The biggest news of the day seems to be the announcement by American Internet movie subscription company Netflix, Inc. The corporation started our week with the announcement that it will expand into Canada this fall offering unlimited movies and TV episodes streamed instantly to TVs and computers (and game consoles?) for one low monthly fee.
Canadian Netflix members will be able to instantly watch a broad array of movies and TV episodes right on their TVs via a range of consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix, as well as watching on PCs and Macs. In addition to representing its inaugural international market, Canada will also mark the first streaming-only service promoted by Netflix.
At the time of launch, the Netflix Canadian service will be available in English only, but the company said it expects to add French language capability over time. Canadians interested in Netflix can sign up to receive an email from the company when the service launches in Canada this fall.
Vancouver’s Yummy Interactive, Inc. a veteran leader in online PC games distribution for over 10 years today introduced its turnkey game service, Yummy Games Quick Launch, which provides portal operators and online communities with a quick-to-market Games on Demand solution.
The Yummy Games Quick Launch system enables multiple business models packaged under one umbrella. Consumers can play their favorite games via subscription, full-purchase download and limited-time PC game rental. Quick Launch partners can choose from one of Yummy’s custom design themes for their website, and customize elements throughout the site. They will then be able to select their game inventory from Yummy’s licensed catalog of over 1,000 titles and even supplement their library with their own proprietary or licensed game content.
Yummy’s full spectrum of applications, back-office tools and digital distribution technology are all leveraged to engage customers in buying and playing games. If you are at Casual Connect in Seattle this week, be sure to stop by Yummy’s booth and say hi.
The Yummy Games platform includes:
* Yummy’s Progressive Streaming – this technology permits end users to begin playing a game before it has been fully downloaded. This buffering also reduces bandwidth usage, lowering overall hosting costs.
* Games Player – as both a web-based and desktop application, users can access their service and download, launch and save games through the Player from their desktop or their favourite web browser.
* Games Website – the website includes a complete array of pages that highlight the product catalog, service features and support. It includes all meta data on games, search tools, advertising and dynamic web services that will automate lists of games such as Top Played Games, New Releases, and Recommendations.
* Account Management – customers can establish user accounts which are fully managed, secured, and maintained and can be connected to outside databases.
* Automated Updates – content changes, game patches, application fixes are all managed automatically for users every time they log in.
* Digital Rights Management – game executables are wrapped and protected with Yummy’s GameShield™ technology and data is encrypted alongside session-based authentication and IP detection for user account access.
* Cloud Computing – a selection of games can now be saved to the Cloud, so users can access their game saves remotely.
* Real-time Reporting – revenue reports, statistics on player usage, network traffic, most played games, and network activity (session length, time of day, installs, playtime, geographic locations) are included.
The Quick-Launch system also manages hosting, delivery and e-commerce support as part of the overall white label package.
“With Quick Launch, Yummy offers online retailers and resellers an easy and cost-effective way to immediately engage in digital distribution,” says Nick Mellios, CEO of Yummy Interactive. “Our customers can participate in sales, rental or subscription of games online, and focus their sales efforts on engaging their audience, while our Quick Launch solution provides them the complete infrastructure for content delivery online.”
World Cyber Games Canada announced a partnership with École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), who will host the 2010 WCG Canadian Championship on its campus, downtown Montréal. The event will be held on Labor Day weekend, September 3rd to 5th 2010.
More than 400 gamers from coast-to-coast are expected to attend this year’s event. The top players and teams will compete for a chance to represent Canada at the next World Cyber Games Grand Final in Los Angeles, USA.
“We are thrilled to partner with such a world-class university. Many ÉTS graduates have contributed to WCG Canada’s recent successes and it’s only fitting that Canada’s most prestigious e-sport event be held here”, said Stephan Richard, Executive Director, WCG Canada. “It is the third time in the past 5 years that Montreal is host to our national final. As one of the world’s largest hubs for producing video games, we couldn’t have found a better place to celebrate WCG’s 10th anniversary.”
