that close to 44 per cent of these monitor their business names through search engines, and a little over 15 per cent use alerts on an informal basis. However, this approach requires a significant – and often underestimated – investment of time and effort.
“Our system’s intelligent dashboard facilitates analysis of information gathered, and enables a business to quickly identify which elements have generated customer reaction,” explains Mr. Uglar. “Thanks to an interactive timeline, the system can also target precise periods where lower or higher levels of activity have been found. Then, the owner can adjust and adapt his business strategy in real time, without the need for significant manpower or time investments.”
The system provides electronic as well as printed reports, if required. Email or SMS (Short Message Service) alerts keep the user informed about the latest posted comments, enabling them to react quickly when required. Additionally, the system also detects every Internet site where an organization’s coordinates (for example, telephone number, postal and Internet addresses) appear. It enables business owners to see and take control of their online presence, saving them time, effort and frustration of finding and correcting every incorrect business listing on the Internet. “A business without its own virtual portal relies on its presence in Internet listings so that its clients can locate it and contact it,” explains Mr. Uglar. “The publication of inaccurate contact information can translate into customer attrition and lower revenues, and we are delighted to be able to help increase local businesses’ visibility and presence on the Internet, thanks to this innovative service which responds to a real need.”