Internet radio fans, check out Gaming World Entertainment Network, an internet station with roots in Canada. While the station is on the air for anyone to listen to, Guild Wars players can interact directly with radio DJs right in the Guild Wars world, participating in special events and fundraisers such as the upcoming Pink Day in LA (Lion’s Arch) whereby players are encouraged to dress their characters in pink on October 16th to show their support for breast cancer research. For those who would like to also donate financially to the cause, GW-EN has a donation page on the Canadian Cancer Society’s fundraising site. Station co-founder Rhonda Head, who lives in Saskatchewan, wanted to not only entertain and interact with Guild Wars players, but also give them a chance to give back to the global community. GW-EN has partnered with Gamers Giving Back, providing a way for gamers to come together as a group and help support a variety of non-profit organizations, including the Red Cross for Haiti relief effort and the Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Gaming World Entertainment Network plays a wide variety of music, and starting today at 1pm PDT, Michael (a.k.a. The CaveChild) makes his return to internet radio as DJ Behemoth. If you are a Guild Wars player, you’ll be able to find him in Kaineng Harbour rocking it out on one of the boats in American District 1.
Koolhaus Games announces Voting for Round One of its International Contest for Unsigned Bands. The Top 25 Favorites in each Round are being decided by voters to the site. The Top 10 Winner’s Songs will be included in the new soundtrack of their popular iPhone game – iMP:Surf the Music and the groups will earn royalties from game sales.
Just visit the site, click on the Contest link – and go to “Fans: Vote and Enter”. Check out the bands and vote for your favorite by August 23, 2010. Then, Enter to Win an iPod Touch. Enjoy all the great new songs and be part of getting these Unsigned Acts the exposure they deserve! There will be several Rounds and one Voter from each round wins an iPod Touch.
The National Film Board of Canada returns to 2010 Hiroshima International Animation Festival (August 7–11) with six films in competition. In the running for the Grand Prix are Lipsett Diaries and Drux Flux, two films by Theodore Ushev; Jeu de forme by Malcolm Sutherland; The Spine by Chris Landreth; Runaway by Cordell Barker and Retouches by Georges Schwizgebel. Ushev will be in Hiroshima, and Internet users can stay in touch with him via his blog.
The festival offers several programs in addition to the official competition. No fewer than 11 NFB films are featured at special presentations: Neighbours by Norman McLaren screens at the opening gala; Vive la rose by Bruce Alcock, co-produced with the Canadian company Global Mechanic, screens at the Best of the World program; and When the Day Breaks by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, Village of Idiots by Rose Newlove and Eugene Fedorenko, The Big Snit by Richard Condie and Ryan by Chris Landreth, co-produced by the Toronto-based company Copperheart Entertainment, are among the films selected for the program celebrating the festival’s 25th anniversary.
Theodore Ushev’s, Lipsett Diaries uses a series of imagined diary entries to trace the life of the brilliant filmmaker Arthur Lipsett, beginning with his solitary childhood and culminating in his suicide in 1986. The film is narrated by Xavier Dolan. Lipsett Diaries premiered at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June 2010 and received a Special Distinction Award. Ushev’s second film Drux Flux calls into question industry’s supremacy over humanity. Both films are produced by Marc Bertrand at the NFB’s French Animation Studio.
Runaway, by Oscar-nominated director Cordell Barker follows a wild escapade on a train with no conductor. The film garnered awards at Cannes and Annecy in 2009. The Spine by Academy Award-winning animator Chris Landreth, follows a man and woman trapped in a self-destructive relationship. Jeu de forme, directed by prolific Montreal filmmaker Malcolm Sutherland is a playful creative exercise. Georges Schwizgebel’s Retouches (co-production with Studio GDS) is a stylistic exercise based on the progressive transformation of images through a series of repeated movements.
Itibiti Systems Inc., a wholly owned division of Intertainment Media Inc., along with presenting sponsor McDonald’s Canada, today announced the debut of Launch Pad® – Canada’s first fully-integrated social media, entertainment and communications app for the desktop.
Representing the shared vision of developers Itibiti Systems and Canada’s premiere media agency, OMD Canada, Launch Pad® for McDonald’s sets a new standard in customized consumer engagement programs for global brands. The innovative, infinitely scalable platform defines an important new environment where a deeper relationship with consumers can be managed creatively and effectively.
FREE to download & use, Launch Pad’s customized page opens on the desktop as soon as the computer is turned on. With just one tool, consumers will now have instant access to an exclusive mix of content, services and communications features. Users can talk for free with friends and family across North America, stay connected with built-in social media favourites, click a premium selection of news & information feeds, access on-board MSN Live Services featuring Bing Search, enjoy VIP access to the latest promotions and updates, follow McDonald’s on Twitter and more.