“World Cyber Games’ Canadian Championship provides ÉTS with such a unique opportunity. Lan ÉTS’ success, being the largest annual LAN event in Eastern North America, the growing popularity of our IT and software engineering programs, and the increasing demand for graduates and co-op students in those fields confirm that video games and engineering are a great match”, said Yves Beauchamp, Professor and CEO of ÉTS.
This year’s WCG National Final will feature Counter-Strike 1.6 (PC), FIFA Soccer 2010 (PC), Guitar Hero 5 (XBOX), and Forza Motorsport (XBOX). Other non-official tournaments will also be featured as part of a special edition of the Lan ÉTS, including Counter-Strike Source and Quake Live. Prizes will be given away to winners. To register online at LAN ÉTS.
Game Bridger Entertainment, a global publisher and distributor of interactive online entertainment media based in Markham, has announced that the closed beta test for its highly-anticipated free-to-play parkour racing game, FreeJack, will begin on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 13:00 EST. Players will be able to download the closed beta client early from the new FreeJack homepage launching Monday, July 19th, 2010. The FreeJack closed beta will be playable for both North American and European players.
“FreeJack’s parkour racing offers a wholly unique gameplay experience,” said Matthew Denomme, Marketing Manager at Game Bridger Entertainment, “it blends the addictive combo systems of classic extreme sports titles with the hectic multiplayer antics and accessibility of familiar kart racers – all wrapped up in a hip and vibrant package that truly captures the spirit of the underground sport on which it’s based.”
To ensure a seamless beta experience, Game Bridger Entertainment has launched the FreeJack official website on GamerKraft, so that players can register for the beta in advance and begin discussing FreeJack on the GamerKraft forums. On Monday, July 19th, 2010, the FreeJack closed beta client will be released for download and closed beta keys will be distributed through select gaming sites. Details on how to obtain a limited quantity closed beta key will also be announced via the FreeJack website on Monday, July 19th, 2010. Players will be able to start playing FreeJack when the closed beta servers go live on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 13:00 EST.
FreeJack is a free-to-play parkour racing game for Windows PCs supporting Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Players race head-to-head across the urban metropolis of New Jack City as one of four hip characters, bustin’ stylish flips and tricks to increase their speed and gain access to hidden pathways and shortcuts. Players can personalize their character with fresh outfits and running gear and even customize their own unique in-game living space with cool furniture and accessories to show off to friends! FreeJack also supports online leaderboards, a club/clan system, in-game friends lists, and more! FreeJack is launching in July 2010 from GamerKraft. GamerKraft. Play Free.
THQ has selected commerce solution provider Live Gamer to power the e-commerce solutions for the company’s PC-online and mobile games in North America. Relic Entertainment’s Company of Heroes® Online, launching later this year in the United States and Canada, will be the first THQ title to integrate Live Gamer’s Elements platform for monetizing its virtual economy. Other scheduled projects include multiple social game titles for Facebook.
“In-game virtual items have become increasingly popular with gamers today, and not only offer them a more immersive experience, but also give game publishers a viable and profitable revenue stream,” said Martin Good, THQ Executive Vice President, Kids, Family, Casual Games, and Global Online Services. “Live Gamer offers the most complete platform for integrating a virtual economy into our games. We view this as a critical component of our complete online game delivery platform for THQ’s growing portfolio of online games.”
“Major game publishers like THQ are tapping into the growing virtual goods market more than ever,” said Andrew Schneider, President and Co-Founder, Live Gamer. “We’ve watched this industry evolve since its inception and today, virtual economies have become the driving force in the online gaming business. THQ is at the forefront of game development across the globe, and we look forward to helping them grow their business model for years to come.”
Telefilm Canada is today announcing that Web-Ciné 360, a pilot initiative that aims to encourage the incorporation of online marketing and use of social media tool in distribution business practices for Canadian films well ahead of their release, will henceforth be offered to the English-language market, for the next two years. The Telefilm Canada initiative has been offered to the French-language market since January of this year.
