Vancouver game dev industry veterans Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes have officially announced the formation of Silicon Sisters Interactive , a new Canadian video game company based in Vancouver that will create games for a predominantly female audience.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, female gamers are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics, with women currently accounting for 40% of the overall gaming audience. Silicon Sisters plans to capture and grow this rapidly expanding market by tailoring games to these players’ daily lives and personal interests. Their target customers — women of all ages, from tweens and teens to hard-working women worldwide — comprise an audience that the company’s all-female design staff inherently understands.
“We’re not interested in ‘pinkifying’ games, which is how girl games are typically designed,” says Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Silicon Sisters’ CEO. “It’s no coincidence that the games I and many other female gamers are most drawn to have had women involved in their development. Girls and women game differently than boys and men. Silicon Sisters has studied these differences so we can make games that truly appeal to and resonate with the female audience.”
It’s an objective perfectly suited to the founders’ backgrounds. During their combined 18 years in the industry, both have been vocal champions of female representation among video game developers and audiences. The former COO of Deep Fried Entertainment , Bailey Gershkovitch chairs the Vancouver chapter of Women in Games International (WIGeh ) and sits on GDC Canada’s Advisory Board. Forbes, previously an Executive Producer at Radical Entertainment , has delivered eleven top-selling games and is a veteran industry advocate for girl gaming preferences.
“The video game industry is experiencing a rebirth of sorts,” says Kirsten Forbes, Silicon Sisters’ COO. “PC online gaming is up, social networking has become pervasive, and mobile platforms are ubiquitous. Women are adopting games on these platforms in droves. It’s time to get serious about delivering quality games into this burgeoning market.”
Silicon Sisters’ predominantly female team, which includes noted designer Brenda Brathwaite  as a consultant, is working on two projects for PC and mobile platforms. This summer, company representatives will attend Casual Connect, GDC Europe, and GamesCom to pursue publishing opportunities for their own properties, as well as potential work-for-hire projects that correspond to Silicon Sisters’ corporate vision.
TransGaming, Inc.  is crossing the Atlantic and entering the European market after securing its first in a number of active agreements to deploy GameTreeTV  in the European market before the end of 2010. The first deployment will be with a European Managed Service Operator (MSO) who will begin releasing the new generation of set-top boxes to their subscriber base of multi-millions of households. Financial terms were not disclosed due to confidentiality reasons. TransGaming will be working closely with this MSO over the next few months to prepare for the commercial launch of GameTreeTV, which is currently slated for late 2010.
“This agreement is a major milestone and demonstration of TransGaming’s leading role in revolutionizing the delivery of high-end interactive content in the digital home,” said Vikas Gupta, President and CEO of TransGaming. “We are excited that European consumers will be the first to enjoy the ability to play great games directly through their set-top box and conveniently will be able to transact their games through a variety of consumer friendly business models.”
The GameTreeTV Gaming Platform is an on-demand video games service that gives consumers access to high quality games directly from the comfort of their living rooms through any Intel CE Media Processor based device. Consumers will be able to access a broad assortment of well-known, popular arcade, puzzle, family and adventure style games from the growing library at GameTreeTV. TransGaming first unveiled its GameTreeTV platform at the Intel Developer Forum in September last year while announcing a strategic collaboration agreement with Intel Corporation and an investment by Intel Capital.
Developers are invited to sign up for TransGaming’s Content Developer Program  in order to gain access to their SDK game emulation tools, documentation, and hardware requirements to bring your games direct to consumers through the GameTreeTV Games Platform.
Big Blue Bubble Inc. announced today that Home Sweet Home Online , the next evolution in the Home Sweet Home series is released on Facebook.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a home decorator? Now you can with Home Sweet Home Online! Build your dream home and show it off to your friends and the rest of the Home Sweet Home users. 
Home Sweet Home Online gives the player complete freedom when it comes to designing rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. They can paint objects different colors and they are not restricted to a grid when placing items. This freedom combined with thousands of furniture pieces allows the player to create a virtually infinite amount of different rooms!
Travel to your friend’s homes to see what ideas they come up with. You can even travel to their friend’s homes and check out what they’ve done. Meet new and interesting people and become an active part of the Home Sweet Home community!
The player can also play mini games to earn coins, unlock new furniture by gaining experience, and visit virtually everyone else’s home to rate their rooms get decoration ideas. With weekly updates of new content and features, players will continually try to outdo each other and win the Room of the Week prizes.
* Beautiful graphics and a vast variety of items at the players disposal
* Rate each other’s rooms for prizes
* Exciting mini-games help earn coins
* Unique furniture unlocking system
* Travel from neighborhood to neighborhood to find the latest trends
* Complete freedom when create rooms
* Buy new rooms, kitchens and bathrooms to create an even larger home! 
The REAL Hockey Experience on Wii™, the unprecedented NHL® 2K11  cross-country tour is bringing the excitement to the Vancouver area on Thursday, July 22 and Friday, July 23.