“We’re very excited by the boundless possibilities of Launch Pad to engage, inform and inspire our customers”, said Hope Bagozzi, Director, National Marketing, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada. “We are always looking for ways to provide value to our customers, whether it’s through our menu offerings, a great restaurant experience or sponsoring new innovations such as the Launch Pad.”
Big and bold, the Launch Pad lets users add their own personal Facebook feed to the app, in addition to offering a premium suite of content with Splash Celebrity News, Citytv’s Breakfast Television, top movie trailers from tribute.ca, automotive reviews and information from the experts at Kelley Blue Book, the hottest stories on the web from the digg reel, and the ultimate in personal tech reviews/previews from the popular team at AppJudgement.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to be working together with the thought leaders at OMD Canada and McDonald’s Canada to debut this program nationwide,” said Brad Parry, Chief Marketing Officer – Itibiti Systems Inc. / Intertainment Media Inc. “Itibiti has created a powerful social media platform that can enhance digital strategies and achieve greater audience connection for brand clients globally.”
Telefilm Canada is pleased to announce that once again it has been recognized for its 2008-2009 annual report “Action”. Honoured by the 2010 International Arc Awards, an international annual report competition organized by MerComm, Inc., the Awards recognize outstanding achievement in annual reports from a variety of industries. Telefilm received the a Gold Award in the Non-Traditional Annual Report – Government Agencies and Offices category.
“To be recognized by yet another international competition is an honour for all of us at Telefilm,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director. “Each year, the annual report is the product of a good deal of time and energy on the part on many Telefilm employees, across many departments. It is extremely satisfying to then have that work acknowledged internationally.”
Telefilm Canada worked with the Montreal-based marketing agency CG3 for the creative concept and execution of the 2008-2009 annual report. The International Arc Awards has recognized Telefilm Canada on numerous occasions in the past, including in the 2009 when the organization’s annual report won the Bronze Award in the same category.
This is the second award competition that has recognized the annual report “Action”. Earlier in July, the 2009 Vision Awards awarded Telefilm with the following:
* Gold Award: Government Organizations – Annual Revenue of $100 million to $1 billion
* Silver Award: Best Agency Report – Americas Region
* Ranked 97th: Top 100 Annual Reports of 2009
The 2010 International Arc Awards will be handed out at an awards banquet in New York, NY on September 16, 2010.
Cisco is pairing its wireless technology leadership with the Flip Video™ simplicity-in-design approach to launch Valet™, a breakthrough product line that makes home wireless simple and accessible to everyone. Valet is designed to transform how families use the Internet in their homes so they can enjoy the freedom of wireless access without the usual frustration and complexity of setting up a home network.
“Valet is home wireless made easy,” said Jonathan Kaplan, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Consumer Products. “With complementary backgrounds and expertise, our Cisco and Flip teams have combined forces to change the rules for home wireless with a product line that empowers consumers to easily set up, enjoy and manage all of their wireless devices anywhere in the home.”
While consumer demand for wireless products is on the rise with a tremendous array of new devices in the market, research from IDC Canada (Source: IDC Canada estimates for 2009, based on wireless home router ownership and use among total Canadian households) reveals that only 39% of Canadian homes are currently set up for wireless use.” This surprisingly slow adoption of home wireless is largely due to the complexity of offerings that are too technical for the average consumer to install and manage on their own. At the same time, the demand for wireless-enabled products – such as mobile phones, gaming systems, and music players – is extremely strong, according to ABI Research data reporting that more than 264 million of these types of devices shipped worldwide in 2009.
“Consumers have felt powerless and frustrated with the entire process of home wireless, but with Valet we are tearing down the walls and opening it up to everyone,” Kaplan added. “The market for wireless-enabled products is exploding, and now mainstream users will be able to take full advantage of all the new opportunities.”
Valet is the first wireless product line to make it simple for anyone to set up and manage a home wireless network. Consumers who have high-speed Internet access simply insert the included Easy Setup Key right into a USB port in their PC or Mac, and the Cisco Connect software takes over. Unlike other wireless products that require 20 to 30 complicated steps to set up a single computer, Cisco Connect takes you through three steps from start to finish. The Easy Setup Key retains all setup information and can be easily inserted into additional home computers to seamlessly add them to the home’s wireless network.
Once set up, Valet gives consumers a simple way to manage their family’s home wireless experience. The included Cisco Connect software makes it easy to: 1) add additional devices to the network, 2) set parental controls, 3) provide Internet access for guests on a separate guest network and 4) customize personal security settings such as passwords.
Valet also provides a new level of control for parents with simple tools to manage their family’s online experience. Valet’s Cisco Connect software lets parents easily set controls on the fly, so they can modify Web usage for certain days and times of the week, or even for temporary periods. For example, if teens are spending too much time on social networks or gaming systems, parents can modify their wireless access so that they cannot go online after 9 p.m. on weeknights. For each personal device connected to Valet — whether computer, gaming system or smart phone — Internet access can be individually controlled or changed, and inappropriate content can be blocked altogether.