Eligible distribution companies will obtain financial support from Telefilm for designing promotional campaigns that include online marketing by making use of search-engine optimization or Web technologies in general; by producing a content-rich website; by creating content for such social media tools as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; or by using online advertising. In order to measure the strategies’ effectiveness, distributors will be invited to make use of recognized online marketing and Web audience analysis tools, and even to use companies with expertise in this area.
“We’ve noticed that Web-Ciné 360 has elicited a lot of interest within the industry in the French-language market,” said Michel Pradier, Telefilm Canada’s Director of Project Financing. “This has hastened the adoption of new interactive tools and their integration into existing distribution strategies. Based on our experience since the launch of the pilot initiative, and following discussions with the industry, we are today extending the initiative to the English-language market. Our aim is to support Canadian producers and distributors in the ongoing improvement of their feature-film promotional and marketing strategies.”
“Telefilm, with Web-Ciné 360’s introduction in English Canada, continues to foster a vibrant Canadian film industry,” said Bryan Gliserman, Co-president, E1 Entertainment Canada.
Telefilm’s initiative for the English market is aimed at distribution companies eligible for the organization’s feature-film Marketing Program, for projects having recently obtained production support. Distributors have until October 29, 2010 to submit a project.
Telefilm Canada has also announced the seven French-language feature-film projects that have been selected to receive funding under the Web-Ciné 360 pilot initiative, which aims to encourage the incorporation of online marketing and use of social media tools in distribution business practices for Canadian films, well ahead of the films’ release. Telefilm launched the initiative in January of this year in order to accelerate the industry’s adoption of these new interactive tools intended to strengthen film promotion and marketing. In light of the initiative’s success to date, Telefilm is extending Web-Ciné 360 for a second year and is also announcing the launch of an identical initiative targeting the English market (see news release issued today).
“Web-Ciné 360 has elicited a lot of interest within the industry-from producers as well as distributors-and we’ve received high-quality proposals during this first round,” said Michel Pradier, Telefilm Canada’s Director of Project Financing. “The projects selected under the initiative will be the first to benefit from major online marketing campaigns involving French-language films in Canada. These campaigns should produce meaningful results at the box-office and will certainly inspire more and more producers and distributors to invest in these kinds of online strategies. In light of the success the initiative has had in its first few months, we are extending it so that a larger number of projects will have the opportunity to obtain the support and resources they need to develop and implement Web and social media campaigns for their projects.”
“When it comes to marketing home-grown films, online marketing is the way of the future,” said producer Denise Robert, one of whose projects was selected to receive funding under the Web-Ciné 360 initiative. “I think now is the time for the industry to have access to an initiative aimed at implementing effective online strategies that are integrated very early on in a film’s distribution cycle.”
“Online marketing holds a lot of potential for the distribution of feature films,” stated Victor Rego, Vice President, Marketing for Quebec at Seville Pictures. “The timing is good for Canadian distributors and producers to benefit from the positive impact of campaigns such as these. And Web-Ciné 360 is an excellent initiative in terms of raising awareness among the industry.”
The seven projects selected for 2009-2010
Telefilm’s initiative for the French-language market is aimed at distribution companies eligible for the organization’s Marketing Program for French-language productions, for projects having recently obtained production support. Distributors wishing to benefit from Telefilm support under the Web-Ciné 360 initiative must include online marketing in their promotional strategy by making use of search-engine optimization or Web technologies in general; by producing a content-rich website; by creating content for such social media tools as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; or by using online advertising. In order to measure the strategies’ effectiveness, distributors will be invited to make use of recognized online marketing and Web audience analysis tools, and even to use companies with expertise in this area.
MaRS is proud to announce that one of its clients, Jigsee, has secured funding from a consortium of angel investors. The funding will allow Jigsee to commercialize and deploy its media delivery platform in India, where the mobile value added services market is expected to generate $2.7 billion this year. The Indian mobile market is the fastest growing in the world – there are currently over 600 million subscribers and that number is expected to reach 1 billion by 2014.
Jigsee has developed a proprietary platform that enables efficient, secure and reliable delivery of content to a wide selection of mobile phones. Its technology accommodates large user volumes while making efficient use of available network resources when streaming Videos-On-Demand (VODs). Jigsee plans to rapidly expand its presence to other emerging markets following its pilot deployment in India. Currently, the mobile industry in emerging countries is mired with challenges in congestion, low bandwidth and handset incompatibility.
