In today’s news leads, many of you probably already know that Ron Gilbert has left Hothead Games. On his blog, he stated that with DeathSpank‘s production winding down and heading for certification, his task is complete, although he will still be working closely with EA and Hothead to help promote the game.
Ubisoft Montreal will be holding a world exclusive autograph session with the Splinter Cell core team at the Montreal Future Shop on Ste Catherine Street next Tuesday, April 13th from 10am to 1pm. Celebrating the release of Splinter Cell: Conviction, Alexandre Parisot (producer), Maxime Beland (creative director), Patrick Redding (game director/coop mode) and Steven Masters (lead game designer) will be present to meet the fans and autograph the games.
I played through the new DLC for Mass Effect 2 last evening – the availability of Kasumi – Stolen Memory was plagued with server problems yesterday, which made for many unhappy ME2 players who were waiting to purchase the expansion. The new expansion, which adds Master Thief Kasumi Goto to the Normandy squad took me about an hour or so to play through, and while at first glance the 560 Microsoft Points price doesn’t really seem to give much value for the points, it’s important to remember that now an extra squad member and a new SMG will be available for subsequent re-plays of ME2. I guess that will even out the price and the shortness of the required missions. I would like to note, however, that there are areas where your character can (or in my case, will) get stuck. Without giving away the DLC plot – stay away from the chairs in a certain building during Kasumi’s loyalty mission. They act like a one way ramp and you’ll have to reload the game.
Burnaby – Turn up the music, raise your hands and voices and join the celebration! Electronic Arts today revealed the 28 artists across 20 countries who will usher in the EA SPORTS™ 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ with an international soundtrack that celebrates the cultural vibrancy of the first FIFA World Cup™ to be held in Africa.
EA SPORTS 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ captures the sounds and history of the musical landscape in Africa with a rhythmic, tribal blend of 28 songs that, through mass exposure to soccer, videogame and music fans, will become synonymous with the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ worldwide. Somali-born poet, musician and rapper, K’NAAN, headlines the soundtrack with his song “Wavin’ Flag Coca-Cola Celebration Mix”.
A full playable demo of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system will be available for download at the PLAYSTATION Store, and for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system on Xbox Live Marketplace, beginning April 8 worldwide. Play as Spain or Italy and discover a soccer experience that brings to life the passion and emotion of the actual tournament. New players to the FIFA Soccer franchise will be able to choose to play the demo utilizing new Two-Button controls designed to enable new gamers to pass, shoot and compete for the 2010 FIFA World CupTM with an accessible control scheme that utilizes just two buttons. In addition to playing a match soccer fans and gamers will be able to upload their replays from the demo to EA Football World for other fans to watch.
“2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is a landmark project in the evolution of world music and its African heritage,” says Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Marketing at Electronic Arts. “We’ve brought together such legendary African artists as Nigerian drummer/activist Babatunde Olatunji, Senegal icon Baaba Maal, and ‘The Bob Marley of Ghana’ Rocky Dawuni, with global superstars like Sergio Mendes and Nas & Damian Marley. But we’re perhaps most proud of K’NAAN, the unsigned Somali artist we discovered in 2004 whose music has now appeared in five different EA SPORTS video games.”
Listen to streaming music clips from this EA SPORTS one-of-a-kind mix of music, learn more about the bands and get details about features on the 2010 FIFA World Cup game web site.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will also be available on the Wii™, PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) and iPhone® on April 27, 2010 in North America and is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB.
Stratford – Canada’s Industry Minister Tony Clement will be the lead keynote speaker on the first day of the Canada 3.0 2010 digital media forum in Stratford, the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) announced today. The two-day forum is dedicated to advancing Canada’s digital media industry, and Minister Clement is expected to share how Canada can leverage the strengths of this emerging sector for global economic advantage.
“Industry Canada is committed to mobilizing science and technology to Canada’s advantage, and digital media has a key role to play in ensuring Canada’s ongoing economic success,” said Minister Clement.
There are three key elements needed to sustain a strong technological lead for the country and those are: creating entrepreneurial advantage by translating knowledge into commercially viable products; knowledge advantage to build upon research and engineering to achieve excellence; and people advantage to attract and develop the talent needed to sustain a digital economy, Minister Clement said.
Organizers highlight that the May 10th & 11th Canada 3.0 forum is an important milestone because it will bring together people with a common interest in making Canada a leader in digital media and achieving the ‘Moon Shot’ for ‘anyone to do anything on-line in Canada – by 2017’.
“We are working to commercialize digital technology, increase R&D efforts and collaboration across the country, and grow the skilled talent pool through facilities such as the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus and DigiBC,” said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the CDMN.
Helen McDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications, Industry Canada will also be speaking at the forum. Other speakers and stream leaders are drawn from private industry as well as academic and creative facilities.
Montreal – Meridian4 and Headup Games are pleased to announce that the highly-addictive strategy game Future Wars is now available digitally exclusively on Impulse, Stardock’s premium download channel – with a special introductory discount of 20% off until April 13th.
