Leading our News Briefs today, the Canada Media Fund’s Experimental Stream Application Form is now available for download from the CMF web site. Also announced today were the winners of the CMF Hot Docs Contest. The two winners were Mark Montague of Saskatchewan, Producer and Director of Minds Eye Entertainment, and Agata Ivanna Pogorelsky of Toronto, Creative Assistant at South American Vision. Both won passes to the 2010 Hot Docs Festival, giving them access to all films and festival events.
Toronto-area Mario fans of all ages will be among the first Canadians to get hands-on play time with the sequel to the 2007 debut Super Mario Galaxy. A special guest will make a surprise landing during the event, where participants will be able to enjoy on-site entertainment, receive exciting Nintendo giveaways (while supplies last), and have the chance to win 1 of 50 copies of the new game. The Canadian launch party for Super Mario Galaxy™ 2 will take place at Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, May 23rd from 12 noon until 8pm.
For those who may not already know this, Reader’s Digest Online teamed up with Fit Brains to bring some of their popular word games to the internet, your PC and yes, your iPhone. Word scrambler Word Power: Brain Sparks is available in the iTunes store for $2.99, while Word Power: Recharged is playable on your PC at the Reader’s Digest site or at Fit Brains, and will be available through other game portals as well. A third game, Word Power: The Green Revolution is downloadable to your PC for only $19.99 from either site. All three games are linked to the Word Power Network, which allows players to see their placing on the leaderboards and share in-game awards.
Today is the last day that you can grab IUGO’s Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet for the iPhone for free. You’d best hit the iTunes store now and grab this crazy earth-based alien-shoot-em-up while you can, because tomorrow you’ll have to pay for it. This offer is brought to you in part by OpenFeint’s Free Game of the Day programme. The aliens don’t stand a chance, because last Saturday, over 125 000 earth defenders joined Daisy Mae and her cause to rid the planet of hostile inter-planetary immigrants.
Bioware has announced new DLC for Mass Effect 2. Overlord will be available in June for 560 MS (or Bioware) points and will offer five new action packed levels and two new achievements. The action in this next DLC expansion will centre around an experimental and dangerous Virtual Intelligence creature that has been unleashed and is taking over any technology it finds to serve its purposes, including the Geth. Commander Shepard and his (or her) squad must infiltrate the VI’s heavily guarded fortress and shut it down before it can beam itself off planet, continuing its wave of havoc across the galaxy.
Dartmouth’s Innovacorp will be presenting a breakfast seminar on the morning of May 26th at the Innovation Boardroom, starting at 8:45am. The seminar’s topic is Building Effective Distribution Channels and will feature an expert panel who will discuss insights and advice on distributors and distributor agreements.
The panel will be moderated by Innovacorp’s interim president and CEO, Stephen Hartlen, and will feature Ian Lucas, executive vice president of innovation and strategy, Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., Robert Nadeau, a partner at law firm Kerr & Nadeau, and Mike Flynn, director of business development at Tether.
After six weeks of heated debate from online discussions about Canada’s future in the digital economy, three winners emerged from the ‘crowdsourcing’ competition called Canada’s Digital Compass, hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). The dialogue was spread among contributors from all parts of Canada and included more than 1,200 site visitors and overall, 70 ideas were submitted for voting.
The categories were judged by a panel from a wide range of industry backgrounds as well as community participation. Each week, starting on March 16, a new subject competition was launched and the five topics were: technology, education, media production, connectivity and policy development.
The winners were:
– First place: Brady Gilchrist for his ideas on “World Leadership in Digital Health Care.” In his summary, Brady believes that digital health care is the merger of traditional healthcare with new ideas born of digital technology to aid in solving complex problems and infusing “net style innovation into solving complicated problems.”
– Second place: Russell Fordham for his thoughts on “Digital Literacy for All Canadians.” Russell suggests that for Canada to be a global leader in the digital economy, all our citizens need to have the basic abilities to function and thrive in this environment, supported with the partnership of government, educational institutions and businesses.
– Third place: Alan Sawyer for “Implementing Temporary Advertising Tax Credits to Stimulate Canadian-based, On-line Video Distribution.” Alan notes that implementing tax credits for allowable expenditures on advertising at Canadian-owned, new media content sites would stimulate the development of new Canadian sites and increase Canadian content available for Canadian-owned media distribution.
