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  • Memorial Trust Fund Opened for the Family of Brian Wood

9th September 2010

Memorial Trust Fund Opened for the Family of Brian Wood

A memorial trust fund has been opened in Brian Wood’s name at the North Shore Credit Union to help his widow Erin and their unborn child through these rough times. As many of you know, Brian, who was lead designer for Company of Heroes Online, did not survive a car accident which happened on Whidbey Island last Friday. If you are able, please donate through any of the three following channels:
Brian and Erin
* In person by making a deposit to “The Brian Wood Memorial Trust” at any North Shore Credit Union branch in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia. Please visit the Memorial Page for the PayPal information

* Online via PayPal. The donations will be deposited directly into the Trust account set up at North Shore Credit Union. Please note you do not need to have a PayPal account to donate online.

* By Mail: send your donation to:

North Shore Credit Union
3059 Edgemont Blvd.
North Vancouver, BC
V7R 2N5, Canada

Please make cheques payable to The Brian Wood Memorial Trust Fund.

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9th September 2010

Two BC Games Are Reeling In Gamers

Blue Castle GamesCapcom and Blue Castle Games are happy to announce that its recently released downloadable title, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, has broken all records on Xbox LIVE with the best week one unit sales in the history of all content distributed through Xbox LIVE Arcade. The prologue to the highly-anticipated Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, launched last Dead Rising 2 Case Zeroweek as a unique piece of downloadable content exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade. A standalone title that helps bridge the gap between the original Dead Rising and the soon-to-be-released Dead Rising 2, it allows fans a taste of the new Dead Rising world on Xbox 360.

The unique prologue experience gives gamers a glimpse of what’s to come in Dead Rising 2 as it includes new combo weapons; your first look at survivors and a psycho; an introduction to new protagonist, Chuck Greene and his daughter Katey and a system that allows you to carry your character attributes collected in Dead Rising 2: Case Zero into the main game.
Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is now available exclusively to download on Xbox LIVE Arcade. Dead Rising 2 will launch on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on September 28, 2010.

EA Black BoxEA Black Box has announced that Need for Speed™ World, the massively multiplayer online action racing game, has surpassed one million registered users. In the coming weeks and months, Need for Speed World will be adding new features and game-expanding content including more cars, deep performance customization, a new world region and a co-op pursuit mode.

Starting today, all players will have full access to Need for Speed World for free (see site for details). Racers can play the entire game at no cost or can purchase SpeedBoost Need For Speed Worlditems to accelerate their career progression including items like power-ups, double XP periods and even rental cars. Every player can now feel the rush of illicit street racing as they speed their way through an immersive, socially-connected Need for Speed experience.

“Need for Speed fans have played a critical role in making Need for Speed World a success. Fan feedback has helped shape every aspect of the experience – whether it’s the creation of a new feature or improving polish and progression,” said John Doyle, Senior Producer, Need for Speed World. “We’re excited to open the gates so that every Need for Speed World player now has free access to all current and future content including new modes, cars, features and more.”

Need for Speed World brings together best in class action racing with an unparalleled social experience for the PC. Players can compete against their friends, family or pick from thousands of top ranked players to challenge in intense online battles and police pursuits. Gamers race the way they want in an ever expanding world that continues to grow with a constant stream of new content, cars, and features.

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8th September 2010

Canadian Schools Get Helping Hand From Staples and Best Buy

Best Buy CanadaBest Buy Canada is looking to award $200,000 in technology grants to teachers and students who are passionate about technology in the classroom. Starting Monday, September 13, Canada’s fastest growing retailer of consumer electronics will begin accepting entries for its 2010 Best in Class Fund program.

The need for effectively incorporating the latest technology into Canadian schools was highlighted in a 2009 survey of advanced use of ICTs (Integrated Communications Technologies) conducted by the International Telecommunications Union. The survey showed that Canada dropped to 19th place, down ten places from its ninth place standing in 2002, indicating that Canada is losing its competitive edge regarding technology into the classroom.

The Best in Class Fund program was conceived in 2008 to inspire teachers and students to develop compelling educational projects that will advance learning through the integration of technology in the classroom. This type of learning is recognized as key for scholastic success by numerous experts including Dr. David Vogt, Director of Digital Learning at the University of British Columbia’s Educational Technology Department and member of the Best in Class Technology Advisory Board.