Phoenix Coyotes center, Kyle Turris, will return to his hometown of New Westminster on Thursday, July 22 to face-off with fans as they get exclusive hands-on play with NHL 2K11 months before it launches exclusively for the Nintendo Wii system.
Traveling throughout the northern United States and Canada, The REAL Hockey Experience on Wii™ brings the excitement of NHL hockey to fans in a custom-designed NHL 2K11 recreation vehicle rigged with portable video game gear created especially for fans and gamers. The trail of pucks, prizes and playable demos will also feature appearances by NHL stars throughout the tour, including Vancouver Canucks® forward and NHL 2K11 cover athlete Ryan Kesler, Los Angeles Kings® defenseman Jack Johnson, New Jersey Devils® forward Travis Zajac and more.
Lower Mainland enthusiasts can meet up with the NHL 2K11 tour bus at the New Westminster Best Buy store at 805 Boyd Street on July 22 from 1 – 4pm, or at the Richmond Best Buy store (5300 No. 3 Road) on July 23rd, again from 1 – 4pm.
The games hero Elasticr  could very well be the distant cousin of Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four or Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl with his powers of super body elongation, allowing him to fling himself acrobatically around a room to avoid evil aliens, devious traps and sharp spikes as he struggles to save the human race.
In the latest version of Elasticr, Montreal’s Dlux Studios  has added twenty additional levels along with a level chooser, full OpenFeint integration, and significantly more hair gel to manage Elasticr’s super sized pompadour. The Elasticr app’s physics engine creates realistic flying, bouncing and stretching effects unparalleled in the app store.
Fun for kids from five to one hundred, Elasticr’s is rated 4+ and is both suitable and enjoyable for children. Higher levels will test the skills of gamers of all ages as Elasticr encounters increasingly difficult obstacles such as disappearing hand holds, spinning blades and numerous chances for electrocution. Please ignore the smell of burning rubber…
To experience the most fun with rubber since the first rubber band was shot across a room at a co-worker, find the Elasticr arcade game in the iTunes app store  for only $0.99. Elasticr is compatible with all iPhone’s and iPod Touch devices running iOS 3.0 or higher. Go ahead and run it on your iPad too… Elasticr is more than happy to stretch onto the bigger screen for you.
As the iOS game market continues to expand, game developers are looking for ways to further promote their most popular games via a variety of methods, including mobile advertising, cross promotion in newer games, and pricing changes. With proper promotional support, changing an app’s price to free for a limited time can greatly build a game’s audience and improve its chances to grow revenue virally following the sale.
Get Set Games, creator of the successful Addicus  game, recently faced this scenario with its Mega Jump  title. Mega Jump was performing well in the charts, regularly pulling in over 2,500 downloads a day. However, the game struggled to break through the barrier and gain viral success, facing the same problem that every other app in the iOS ecosystem faces – getting discovered by players. Their solution was to temporarily make Mega Jump free and promote it on OpenFeint’s Free Game of the Day .
Downloads of the game jumped dramatically during the promotion, from 2,500 a day to over 1 million downloads while free for 3 days. The game went to #1 on the charts in over 25 countries. And the momentum continued once the game changed back to paid – with revenue growing 170% for the 3 weeks following the promotion. 
“We wanted to feature Mega Jump on OpenFeint because we thought the network had truly viral promotion capability. We knew we’d get a bump in sales, but wanted to test this theory,” said Derek van Vliet, Co-Founder of Get Set Games. “The promotion was an amazing success. It’s been a great ride for our studio and has dramatically increased our revenue stream.”
“Free Game of the Day was a great experience for Get Set Games,” said van Vliet. “OpenFeint has created a very easy to use program that really helps drive game downloads.”
Free Game of the Day consistently drives games to the top of the charts. Of the 30 games featured in May, 13 reached in the top 25 and 9 more reached the top 50 in the U.S. app store. Developers interested in being considered for Free Game of the Day can visit the Free Game of The Day site  to find out more.
Rusty Axe Games is proud to announce the availability of Dungeon Demon , a map design and editing tool for tabletop RPG, wargame and computer game map development. Early adopter pricing at $19.99 is available until Aug. 30, 2010 when Dungeon Demon will return to its normal purchase price of $29.99.
* Free upgrades forever
* An easy to use editor that blends rapid tiling with object placement. The tiling tool allows users to rapidly drag out ground, floor and wall layers before using the stamper to drop down individual objects.
* Dungeon Demon ships with roughly 200 pieces of professional, royalty free artwork that you can use in your own map designs, and additional art packs  are available. Royalty free licensing for commercial computer game development is available and include source art files in 32-bit alpha file formats for inclusion in game engines.
* Up to 9 user definable layers with no map dimension size restrictions!