The winners all received tickets to the Canada 3.0 Conference in Stratford, Ontario which took place May 10-11. The event featured leaders from across the country who continued the conversation on the future of digital media in Canada. “We created Canada’s Digital Compass to encourage new discussions to a broad audience on this topic and our goal was certainly accomplished,” says Tracey Riley, partner and national leader of the Technology, Information, Communication and Entertainment (TICE) practice of PwC.
Riley was happy with the turnout of participants to the crowdsourcing event and the wide range of topics that were being debated. During the last day of the competition, voting became more frequent and the leader-board changed hands several times. “We had lots of submissions on mobile and wireless project ideas but we were a bit surprised there wasn’t more discussion on cloud computing and green tech which are very popular topics at the moment,” she said.
Some of the topic ideas that were debated included a copyright model for the digital age, a government department devoted to innovation, evolving liberal arts education into digital arts and why Canada needs fibre-to-the-home.
In the education category, one of the most discussed themes, ideas focused on the opportunity to develop new curricula or educational institutes to encourage, teach and inspire Canadian students to lead in the digital economy. Connectivity was one of the most controversial themes. The winner proposed putting a stake in the ground and pursuing one particular technology to build Canada’s broadband infrastructure. The debate continues on the best technology to solve Canada’s urban and rural divide that will recapture our global leadership in broadband.
Winnipeg’s Complex Games has released a new trailer for their original game Wee Curl, which is being developed under licence for the Nintendo Wii.
The Game Developers Conference™ Canada (GDC Canada), co-produced by UBM TechWeb Game Network and Reboot Communications, brought together more than 775 game industry professionals last week for two days of learning, networking and inspiration at the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC). Comparable to last year’s attendance numbers, GDC Canada 2010 provided opportunities for sharing knowledge, making new connections and celebrating the passion and dedication of fellow Canadian game-makers. In May 2011, Reboot Communications will continue to serve the Canadian development community in Vancouver with a videogame conference that will feature a “Best of GDC” track, as part of Vancouver Interactive Digital Week 2011.
GDC Canada was designed with the core values and dedication to quality that is at the heart of all Game Developers Conferences®. With more than 35 lectures, panels, and sessions covering best-practices that studios should implement to develop successful franchises for consoles, iPhone games and digitally distributed titles, the conference was successful in inspiring Canadian developers to share experiences for fostering ingenuity and quality games. GDC Canada featured the Game Career Seminar, an expo area, business to business lounge and networking receptions where attendees met with representatives from Epic Games, Radical, Relic, Blue Castle, Hansoft and Sony Computer Entertainment, among others.
“It was our honor to host some of the most dedicated and talented developers at GDC Canada this year,” said Izora de Lillard, event director of GDC Canada. “The event was a great opportunity for the developer community to network with like minded professionals and learn best practices for developing big global titles and understanding emerging digital distribution models.”
Bill Mooney, a Vice President at Zynga Studios and General Manager of FarmVille, kicked-off GDC Canada with a keynote that provided a deeper dive into the evolving social gaming space and its future. The talk elaborated on the next business model of the internet using prominent Zynga titles as case studies, including FarmVille and Mafia Wars, whose soaring popularity has helped the Facebook-based games attain more than 85 million active users.
GDC Canada also hosted a Canadian version of GDC’s popular Game Career Seminar, which is designed for individuals looking to make a career move within the game industry. At the Game Career Seminar, videogame industry icon Tommy Tallarico brought his in-depth knowledge from years of experience to the mic with an intimate keynote interview with Victor Lucas, a Canadian television host of the Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run. Attendees learned how Tommy grew from humble beginning to his creation of Video Games Live and to having his own PBS special.
In May 2011, Reboot Communications will continue to serve the Canadian development community in Vancouver with a videogame conference as part of Vancouver Interactive Digital Week 2011. UBM TechWeb is pleased to continue to participate in the 2011 event in Vancouver, in the form of a specialized “Best of GDC” track. This partnership with Reboot will bring top GDC lectures from worldwide to the Canadian audience for the first time.