“There are numerous studies that show how the effective use of technology by trained teachers can create a superior learning experience for students,” says Dr. Vogt. “What makes Best in Class such a strong program is that it equips schools with cutting edge technology and then brings in experts to help teachers and students understand how they can best integrate this new technology into the classroom.”

In addition to $20,000 for the latest in digital technology, each of the ten winning schools will also receive in-the-classroom support and ongoing online support from Best Buy’s Geek Squad. Experts in technology installation, trouble shooting and functionality, the Geek Squad will offer their expertise to the teachers and students of the winning schools to help them understand how to get as much as possible out of this new technology to maximize the learning experience.

The submissions will be reviewed by the Best in Class Technology Advisory Board comprised of leaders in the areas of technology and education. This year’s advisory board members include: Dr. David Vogt, Director of Digital Learning Projects for the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education; Dr. Michele Jacobsen, Chair of Educational Studies in Language, Culture & Technology at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Education; as well technology experts and respected journalists Marc Saltzman and Francois Charron.

The Best in Class Fund Program began in 2008 and to-date Best Buy has donated $500,000 in technology grants to schools in Canada. The program is open to teachers and students in grades 7 – 12 in BC, AB, SK, MB, ON and NS, levels 2 – 5 in French-speaking QC schools and grades 8 – 11 in English-speaking QC schools.

Students and teachers are asked to develop their proposals, which must include a video and a written proposal that outline how they would like to integrate various consumer electronic technologies in the classroom and how it will provide an educational benefit, and submit online between Monday, September 13 and Sunday, October 24, 2010. One submission is allowed per school and it can come from a single class, or from a cross section of students and teachers from the same school, such as Student Council or other student clubs.

staples canadaStaples Canada has opened online registration for their Recycle For Education program, which recycles used ink/toner cartridges, then donates funds back to participating schools.

“We want students to not have to worry about supplies – we realize schools are on tight budgets and can use the help,” says Steve Matyas, president of Staples Canada. The Recycle For Education program is easy; used cartridges can be dropped off into specially marked recycling bins at any of the more than 320 stores in Canada.

Money is donated to elementary and high schools registered with the program and any publicly funded elementary and secondary schools are welcome to sign up.

To be eligible, schools are asked to register with the program between September 1 and December 31, 2010. Funds raised from the previous year will be distributed in May 2011, in the form of a Staples gift card, to participating schools.

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8th September 2010

There Be Pirates on the Island of Perfection

A2MI had a sneaking suspicion that the mention of legendary pirates and treasure in one of Naughty Bear’s load screens would lead to new DLC for the title and I was right, because publisher 505 Games and Quebec developer Artificial Mind & Movement (A2M) have announced plans to release a new pirate-themed downloadable chapter for Naughty Bear via Xbox LIVE® Arcade and Naughty Bear PiratePlayStation® Network. Chapter 9 will soon lay siege to the Island of Perfection with even more mischievous action, including all-new characters, costumes and challenges.

Filled with exclusive hidden treasures, deadly weapons and brutal buccaneers, in Chapter 9 players will be able to plot a course through four new challenges. As the terrors of the high seas come ashore to battle, players will encounter the other Bears and their leader, Admiral Giggles, as well as The Pirates and their leader, The Great Beard Bear.

To commend their efforts in combat, Chapter 9 will allow players to don two new hats (Admiral Naughty and Pirate Naughty). Players can also choose to dress Naughty in his own Naughty Bear Chapter Nineversion of the Pirate Bear costume or assume the identity of The Great Beard Bear, and even collect the lethal cutlass, a classic pirate’s curved sword with unique ultra-kill capabilities.

Naughty Bear is available now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and the downloadable Chapter 9 will be available by the end of September on Xbox Live Arcade for 400 MS points and on PlayStation Network for $4.99 USD.

Previous DLC for Naughty Bear included a free code update and Chapter Eight, where gamers were introduced to the X-Bears, a gang of superhero bears led by Danger Bear. Adored by their fellow bears on the Island of Perfection, the X-Bears possess super powers and are always ready for battle. Players will also meet Bubbles, Danger Bear’s ultimate die-hard fan, who is identified by his sidekick mask and the Danger Bear hat he wears. Though Bubbles has no superpowers of his own, he solidifies his dedication to Danger Bear and the X-Bears by employing an Uzi in the fight against Naughty.

koboKobo ereader service has launched its Kobo Desktop Application, a free, downloadable application that enables users to read, build a digital library, and shop for eBooks directly from their computer or laptop. The new application also allows Kobo customers with 3rd party eReaders, such as the Sony Reader, to easily connect to the Kobo service to download or purchase content.