Similar to classic titles such as Advance Wars and Battle Isle, the game takes turn-based strategy gaming away from the micro-management overkill that it has become and using simple, proven rock-paper-scissors principles, reopens the genre to a wider audience.
With a modern 3D engine providing the graphics, a proven, easy to learn, but difficult to master set of rules surrounded by an engaging plot and challenging gameplay, the game will appeal to newcomers and hard-core gamers alike.
Also available is unlimited access and infinite possibilities to mod the game through open data structure, open scripts and an easy-to-use editor.
· Modern 3D graphics & proven gameplay embedded in an engaging and sometimes, humorous plot
· Infinite modding possibilities through open data structure, open scripts and editor
· Novel and unique game modes such as AI vs. AI or play-by-email
· Rock-paper-scissors principle makes Future Wars easy to learn but difficult to master
· In-game achievements encourages replay to acquire top honours
Calgary – iStockphoto has turned ten, and to celebrate they are kicking off a celebration of its first decade in business with cash and more than $20,000 USD in prizes. iStock is globally known as one of the first social networks in the world and remains one of the few community-oriented sites to sell user-generated content, allowing its member artists to share in the profits.
A decade and 100 million downloaded files later, it is nearly impossible to walk down a city street anywhere in the world, or watch TV without seeing an iStock photo, illustration or video. In fact, since the company began counting, six million registered members worldwide, on average, download a file every second.
So, what does the future hold for iStock and its six million-strong community? More growth, according to COO Kelly Thompson, plus streamlined user experiences and a natural alignment with emerging business models such as digital magazines for the iPad.
“The stock multimedia business model has transformed in the last decade, and although the model has changed, make no mistake, the demand for artistic stock is strong,” said Thompson. “With the decline of print, publishers who embrace new technology and understand its potential will not only survive, but flourish. As the leading e-commerce platform for affordable royalty-free stock imagery, video and sound, iStock is uniquely positioned to help these pioneers change the way people consume media.”
iStockphoto kicks off the celebrations with a 10th anniversary microsite, including detailed timelines and iStock history, and asked site members to upload self-portraits for the “Faces of iStock.” More than 3200 people have participated from 89 countries and today, we will announce the grand prize $10,000 winner.
Thanking its community for 10 great years, iStock will be giving away something every hour on Twitter, including cash and iPads, for 24 straight hours starting today. That’s 24 chances to win 24 killer prizes. Follow iStock on Twitter at twitter.com/istock and check out www.istock10.com/twitter for more information on how to participate.
Mississauga – A new online Internet safety Public Service Announcement campaign created by Canadian youth for Canadian youth launched today. Covering a wide range of important issues such as cyberbullying, sharing personal information and stranger danger, the short vignettes were created by members of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada as part of the CanTech Digital Arts Contest sponsored by Microsoft Canada.
“Our Internet safety research has traditionally focused on both parents and children but we decided to focus exclusively on children and dig deeper into their online behaviours,” said Gavin Thompson, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft Canada. “The survey yielded valuable insights and we felt it was important to disseminate that information in the most authentic manner possible – by having kids speak to kids about how they see Internet safety.”
The CanTech Digital Arts Contest tasked youths from coast-to-coast to create videos based on results from an Internet Safety Study conducted by Microsoft Canada and Youthography. Representatives from Microsoft Canada and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada selected six videos as finalists, divided into two categories to target youth under 12 years of age and those over 13 years of age.
“We appreciate the leadership Microsoft Canada has shown in educating Canadians about the importance of Internet safety,” said Pam Joliffe, President and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. “This partnership is connecting with Canadian youth in an innovative way on this issue and we’re extremely proud of the videos the young people from our Clubs created.”
An entry from Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club in Toronto, Ontario won first place in the under 12 category for their video about protecting personal information online. A submission from Boys and Girls Club of Botwood in Newfoundland won first place in the over 13 category for their video on cyberbullying. First-place finishers in both categories received an Xbox 360 console and video games for entertainment at their Boys and Girls Club. You can see all of the videos on the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada’s YouTube Channel.
Runners-up in the contest were:
Under 12 category:
* Greater Vancouver, British Columbia: Tomato and Blueberry
* St. Albans, Toronto, Ontario: Tell an Adult
Over 13 category:
* Toronto, Ontario: Soccer Field vs Cyberspace
* Greater Vancouver, British Columbia: Cyberbullying
Montreal – Tungle Corp., the company that is revolutionizing the online scheduling industry, today announced an integration partnership with California-based WiseStamp, the leading online personalized email signature service.
WiseStamp email signatures is an add-on that allows users to create personalized, functional and social signatures and insert them in to webmail services such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail. It also allows users to add Html code to their signature and insert it into any web page that supports Html, such as Google Docs or WordPress blog post. To date WiseStamp has been downloaded by more than 500,000 users worldwide.
“We are very excited to add Tungle.me to our growing list of partners and social services,” reports Josh Avnery, WiseStamp’s CEO. “WiseStamp is all about adding functionality and interaction into emails and therefore we feel that Tungle.me is a natural partner. Tungle.me’s effective solution not only enhances the information users share in their email signatures but also supports WiseStamp’s vision of bringing social life to email.”
