14th September 2010

Littlest Pet Shop Online Expands Product Line

HasbroHasbro and Electronic Arts today announced that big things are just around the corner for the millions of Littlest Pet Shop fans this fall. Hasbro will release an expanded Littlest Pet Shop Online (LPSO) toy line-up to retail this month. In addition, EA is set to launch a new virtual pet collection program within LPSO.com. Together, the growing Littlest Pet Shop Online experience will offer a blend of real-world and online play designed to capture the essence of the globally popular tween girl brand — collectability.
Building on the success of the Frima Studio developed Littlest Pet Shop Online, an immersive online world launched by EA in September 2009, Hasbro has added two new Littlest Pet Shop Online toys to its fall line-up that will allow girls to extend their real-world Littlest Pet Shop collections while also giving them special LPSO.com virtual benefits when they enter special codes included with toy purchases. Landing on retail shelves this month, the LPSO Dancing Dog and the LPSO Starter Pack toys further integrate the two play styles and enable girls to collect their favourite Littlest Pet Shop pets, connect online with friends, play games, and embark on fun adventures. Additionally, EA’s upcoming LPSO.com collection program, “Collect- a-Pet”, will broaden the online play experience with a series of in-game activities and challenges that girls must complete to unlock new adorable “Reward” pets that can be added to their growing virtual collections.

TLittlest Pet Shop Onlinehe LPSO Dancing Dog is an interactive pet that plugs into the computer or an MP3 player and boogies to the music on girls’ digital playlists. It also functions as a speaker and lights up and flashes to the beat creating instant Littlest Pet Shop fun. In addition, the LPSO Dancing Dog comes with a secret code to LPSO.com that unlocks special virtual in-game gifts. The LPSO Dancing Dog will carry an approximate retail price of $24.99.

Also on retail shelves this month will be the LPSO Starter Pack, which will allow girls to collect toy versions of their beloved LPSO.com star characters. Girls can assemble up to six of their favorite in-game characters such as Felina Murchent, the fashion-forward kitty who purrs with style and sass and Woolma O’Chic, the charismatic artiste who creates the trendiest designs available in LPSO fashion. Each LPSO Starter Pack pet will also come with a unique LPSO.com code to unlock a 30-day Premium Membership subscription as well as virtual gifts for a girl’s in-game pet. The LPSO Starter Pack will carry an approximate retail price of $9.99 for each of the six characters including a one-month Premium Membership for each pet purchased.

“Hasbro and EA have created an integrated suite of Littlest Pet Shop Online products that takes girls’ affinity for collection, meaningful play and social engagement to a new level,” said Valerie Jurries, Global Senior Vice President of Marketing at Hasbro. “Whether listening to music, spending time on the Internet or just hanging out, these latest LPSO offerings have been designed to allow girls to have their Littlest Pet Shop pets tag along right beside them.” Littlest Pet Shop Online

Adding to the fun and excitement of Hasbro’s new LPSO toys, EA will roll out major enhancements in LPSO.com this month, including the new “Collect-a-Pet” feature which will allow girls to unlock “Reward Pets” when they complete certain in-game activities such as performing multiplayer pet tricks, starting dance parties, or completing a challenging level in one of the many games. The LPSO.com “Reward Pets” will be a very special stand-out addition to girls’ online pet collections as many are inspired by their adorable on-shelf toy counterparts. The LPSO.com “Collect-a-Pet” feature will debut with four “Reward Pets” that will be accessible to all LPSO.com players like the Spotted Dalmatian, inspired by the Dalmatian that comes with the Littlest Pet Shop Rescue Tails Centre playset, also arriving at retail this fall. Additionally, 15 special edition pets such as a Strawberry Hamster and a Candy Zebra will be available exclusively to Premium Members.

Littlest Pet Shop Online“We anticipate the ‘Collect-a-Pet’ feature to be a big hit with our Littlest Pet Shop Online players as it really speaks to the core play pattern of the brand, which is all about building a delightful collection of wonderful pets,” said Chip Lange, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Hasbro Division at Electronic Arts. “With collection as a main pillar of gameplay within LPSO.com, girls will now have the opportunity to add to their virtual Littlest Pet Shop family, just as they have enjoyed doing with their toy collection over the years.”

Littlest Pet Shop fans can create an LPSO.com account and play for free under Basic Membership or purchase a Premium Membership subscription with exclusive features and benefits for $5.95 per month.

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14th September 2010

SmartSwipe Introduces Personal Credit Card Swiping

Regina-based NetSecure Technologies, smartswipea provider of online transaction security solutions for financial institutions has announced that its personal credit card reader, SmartSwipe, is now compatible with the Firefox® Web browser 3.6 or higher. Made available to financial institutions earlier this year, SmartSwipe helps protect consumers’ private information, while they shop online. The device is also compatible with Explorer 6.