The new Kobo Desktop Application offers a personalized, secure and central destination where users can manage their entire Kobo reading experience. Through the Desktop Application customers can instantly access their library and download their purchases directly to their computer and read offline without an Internet connection. Additionally, the Kobo Desktop Application enables users to shop for eBooks through the integrated Kobo eBook Store and download content to their desktop to easily build and manage their library.

Kobo currently offers dedicated applications for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android, Android Tablets, as well as the Kobo eReader. Now with the Kobo Desktop Application users can sync their entire library between their mobile devices and the desktop. Customers with popular eReaders can now manage their digital library in one place, connect to the Kobo store to buy or download free content from over 2.2 million titles, and benefit from Kobo’s range of free applications for mobile devices. The free application also comes preloaded on every Kobo eReader making it easy for users to organize their library right out of the box.

Consistent with the overall Kobo reading experience, the Kobo Desktop Application allows users to customize font, style and size to suit their own reading preferences, and the company’s signature bookmarking feature makes it possible to pick up reading where you left off. Plus, bookmarks follow a user from the Kobo Desktop Application to their smartphone, tablet, or eReader, allowing for continuous reading on any device.

“Kobo has long supported reading across platforms, and now we are the first to provide an experience that supports a wide range of eReaders and mobile devices,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. “As an avid reader and book lover, I understand the importance of knowing your books are safe, secure and always at your fingertips. The Kobo Desktop Application is the first phase of a new Kobo initiative to give readers more control over their eBooks, and new tools to display and share their growing library.”

The Kobo Desktop Application supports both Windows and Macintosh operating systems and also comes preloaded on every Kobo eReader. The Kobo eReader is available for purchase at Borders in the US, Indigo Books & Music and Walmart in Canada, and Whitcoull’s, A&R, and Borders in Australia / New Zealand.

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8th September 2010

TransGaming Launches The GameTreeTV Authorized Developer Program

TransGamingTransGaming Inc. today announced the release of the GameTreeTV Authorized Developer Program aimed at creating a vibrant third party video game development community for the GameTreeTV Platform, being deployed this fall. The Authorized GameTreeTV Developer Program gives developers access to the GameTreeTV Software Development Kit (SDK), technical support, and platform hardware required to bring their games to the next generation of set-top boxes and connected Consumer Electronic (CE) devices for the home.gametreetv

GameTreeTV delivers a comprehensive on-demand gaming solution optimized for HD TV through the next generation of set-to boxes and connected CE devices based on Intel® CE Media Processors. The GameTreeTV Authorized Developer Program empowers content creators to build and deliver innovative games specifically for the GameTreeTV Platform, allowing them to realize new distribution and revenue opportunities in the rapidly growing interactive App-TV environment.

“The global response to GameTreeTV has been amazing and game developers have been eagerly working with us to ready their games for commercial distribution on the GameTreeTV platform for this fall,” commented Vikas Gupta, President & CEO of TransGaming, Inc. “The GameTreeTV Authorized Developer Program allows us to create a broad content development community for the GameTreeTV Platform, ensuring we have the best and most innovative catalog of games for CE consumers globally. Our objective with the Program is to deliver a balanced library of video games that blends the most innovative independently developed content with games based on well recognized franchises.” Read the rest of this entry »

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7th September 2010

Two New Swarm Videos from Hothead Games

Hothead GamesUTV Ignition Entertainment Ltd. and Hothead Games have released a brand-new trailer and the first-ever gameplay video for Swarm, the award-winning action platformer launching worldwide on all platforms via digital channels in early 2011. The first video gives players a walkthrough of the brutally hilarious title, guided by Hothead’s Joel DeYoung, while the all-new trailer shows more of the hilarious and exciting ways the lovable yet daft Swarmites can be sacrificed…for the greater good, of course!

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

In Swarm,which will be available via digital download in 2011, players take control of 50 utterly fearless Swarmites and must drive them through an intense, entertaining and often suicidal battle for a greater good. Run, bash, huddle, boost, stack, jump, push and throw your way through gauntlets of death and destruction in an attempt to collect valuable DNA and ensure that at least one Swarmite survives. With a unique combination of mass character control and fast action, the resulting brutal aftermath will make players want to play Swarm over and over again.