Tungle Corp’s Tungle.me cross-platform scheduling application makes it easy for people to schedule meetings across organizations, calendar systems and time zones by eliminating costly double-bookings and the endless back-and-forth often associated with finding a mutually convenient time to meet. As a result, Tungle.me drastically improves productivity and efficiency.
“We’re pleased to be partnering with WiseStamp,” said Marc Gingras, chief executive officer and founder of Tungle Corp. “Thanks to this integration, WiseStamp users will be able to offer mail recipients a convenient single-click solution to sharing their calendar availability, thereby simplifying the process of scheduling meetings.”
Toronto – Super Heroes are coming to the real world in spectacular new ways thanks to two new creations in development by UD Replicas under license from Marvel Entertainment, LLC. UD Replicas unveiled a stunning new Wolverine Motorcycle Suit – including leather jacket, pants and gloves as seen in X2: X-MEN UNITED – during Wizard World Toronto Comic-Con, and orders will be accepted online in late April.
“Wolverine has one of the sleekest, most amazing suits you can imagine, and what we’re creating is as close to the real thing as you could possibly get,” said David Pea, owner of UD Replicas, the officially licensed division of Universal Designs Ltd. “It has taken us literally hundreds of hours to get it right, but the end result is truly stunning and we hope fans will love it.”
To ensure precise detail, Marvel provided UD Replicas with access to the Wolverine suit worn on screen in X2: X-MEN UNITED. To create the jacket, gloves and pants, UD Replicas is utilizing four different types of leather, which are hand-worked into an intricately faithful replica of the on-screen suit. Each X2 Wolverine Motorcycle Suit also incorporates removable CE-approved body armor; gloves with built-in, anti-skid Kevlar in the leather lining of the palms; and an interior, form-molded muscle suit sandwiched into the jacket’s torso section.
Pea continued, “No matter who you are, when you put it on and zip it up, you look like a Super Hero.”
Under its multi-title license with Marvel, UD Replicas also announced today that it is in development on an extraordinary leather replica of Tony Stark’s Mark V Suitcase Suit that will be seen in Marvel’s eagerly anticipated IRON MAN 2, which will be released in the U.S. on May 7.
“We’re putting our creative senses to work like we’ve never done before,” Pea said. “We’re going to mold and shape the leather to replicate the beautiful bevels and hard angles of the Mark V suit. We’re making the leather look like metal, and doing things we never thought would be possible.”
Calgary – MoboVivo has launched its first TV app for the iPad in the Apple Store. The Namaste Yoga TV app is the latest addition to MoboVivo’s portfolio of TV apps available for the iPhone, iPad and other mobile platforms. Based on the popular Discovery Channel TV show Namaste Yoga, the app includes 13 full episodes of “Hatha Vinyasa” yoga instruction all filmed in high definition, featuring spectacular scenery, original music and unique flowing movements.
Included in the iTunes Store’s initial suite of iPad-specific apps, the Namaste Yoga TV app optimizes the user experience through the iPad’s larger screen and innovative Multi-Touch user interface. Other MoboVivo TV apps are also available in the iTunes Store, in high definition format for both the iPhone and iPod Touch.
“As one of the top creators of mobile apps, MoboVivo develops marketing and alternative-to-broadcast distribution solutions for broadcasters, producers and DVD distributors,” says Trevor Doerksen, the company’s CEO. “Like our other apps, the iPad TV app gives access to mobovivo.com, where our customers’ shows can be viewed on most wired and wireless devices.”
And on a final note today before I head out to do a bit of paperwork at the office and then visit the F5Expo, April is Stress Awareness Month. It is sponsored by the Health Resource Network, a non-profit education network consisting of educators and health professionals. Stress Awareness Day is April 16th.
Some key facts about stress:
· 75% of the general population experience at least “some stress” every two weeks (National Health Interview Survey).
· There is no such thing as “good” or “healthy” stress; all stressors are bad for you.
· Millions of Americans suffer from unhealthy levels of stress at work.
· Tranquilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications are responsible for one fourth of all prescriptions in the U.S. every year. Source: Health Resource Network
Most people don’t know how easy it is to reduce stress levels. Yourbrain Media has released a downloadable E-Book, 48 Hour Stress Management, which will help to reduce stress through proven techniques used by professionals that have to deal with high-stress situations daily.
48 Hour Stress Management delivers a short-term plan to drastically reduce stress levels within 48 hours, using cutting edge techniques such as yoga and self-hypnosis.
Brad Gosse, founder of Yourbrain Media and SEO expert, is no stranger to stress:
“After following just a few of the techniques mentioned in this book, my stress levels were reduced significantly. Now all it takes is a few minutes in the morning with some of the professional exercises to keep my stress levels low throughout the day. My daily routine used to stress me out; now I look forward to it every day!”
48 Hour Stress Management doesn’t simply give band-aid techniques to manage stress levels; it digs down deep into the issues that are causing stress and for a limited time, 48 Hours Stress Management is on special.