“As an investor, I was impressed with Jigsee’s combination of market trend, partner traction and their experienced team,” says Graham Matthews, President and CEO of Upper Canada Ventures Inc. “They are at the front of an emerging wave related to channel partners. Most importantly, the Jigsee founders clearly show a vision and passion for their business and have a demonstrated track record of success,” says Matthews.
“Our technology makes significant strides in the way end-users in emerging markets are able to utilize their mobile phones. One of Jigsee’s competitive advantages in emerging markets is its ability to transform basic low-cost phones from simple calling gadgets into devices capable of receiving video of any length, whether it be live sporting events, educational courses or even Bollywood movies,” says Ray Newal, CEO of Jigsee. “We are also very proud to have MaRS working with us as a partner throughout this entire process. The MaRS advisors were able to help us identify key issues and solidify our market focus.”
Co-founders Ray Newal, former VP of Business Development and Content Acquisition at Yahoo! Canada, and Gordon Jekubik, former CFO of Microsoft Canada, became MaRS clients in 2009. “It’s a pleasure to work with companies with innovative technology focused on large growing mobile markets such as India,” says Krista Jones, Practice Lead for the MaRS Information technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice. “Jigsee also brings an outstanding management team that has achieved an impressive amount of market traction through key partnerships in the Indian mobile market.”
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Canada’s biggest travel app for smartPhones has just been released by Pedersen Productions, a Canadian production company with deep roots in film and television production. goExplore Canada will show you where to go, what to see, where to stay, where to eat and just “where the heck am I?” and has just been released in the Apple app store, with an Android version coming out towards the end of this month.
Developed by Austin, TX company BarZ Adventures, the free app uses detailed maps and includes more than 3,000 Points of Interest in Canada — searchable by province, territory and city with sections for nature and adventure, history, fun things to do, eating, sleeping, night life, transportation, essential services and more.
“Our goal was the most complete travel app for Canada,” said Mark Pedersen. “If you’re traveling in Canada, this is the app you want to have.”
“Travel is rich with visual possibilities,” said Jon Pedersen. “Stills and video are very effective when it comes to exploring places and in our app we’ve made good use of both. This is a very pretty app.”
One of the challenges was to build an app this big and make sure it didn’t crash. But working with their software developers, the Pedersens have come up with an app that occupies little space on the phone and runs fast.
goExplore Canada has been developed with the co-operation of attractions and venues, using material they’re already displaying on the web. With pins, go Explore Canada locates each attraction on a searchable map of Canada, and since smartPhones have GPS, users can see where they are in relation to any attraction.
Commercial attractions, hotels, restaurants and others have signed up to be on the map as well and the brothers hope this modest revenue stream will cover the substantial costs involved in licensing the software.
Jon is a self-taught filmmaker who, early in his career, was honoured with the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award of Excellence in Cinema and who, for many years has shot and directed documentaries and features, both independently and for the National Film Board, TVOntario, CTV and others.
Mark is a journalist who worked for The Canadian Press, CBC Radio and then CBC Television as an on-air political reporter, then as a producer and eventually Executive Producer. Later, he established Pedersen Productions and independently produced (with Angus Street Productions) 78 episodes of the Canadian Antiques Roadshow as well as documentaries for both CBC and CTV.
Open source tools designers 49 Research is pleased to announce the launch of a new and improved website featuring an extensive summary of the Company’s results from over a decade of accumulated project experience. The services section offers a breakdown of 12 targeted industries with detailed descriptions for potential clients and customers.
“We are an active member of the open source community. Our open source tools have an application in everything from online advertising technology, bioinformatics, and development tools.”, said Charles Iliya Krempeaux, co-founder of 49 Research. The open source software tools are listed in the code section of the 49 Research website.
Job seekers will find an improved careers section with a variety of posted job opportunities. The Insights blog contains a wealth of information for everyone from software developers, members of the media, and laypeople looking to learn more about the software industry.