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7th September 2010

Merging Media 2010 Set to Launch in Vancouver This October

merging media conferenceClose to 400 conventional and interactive media professionals from film, television, mobile, and games will come together on October 28 and 29 at the newly opened Woodward’s Heritage Complex in Vancouver to explore the rapidly evolving business of cross-media properties at Merging+Media 2010.

Hosted by Merging Media Productions Inc. and the Canadian Media Production Association (formerly CFTPA-BC), this is the first event of its scope and calibre in British Columbia, featuring some of the world’s most noted cross-media experts including Keynote Robert Tercek, former President of Digital Media at The Oprah Winfrey Network. This event will showcase the latest trends and technologies in this space and facilitate valuable funding and partnering opportunities.CMPA-BC

“Merging+Media is an important community inspired and supported event,” explains Executive Director Christine Lim-Labossière, “We wish to present a world-class event aimed at creating a greater awareness of the vibrant business of cross-media production, as well as to encourage media producers in the region to take full advantage of newly introduced funding and revenue opportunities. This includes awarding a 10K BC Film Development prize to the Best Pitch at our Masterclass.”

Says Liz Shorten, President, the Canadian Media Production Association, BC Branch (formerly CFTPA-BC), Says Liz Shorten, President, the Canadian Media Production Association, BC Branch (formerly CFTPA-BC), “Merging+Media will be an opportunity for media professionals to come together to explore, discover and debate emerging business models. I am confident this event will have a positive impact on the industry in BC.”

“The launch of Merging+Media is timely with the launch, earlier this year, of the Canada Media Fund, which supports the creation of innovative Canadian content and software applications for current and emerging digital platforms,” said Betsy Chaly, Director of Marketing and Communications, CMF. “The combination of Conference and Masterclass gives producers the opportunity to network, to learn, and to hone their cross-media business plans.”
Robert Tercek
Merging Media’s illustrious speaker line-up is headlined by former President of Digital Media at The Oprah Winfrey Network, Robert Tercek. Featured speakers include Susan Bonds, President & CEO, 42 Entertainment; Anita Ondine, CEO, Seize the Media; Caitlin Burns, Transmedia Producer, Starlight Runner Entertainment; and Sibley Verbeck, Founder, Electric Sheep Company, to name a few.

Cross-media, also known as transmedia, is the blending of a variety of media forms across multiple media platforms. Statistics show the digital and film industries in BC are growing annually; BC is well positioned to take a lead in the cross-media space.

According to a 2010 report by Canada Pacific Gateway, the official international site for the province of BC, “British Columbia has the third largest film and television industry in North America after Los Angeles and New York” and was recently named as one of Fast Company’s global top five “fast cities” in 2009. The study reported: “Vancouver was seen to have “the right mix of technology and tolerance to attract talent.” BC is also the largest centre of Canada’s $7-billion digital media industry.

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7th September 2010

Arrest Made for Copyright Act Infringements At BC Video Game Store

RCMPOn September 1st officers from Richmond RCMP’s Station Targeted Action Response Team as well as officers from the Economic Crime Section arrested a 31 year old male for allegedly selling pirated copies of video games at a local Richmond business.

In April of this year Richmond’s Economic Crime Section received information from investigators at IPSA International that a video game retail business located in the Parker Place Mall was selling pirated copies of video games. IPSA International is an independent firm which provides clients with investigative consulting & risk advisory services in areas such as anti-money laundering & fraud.

On September 1st a search warrant was executed at Penguin Village Hobbies & Entertainment located in the Parker Place Mall. A search warrant was also executed on a vehicle associated to the business which was located outside the store. Numerous copies of infringed video games were seized along with electronic devices of evidentiary value.

A 31 year old Richmond resident was released from custody & will face his first court appearance on December 2nd. Police will be forwarding a charge of selling or offering for sale an infringing copy of a work or other subject matter in which a copyright subsists for Crown’s approval.

crackleCrackle, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s premium video entertainment network is now available in Canada, it was announced today by Eric Berger, Senior VP of  Digital Networks for Sony Pictures Television (SPT).