“By enabling SmartSwipe to operate with various Web browsers, the personal credit card reader is a viable security option to a broader customer base,” said Daniel McCann, president, NetSecure Technologies. “For financial institutions, this means the potential for increased sales through bank-branded credit cards. Because of the security benefits, consumers are more likely to shop with that card, making SmartSwipe the ultimate “top of the wallet” product for financial institutions.”
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“Additionally, SmartSwipe improves customer satisfaction and confidence,” McCann continued. “Confidence in banking is at an all-time low, but by offering a personal security device that puts the consumer in control, financial institutions have an opportunity regain trust.”

Hackers are increasingly becoming more sophisticated, and anti-virus software is no longer enough to protect consumers. SmartSwipe provides proactive protection against all existing attacks as well as new emerging attacks, such as the latest Zeus Trojan virus, reported to have stolen more than $1 million from U.K. bank accounts this summer.

By leveraging NetSecure’s Dynamic SSL technology, SmartSwipe secures sensitive data at the point of origin, before it ever reaches the computer, protecting sensitive financial and personal information from endpoint threats such as keylogging, Spyware and Man-in-the-Browser.

Virtual-Vancouver.com will virtual vancouverhost a Virtual Night of Comedy, a real-time web stream of an all-star comedy event scheduled Sept. 16 at BBQues restaurant. This marks the first time this kind of live comedy and entertainment has been made available to thousands of residents without leaving their homes.

The local barbecue eatery has teamed with Virtual-Vancouver.com parent company Utherverse Digital to host the event on stage while simulcasting it live online at BBQues in-world location. Attendees in real life will be able to watch virtual avatars within the 3D world via TVs located throughout the restaurant, while virtual partygoers will see the live in-person event from within the online world.

“This provides a new, exciting and unique experience for people to view live entertainment either in person or in the virtual world if they can’t make it to the actual event,” Utherverse President Zak Zarry said.

The event will be hosted by local comedian Greg Kettner and will showcase top-rated acts that have been featured at Yuk Yuks, Just for Laughs, CTV’s Comedy Now, Las Vegas HBO Comedy Festival and Canada’s Next Top Comic. The headlining act will be Patrick Maliha, supported by fellow funnymen Chris James, Kyle Jones and several others.

The live web stream will start Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. in the BBQues virtual space with a $5 cover charge. The virtual event also will have a small cover charge using a virtual currency called “Rays.” BBQues’ physical location is 1043 Mainland St. in Yaletown.

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14th September 2010

First Foursquare Application for Digital Signage Networks Launched by ScreenScape

Charlottetown’s ScreenScape, a community-based digital signage network, has launched its foursquare widget, the first foursquare application for digital screenscapesignage networks. The widget empowers businesses who use both ScreenScape and foursquare to recognize and reward foursquare users in real-time by showing custom foursquare content on digital displays inside their venue. ScreenScape Members can start using the new widget today by logging into their account, as normal, and browsing to “add content”.

The market for location-based services like foursquare is still maturing, but adoption numbers are growing quickly. Foursquare currently has over 3 million registered users, and adds more than 100,000 new members a week. At the same time, marketers are still exploring how to best manage their promotional campaigns using location-based services and how to engage and reward users of the services on-premise. ScreenScape’s foursquare widget gives businesses the tools to harness foursquare for highly targeted in-venue marketing, or “hyper-local marketing,” that speaks directly to the customer and influences purchasing decisions in real-time. By screenscape and foursquareacknowledging and rewarding foursquare user check-ins, venues can deepen customer loyalty and encourage them to continue to visit their venue and check-in, as well as recommend their own network of friends to do the same.

“With the release of our new foursquare widget, ScreenScape has clearly demonstrated its uniqueness in the digital signage industry. ScreenScape-powered displays can play a key role in helping to manage location-based services and bridging the gap between online and on-site marketing. By encouraging check-ins and posting real-time messages we are able to complement location-based marketing services and deliver to our community of users another interesting way to engage with customers,” said Kevin Dwyer, president and chief executive officer of ScreenScape. “Foursquare has broken new ground with its service, and we believe ScreenScape is the perfect tool to bring it to life where it really counts – right at the point-of-sale.”

ScreenScape is built on open Internet technology and delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS). Businesses with multiple venues use ScreenScape to easily manage and push content out across screens in each venue. ScreenScape’s foursquare widget helps businesses more effectively manage their foursquare campaigns across venues and ensure that staff members in each location are aware of current promotions. For instance, each venue can be equipped to deliver location-specific content such as welcoming the Mayor, while all company screens can display the same foursquare promotion.

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14th September 2010

EA and Nielsen Show Ads In Games Work In US Homes

EA has revealed results from a study conducted by The Nielsen Company which shows the degree to which brand advertisements within video games can boost real life sales. The study, commissioned by EA on behalf of Gatorade, EAshows that in-game advertising increased household dollars spent on Gatorade by 24%, and offered a return on investment of $3.11.