Electronic Arts Inc. and Klei Entertainment today announced that acclaimed writer Marianne Krawczyk will be writing the story for the striking 2D action brawler Shank™, which will be available for Xbox LIVE™ Arcade, PlayStation®Network and PC. Krawczyk is best known for her BAFTA award-winning work on the God of War® franchise and was named by Gamasutra as one of the top 20 game writers in the industry. Krawczyk is lending her expertise in crafting rich, well-developed characters for Shank’s tale of revenge.
“I’m very excited to be a part of Shank,” said Marianne Krawczyk. “I fell in love with the artwork, characters and world that Klei Entertainment created and together we are creating a story that will allow gamers to explore a world where values like integrity and loyalty take on their own twisted meanings.”
“When Shank was first conceived, we envisioned a fully realized world with provocative characters living out a mature, cinematic story,” said Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment. “Marianne has been able to flesh out our characters, and create a gritty, personal and unique story of full frontal revenge.”
Shank invites players to let loose with multiple weapons and rack up the kills with an exciting and free flowing combo system. Rip through the ranks of a legion of gang members to compete against friends on Shank’s online leaderboards. Featuring a captivating art style inspired by golden age comics and graphic novels, Shank’s blend of classic intense 2D action with a mature and gripping storyline makes it one of the most anticipated downloadable titles this year.
Bellevue, Washington’s Her Interactive, the leading mystery maker and publisher of 23 award-winning Nancy Drew games for the PC and game consoles, has announced that the highly anticipated Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister, will launch on June 29th 2010. For the millions of Nancy Drew fans who love their Apple computers, Her Interactive is also releasing the game on the Mac for the first time, enabled by Toronto-based TransGaming’s Cider Portability Engine. Her Interactive will publish the game in a dual format disc, playable on both Windows® PCs and Mac computers.
Nancy Drew goes undercover as a competitive storm chaser in this new mystery, set in Oklahoma during the tornado season. Teams are competing for a $100,000,000 prize for discovering a prediction formula for tornados, but something is not quite right… To solve the mystery of who is sabotaging the storm chasing team, Nancy is thrust into a world of wild weather, high technology, secret conversations, mysterious dealings, and ulterior motives. You are Nancy at her best as you learn about meteorology to help solve the mystery. Rich visuals, dangerous weather, new challenges, unique characters, and new puzzles all combine to make this Nancy’s stormiest adventure yet.
“Nancy Drew fans have been begging us to support Mac computers, and today, we’re thrilled to announce that Trail of the Twister is just the first of many games to support Mac,” says Megan Gaiser, president, Her Interactive. “Whether you play on a PC or Mac, you’ll find cracking the code in this mystery realistic and exciting with weather changes clouding the clues. And as in all great Nancy Drew mysteries, you have to interrogate friend and foe, because no one is above suspicion.”
“We are excited to partner with Her Interactive, using our Cider technology to enable the first ever simultaneous PC and Mac launch of the Nancy Drew franchise for consumers,” says Vikas Gupta, President and CEO, TransGaming, Inc. “Nancy Drew is such an iconic figure, we are certain the Mac community around the world will love playing these games.”
Her Interactive’s Nancy Drew games have sold more than 8 million units with each game surpassing sales of the prior. This success, in part, is buoyed by the ever-increasing numbers of girls and women becoming avid game players. Nancy Drew players now include moms who have introduced their daughters to the girl-detective, making her one of history’s longest-running iconic figures spanning generations.
Another new title from Transgaming, In The Mix Featuring Armin van Buuren, a DJ game exclusively for the Wii, has launched a new Facebook page. In The Mix will be published by Foreign Media Games in 2010.
Markham’s Game Bridger Entertainment announced today that the European open beta test for its highly-anticipated free-to-play MMORPG, Priston Tale 2: The Second Enigma, will begin on Friday, May 14th through its GamerKraft game portal. The open beta test will be marked by several significant updates and changes including, updated quests, an adjusted experience rate, and a new Europe-only server.
“We have collected invaluable feedback from thousands of players during the closed beta test,” said Matthew Denomme, Marketing Manager for Game Bridger Entertainment, “this feedback will inform improvements to the Priston Tale 2 gameplay experience in the upcoming open beta and beyond.”