Crackle’s unique mix of high-quality content can now be found online in Canada, as well as via distribution partners including RogersOnDemand, YouTube, Boxee, Dailymotion, and Metacafe. Advertiser supported, Crackle features high-quality original short-form series, full-length and short-form television shows, and motion pictures from the vast Sony Pictures library. The site’s content is refreshed on a regular basis and reaches a wide audience through its impressive online distribution network. Rogers Digital Media will be the ad sales agent for Crackle.com in Canada and will sell the site’s Canadian inventory across its online distribution channels. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th September 2010

Double DLC Day For Dragon Age and Mass Effect Players

Bioware CorpEA BioWare™ has released new downloadable content for the critically-acclaimed games Dragon Age™: Origins and Mass Effect™ 2, throwing gamers back into epic battles with new stories revolving around key supporting characters in each franchise. The Dragon Age: Origins DLC pack, “Witch Hunt” ($6.99 on PlayStation® Network, 560 Microsoft points on the Xbox 360®, New DLC Witch Hunt560 BioWare Points on PC) features a story that reconnects players with one of the series’ original larger-than-life heroes, Morrigan. The Mass Effect 2 DLC pack, “Lair of the Shadow Broker” (800 Microsoft Points on Xbox 360, 800 BioWare Points on PC), centers around Liara, a popular character and squadmate from the original Mass Effect.

“Both ‘Witch Hunt’ and ‘Lair of the Shadow Broker’ represent our commitment to keeping the game worlds alive with high quality content, even post-launch,” said BioWare Edmonton General Manager Aaryn Flynn. “Fans are asking for more characters, more adventures and that is what we’re delivering. Morrigan and Liara are two of the most beloved characters in their respective franchises and completing these new journeys will add to the story and action of both games.”

Dragon Age: Origins “Witch Hunt” picks up Morrigan’s story after the defeat of the Archdemon and her disappearance into the shadows. Nearly a year has passed since the Archdemon’s death, and word has reached the Wardens that Morrigan has returned to Ferelden. Seeking to confirm her presence and confront Lair of the Shadowbrokerher about her mysterious disappearance, players will head into the forest to tie up this last loose end once and for all. Players can either import their characters from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Origins — Awakening or create a new, high-level hero.

In Mass Effect 2 “Lair of the Shadow Broker”, Liara T’Soni is tracking down the mysterious Shadow Broker with the hopes of recovering a kidnap victim. Liara enlists the help of Commander Shepard and his crew, chasing clues from the luxurious heights of Illium to the depths of the Shadow Broker’s own secret lair. The new DLC pack adds the Shadow Broker intel center, new research, as well as the chance to continue a relationship with Liara from the original Mass Effect.

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7th September 2010

EA Sports Opens NHL Season With New Titles

EA SportsAfter a very successful midnight launch at two Canadian EB Games outlets, EA SportsNHL® SlapShot and NHL® 11, developed by EA Canada, are now in Canadian stores. EA Sports NHL 11 for the PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® is rated E10+, while the E rated NHL SlapShot is available exclusively for the Nintendo Wii™.

“We are extremely excited about our hockey offerings this year,” says Brent Nielsen, executive producer, EA Sports. “Our NHL product is consistently one of our strongest titles on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and this year with NHL SlapShot, we feel we’ve created a hockey experience that is unlike anything that has come before it on the Wii.”NHL 11 Launch

NHL 11 marks the 20th Anniversary of the award winning EA Sports NHL franchise, by introducing a genre changing real-time physics engine that replicates the real sport like never before. With real physics powering NHL 11, every check, broken stick and bounce of the puck will now react like it does in the real world. NHL 11 also introduces a revamped faceoff system to the franchise. Now players will be given all the options that an NHL center has in the faceoff circle, giving users even more control than they have ever had in an EA Sports NHL game. In addition, the EA Sports Ultimate Hockey League makes its debut in NHL 11. In the EA Sports Ultimate Hockey League, players collect cards that represent the players on their team. With 4000 cards to collect and use, representing players from the CHL, European leagues and NHL, users must manage chemistry, training, and a salary cap as they build their squad, and take them to the ice to challenge the world.
Wayne Gretzky NHL Slapshot
EA Sports NHL SlapShot is the franchise’s first outing on the Wii, and it skates onto the platform by literally putting a hockey stick into the player’s hands. The hockey stick accessory*, which is included in all copies of NHL SlapShot, will allow players to pull off shooting, checking, stick handling and many more moves in the game by performing real life motions that the pros use on the ice. In addition, Peewee to Pro mode allows users to start as a youngster playing on a backyard pond and grow through Bantam leagues and the CHL before stepping on to the NHL ice. With skill growth and unlockable boosts, the Peewee to Pro Mode is one of the deepest single player career modes in an EA Sports title to date. NHL SlapShot also features Wayne Gretzky on both the cover, and in-game. Players will have a chance to play through the Great One’s career, from his humble beginnings on a frozen pond to his dominating NHL presence.

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