In addition, Valet makes it easy to set up guest wireless access when friends or family come to visit. With a completely separate wireless connection, guests can use their laptops or mobile phones around the house, while the main Valet home network remains highly secure and private.
The new Valet line is offered in two models – Valet and Valet Plus – based on the size of the home and the mix of wired and wireless devices. In addition, there is a simple Valet Connector to update older computers without built-in wireless capabilities or to upgrade to Wireless-N. Valet users have access to Cisco’s award-winning 24/7 phone support in the unlikely event they have a question or problem. The Valet product line is available at Best Buy, Future Shop, Staples, London Drugs, The Source and select other retailers
* Valet – For small to medium-sized homes with primarily wireless device $99.99
* Valet Plus – For medium-sized to large homes with a mix of wireless and wired devices $129.99
* Valet Connector – Upgrades an older computer to wireless; an ideal complement to Valet or Valet Plus $69.99
Cisco has also unveiled a new line of Linksys® wireless routers in Canada, designed to let its core audience of tech experts and enthusiasts take their home networking experience to the next level. The streamlined product lineup sets a new precedent for simplicity, power and performance and makes it easy for consumers to find the right technology to fit their needs. The line also includes new Cisco Connect software, which gives users tools for easier customization and control of their home wireless experience.
With the addition of the new Cisco Connect software, the new Linksys E-Series is designed to make it easier for users to customize and control their wireless network settings to match their preferences. With a quick and easy setup, the software auto-assigns the WPA security passkey and SSID. Once those are configured, users can use Cisco Connect to easily manage their wireless home network.
And in other news, the Research & Analysis division of analyst firm Forecasting & Analyzing Digital Entertainment, LLC (FADE) gaming on Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) grew by double-digit numbers during the first half of the year, after a sluggish start in January and February which saw numbers down year over year. Overall, the XBLA market place grew 13% to $46.1 million USD by the end of June. June 2010 capped off the first half with an impressive 36% increase compared to last year’s June 2009.
FADE reports that the major turning point in 2010 for XBLA came during the heavily promoted ‘Block Party’ event, which started in March and featured four titles: ‘Toy Soldiers’, ‘Perfect Dark’, ‘Scrap Metal’ and ‘Game Room’. ‘Toy Soldiers’ and ‘Perfect Dark’ both took in over $2 million USD during the first half, placing each among the top five by revenue. The free-to-download classic title destination ‘Game Room’ also saw success, with over a million downloads shortly after release.
March started the positive trend, posting a strong 41% year-over-year increase in revenues, which began a consecutive 4-month run of double digit gains in revenue when compared to 2009. Starting in April, Microsoft began to aggressively promote price drops on dozens of titles, starting with the ‘Inventory Blowout’ sale which ran for one week in April, and included 10 titles. Throughout the second quarter, multiple sales were offered on titles, totaling over 40 titles offered on discount. These sales were seen as a success, as many titles saw revenue increases of between 50-200%. “We saw Microsoft take a very different approach to product deployment strategies this year,” said Benjamin Schlichter, Director of Research and Analysis for FADE. “The second quarter of the year has traditionally been their weakest, and they made great strides to improve the performance during the period, as revenue increased 24% compared to the year prior during a period when much of the rest of the industry is down.”
FADE maintains that Xbox Live Arcade will realize an estimated $130 million to $140 million by the end of the year, following strong hardware sales due to a solid holiday lineup, the new Slim console, and marketing for the motion-sensing Kinect hardware. Most notably, Microsoft’s 3rd annual ‘Summer of Arcade’ is anticipated to be met with impressive sales, following the implementation of their new ‘Destination Arcade’ UI.
Kinect brings an air of unpredictability to the mix. FADE research believes that Kinect pricing may dampen sales for the hardware slightly, but the possibilities of the platform may yield impressive revenues for Arcade developers looking to leverage the new platform for mini-games and unique, affordable experiences.
FADE Top 10 Estimates for H1 2010, by Revenue (USD)
* Toy Soldiers (Signal Studios) – $4.6 million (1200 Microsoft Points)
* Trials HD (RedLynx) – $4.4 million (800 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
* Castle Crashers (The Behemoth) – $2.9 million (800 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
* Battlefield 1943 (EA DICE) – $2.5 million (800 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
* Perfect Dark (4J Studios) – $2.4 million (800 Microsoft Points)
* Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Capcom) – $1.8 million (800 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
* Family Game Night (EA Bright Light) – $1.7 million (400 – 800 Microsoft Points)
* Shadow Complex (Chair Entertainment) – $1.2 million (800 – 1200 Microsoft Points)
* Magic: The Gathering (Stainless Games) – $900,000 (800 Microsoft Points)
* Call of Duty Classic (Infinity Ward) – $800,000 (1200 Microsoft Points)