Priston Tale 2: The Second Enigma is a free fantasy MMORPG for Windows PCs supporting Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Players venture across the vast and wondrous continent of Priston, currently under siege from the forces of the evil god Midranda, in a race to locate the only worldly power capable of ending his evil reign: the mythical Second Enigma. Priston Tale 2 features three unique races of playable characters, a combo-based active battle system, competitive player versus player combat, new skill and item systems, and extensive guild and party support. All this, in addition to slick, high-quality graphics made possible through the power of the Unreal Engine. Priston Tale 2: The Second Enigma is a part of the GamerKraft library of free games.
Longbow Games has released its flagship Real-time Strategy (RTS) game Hegemony: Philip of Macedon. Six years in the making, Hegemony: Philip of Macedon is a strategy game that will appeal to gamers and history fans as it follows the story and conquests of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, downloadable now for $29.99.
“After six years we’ve finally released the game that we hoped it would be with the quality, gameplay and historical reverence that war gamers and RTS players demand,” said Jim McNally, CEO of Longbow Games. “Philip of Macedon was a great leader and in many ways paved the way for Alexander the Great to conquer the world. We know fans of the genre and those that have an interest in how Greece was conquered will enjoy the game.”
Players will be able to conquer the ancient Greek world as they campaign across a continuous satellite-accurate map of ancient Greece, encountering the full range of warfare from reconnaissance to raids to field battles to mountain blockades, all while managing these included features:
* Innovative supply system – Siege and starve the enemy by cutting their supply lines or burning their crops, all the while building and protecting your own supply network to support your growing empire.
* Steeped in history – In-game pedia and 100+ historical objectives recreate the rise of the Macedonian empire.
* Detailed and stylized world and map – Transition smoothly between the detailed 3D world and the stylized board-game map while maintaining complete control over your empire.
* Subjugate your enemy – Chase down and capture routed enemy units to create slave gangs to work your mines or build your forts. But don’t leave them unguarded or they could rebel and wreak havoc in your empire’s heartland!
* Conquer the seas – Build or capture a fleet of triremes to protect your coastlines, raid enemy merchants, or drop an army at your enemy’s backdoor.
On Tuesday May 18 at 8 pm ET, The Agenda with Steve Paikin (TVO) offers a revealing discussion with experts in the field of internet privacy during mesh, Canada’s Web Conference. Guests include Ann Cavoukian, Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner and one of the leading privacy experts in the world; Mathew Ingram, senior writer at GigaOm, one of the leading technology blog networks; and David Fewer, director of the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) based at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.
The debate, hosted by Steve Paikin, will examine the way that internet companies change the visibility of our private information, and whether users are wrong to be sharing so much information or companies are wrong to be sharing information they don’t have the right to share. What happens when a company has control of our personal information, and that company is based in a country with different privacy laws? Once something is posted online, is it too late to start thinking about privacy?
Viewers may watch the broadcast on Tuesday May 18 at 8 pm ET or watch it in live streaming video at 1:20 pm ET.
The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) today welcomed the US Federal Court ruling yesterday against US-based Limewire, an online file sharing service with extensive reach in Canada and around the world.
“This decision is a huge win for artists and everyone involved in music, across Canada and worldwide,” said CRIA President Graham Henderson. “The ruling kicks another leg out from under a major source of pirated music in Canada.”
Henderson added, “Limewire is one of the last hold-outs from the Napster era that is still widely used. It’s particularly popular with people who find technologies like BitTorrent and newer peer-to-peer services too complicated. This ruling could cause a big shift from illicit downloading on Limewire to legitimate paid downloads.”
Limewire is one of the most popular peer-to-peer file sharing services. According to Alexa statistics, about 4 percent of all Limewire users are Canadian.
The US Federal Court found Limewire and its operators to be liable for inducement of widespread copyright theft and accepted evidence that 93 percent of the files available through Limewire are protected or highly likely to be protected by copyright. The Court also found that Limewire had intentionally encouraged direct infringements by Limewire users.
“Canadian music companies have been very diligent in making their artists’ work available in multiple digital channels,” said Duncan McKie, President and CEO, CIMA. “Hopefully this decision will remove a significant impediment to further developing the digital marketplace and compensating our creative artists for their continuing hard work.”