Speedware, a leading provider of IT modernization solutions, today announced the addition of StrongHold to its portfolio of migration offerings. StrongHold is an automated software product that converts Cognos PowerHouse code to Java. This announcement is a result of Speedware’s recent alliance with Brains2B, a Netherlands-based company. Through this agreement, Brains2B grants Speedware exclusive worldwide distribution rights to its StrongHold software.
PowerHouse is a legacy 4GL application development technology developed by Cognos and used by organizations to develop business applications. Under the terms of the partnership, Speedware will become a solution provider for customers interested in modernizing their legacy PowerHouse applications by converting the code to an enterprise Java solution. Legacy modernization projects are performed to resolve the current challenges facing organizations operating critical business functions on legacy platforms. For the PowerHouse user community these challenges include high license fees and support costs, platforms that have become obsolete, being locked into a technology that is dependent on legacy skills, and the rising costs for resources. Through IT modernization, PowerHouse customers are able to adopt leading-edge systems and technologies without losing the investment in their legacy systems.
As part of the agreement Speedware will provide all-encompassing solutions that address data and databases and third-party technologies as well as providing worldwide support. The partnership also covers marketing, sales and joint development efforts to support automated migrations.
“We have seen an increased demand from the PowerHouse user base for solutions that can modernize PowerHouse applications to Java,” said Christine McDowell, Manager of Strategic Alliances at Speedware. “The StrongHold automated software can do this with reduced risk and less cost when compared to other options such as rewriting the code or replacing the legacy applications with packaged applications,” she explained.
“I am very happy to combine our StrongHold product with Speedware’s experience in modernization solutions,” said Dennis Groenendijk of Brains2B. “Speedware’s expertise in the process and methodology of modernization is what makes them such a valuable partner. Their ability to deliver end-to-end modernization solutions that are integrated into the customer’s IT environment adds real value to our automated software,” he added.
Protecode, Inc., a solution provider for managing open source software licenses, today announced Protecode System 4™, the latest refinement of a suite of capabilities that enables all sizes of enterprise businesses — small, medium and large — to efficiently and cost-effectively identify open source content in their source code and determine their licensing obligations. System 4 installs as a simple overlay on existing design, development and testing environments without changing any existing workflows.
The core of System 4 is the Protecode open source reference database that matches source code against a comprehensive list of 450,000 open source software projects. Using a modular architecture to enable a wide variety of deployment possibilities, System 4 comprises a set of lightweight clients installed throughout an organization with minimal overhead on IT infrastructure and technical staff. System 4 can be easily customized for individual company divisions, product lines, or geographic offices with this architecture, including centralized or project-level user group, role, permission and license policy administration.
“Despite the increased use of open source and other third-party software, Protecode is among only a few vendors capable of analyzing code through its use of source code signature databases,” said Jay Lyman, enterprise software analyst with The 451 Group. “Software such as Protecode’s System 4 can enable enterprises to adopt and use open source software more effectively and safely.”
“In the last year some big names have been involved in legal cases because they overlooked their open source license obligations. We developed Protecode System 4 to prevent that sort of problem,” said Mahshad Koohgoli, CEO, Protecode. “Now organizations can scan all incoming source code and outgoing software products to make sure their licensing view is up-to-date and their legal obligations are being managed.”
Protecode System 4 delivers substantial improvements in three key areas: scalability, a new user interface and improved data relevance. Enterprise users can now instantiate multiple virtual instances of Protecode System 4 enabling different groups within an organization to set up their own open source management systems with specific roles and intellectual property policies. System 4 offers a completely revised web UI that delivers streamlined download, installation, and configuration as well as substantially improved navigation of software components and corresponding license obligations for greater ease of use and efficiency.
Additionally, Protecode System 4 provides multiple dimensions of analysis targeted to business, technology and legal domains. Aside from generating a comprehensive software inventory report, the system fully cross-references all licensing and copyright attributes to illuminate the full set of licensing obligations the enterprise is legally responsible for and includes significant algorithm advances to ensure highly accurate identification of open source code.