* Dungeon Demon blends tiling and simple object placement to give you the best of both worlds in a fast and easy to use object oriented map editor. The grid system enables rapid tiling of wall and floor sections and graphic objects can be placed at any position in the map.
* Export maps as bitmaps or in XML format for use in computer games. Print maps directly from dungeon Demon or import bitmaps directly into your favorite paint program for further touch up.
* Use the legend tool to annotate your maps. Easy to use XML template system allows computer game designers to add additional map data with the legend tool.
EA Black Box has announced that Need for Speed™ World , the massively multiplayer online action racing game, will be available for digital download on July 27 for the PC. Need for Speed World combines the rush of illicit street racing, deep RPG style progression and vehicle customization into an immersive, socially-connected Need for Speed experience. Players can 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. 
Players can pre-order the Need for Speed World Starter Pack (Conditions & restrictions apply to this preorder offer. See the EA Store  for details) today to gain early access to the game on July 20. Gamers will also unlock exclusive cars, earn double XP, reserve their driver names and have VIP status permanently displayed in their driver profile before the game officially launches.
On July 20, the Need for Speed World Starter Pack will be available for $20. The Starter Pack includes a credit for $20 worth of SpeedBoost (the in-game currency), full access up to level 50 and a bundled assortment of power-ups including Nitrous and Traffic Magnet to help players get started. Players can also purchase additional items like power-ups, double XP periods and even rental cars starting at just a few cents. (Conditions & restrictions apply. See details at point of purchase.) A free client download  of Need for Speed World will also be available to give gamers a sample of the intense street-racing action with access to all races, pursuits and career progression up to level 10.
NBA Jam Session, an interactive basketball festival will travel across Canada this summer and bring free basketball activities to fans of all ages and skill levels. From August 21 to October 10, NBA Jam Session will make weekend stops in Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. Check out the tour’s Facebook page  for regular tour updates.
“Basketball is more popular than ever in Canada following the record-breaking TV viewership of Game 7 of the NBA Finals,” says General Manager of NBA Canada Dan MacKenzie. “NBA Jam Session will allow fans in Canada to experience the NBA like never before through a great mix of basketball and entertainment.”
Free Saturday activities for fans at each NBA Jam Session visit will include:
– Appearances by NBA players, legends, mascots and dancers
– Performance by a world famous Harlem Globetrotter
– A free photo for each fan with The Larry O’Brien Trophy
– An NBA Fit clinic to teach attendees how to get in shape
– Dancing instruction from NBA dancers
– Measure up stations that give fans a chance to compare height, hand and shoe size with NBA players
– A full day 3-on-3 tournament. There is a $60 entry fee per team and registration is required .
– There will be four age divisions: Under 12 will be co-ed as well as separate male and female divisions for players ages 13-15, 16-18 and 19+
– The winners of the 19 and over tournament will win a trip to Toronto for the National Finals at Air Canada Centre during a pre-season Toronto Raptors game
– Registration will be on a first come, first served basis and will open July 23 at 10:00 a.m. EDT
The NBA Jam Session Tour Schedule:
Halifax (Waterfront) August 21-22
Montreal (Crescent St.) September 11-12
Winnipeg (The Forks) September 18-19
Calgary (Olympic Plaza) September 25-26
Vancouver (Granville Sq.) October 2-3
Toronto (Yonge-Dundas Sq.) October 9-10
NBA Jam Session partners include: American Airlines, Colgate-Palmolive, EA Sports , Family Channel, Gatorade, HP, Life Science Nutritionals, Parmalat Canada Inc., Rogers Communications and Spalding.
Toronto-based international eCommerce solution provider PayPro Global  has announced that it has secured $1.7 million USD in funding. The new funds will be used to further develop the PayPro EasyCommerce platform, through technology and infrastructure advancements, support marketing efforts, and drive sales.
Enabling PayPro Global to make a huge investment in eCommerce technologies development has the potential to dramatically improve the way modern online software sales are managed, providing vendors with a safer, more efficient alternative. Well known as an innovative eCommerce provider, PayPro uses cutting edge technologies to deliver the best tools and services for selling software online .
PayPro’s EasyCommerce platform was designed to help sellers grow their business in global markets. PayPro services reduce the possible risks of online transactions, and ensure high sales conversion rates and customer satisfaction rates, using techniques available only through PayPro.
“The success of PayPro Global is directly related to the success of our client’s online software businesses, and this drives our continued development and expansion of the PayPro EasyCommerce platform,” said Matthew Silverman, CEO of PayPro Global. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to go far beyond building the most reliable, safe, advanced, and easy-to-use system for selling software online.”
Since its foundation, PayPro Global has put great effort into constructing a powerful end-to-end eCommerce solution with flexible architecture to meet the demands of companies of all sizes worldwide. The EasyCommerce platform includes comprehensive sales data reporting functionality that lets clients build custom reports and easily identify methods for improving sales. In addition, PayPro is known for providing personal attention to its clients and advising clients on effective ways to increase revenue.