The study focused on households that purchased at least one of six EA SPORTS™ titles: NHL® 09, NHL 10, NBA LIVE 07, NBA LIVE 08, NBA LIVE 09 and NBA Street Homecourt. Gatorade had a variety of product placements within the games including arena signs, players’ water bottles, score updates and other call outs.
EA Sports
The study was based on Nielsen’s US Homescan panel of more than 100,000 households, representative of the US population, including a subset of Homescan homes that scanned video game UPC (Universal Product Codes) barcodes. The scanned barcodes were matched to a reference library of more than 14,000 video game titles. Nielsen compared the households that purchased at least one of the studied games before and after Gatorade branding was integrated into the games (the test group) with households that didn’t purchase one of the games (the control group).

These test and control group homes are projected out to the broad Homescan panel by matching them with the larger Homescan household universe based on similar purchase patterns and demographics in order to achieve a statistically reliable sample. Finally, the sales impact of Gatorade advertising was measured by analyzing and comparing Gatorade purchase behavior between the households that had and hadn’t purchased the games that carried Gatorade advertising.
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14th September 2010

6S Marketing Launches Strategy Academy Training Program

Vancouver’s 6S Marketing announces the launch of a groundbreaking program, the 6S Strategy Academy, to 6S Marketingprovide Internet marketing courses for businesses. The program is ideal for marketing professionals, business owners and employers looking to incorporate online marketing strategies into their business for the first time, or improve upon existing online marketing initiatives by training and empowering staff.

6S Strategy Academy is an extension of the vast expertise and resources at 6S (@6S_Marketing) to businesses that would benefit from implementing Internet marketing concepts and strategies in-house. Their commitment to education, demonstrates 6S’s interest in seeing the value of Internet marketing recognized beyond signing and serving clients.

“Our mission at 6S has always been to provide outstanding Internet marketing services while continually focusing on return on investment for clients,” states Chris Breikss, Co-Founder and President at 6S Marketing “We think we have unlocked the key to such return on investment in effectively teaching what we preach through the 6S Marketing Strategy Academy.”

The 6S Strategy Academy offers a series of courses guiding companies through beginner and intermediate concepts and tactics, with an overall aim to assist in the composition of a comprehensive online marketing strategy for the business.

Current courses offered through the 6S Strategy Academy:

001 Online Marketing Strategy Training – This course provides guidance on how to create an online marketing strategy and online marketing plan using industry best practices. Website marketing, permission email marketing and social media marketing are covered.

002 Search Engine Marketing Training – A strategic review of a company’s web site’s search engine placements to identify changes needed to improve ranking on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

003 Social Media Marketing Training – A course on how to best use current social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Flickr to market a business.

The 6S Strategy Academy is designed for companies looking to bring SEO and Internet marketing tasks in-house or provide employees with better skills in managing and measuring internet marketing efforts.

The courses are eligible for financial assistance through the Workplace Training for Innovation Pilot Program (WTIP) established by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. WTIP provides funding to eligible employers with less than 50 staff for the employee training of their choice, delivered by the training provider of their choice.

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14th September 2010

Ubisoft and Rodale Partner Up For Fitness

UbisoftUbisoft and Rodale Inc., publisher of Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines, have solidified a partnership to create workouts specifically tailored to men’s and women’s individual fitness goals and needs for the new video game, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Available exclusively on Microsoft’s Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, the game will launch alongside Microsoft Kinect™ for Xbox 360® in November, 2010.

Bringing together gaming and fitness industry leaders, this partnership marks the first foray into the video game business for Men’s Health and Women’s Health and the first in-game magazine partnership for Ubisoft. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will deliver dynamic, interactive, customizable and convenient at-home workouts, created by Men’s Health and Women’s Health fitness experts.
Your Shape Fitness Evolved
The programs from Men’s Health include “The Sleeve-Busting Arms Workout,” and “The Ultimate Men’s Health Fat Loss Workout.” The workout programs from Women’s Health include “The Perfect Legs and Butt Workout,” “The Toned Arms and Shoulders Workout,” and “The Skinny Jeans Workout”. All workouts are designed so that users can integrate free weights into the programs.

“Microsoft’s Kinect platform allows us to deliver precise fitness instruction and form-based feedback into the home,” said David Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health and Editorial Director of Women’s Health. “We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft to further expand the Men’s Health and Women’s Health brands beyond the pages of the magazines and give gamers everything they need to shape up.”

“Most people probably don’t associate killer abs and weight loss with video games, but, now they can,” said Tony Key, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing at Ubisoft, U.S. “The partnership between Ubisoft’s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and Men’s Health and Women’s Health leverages their fitness know-how to develop the most effective workouts possible.”

As part of the partnership, the game will be co-marketed by Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Ubisoft. In addition, some of the featured workouts from Men’s Health and Women’s Health will be available as a free application on Apple’s iPhone and iTouch devices.

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