1st December 2010

Shaw Rocket Prize Winner Named

notsoftOshawa indie game studio NotSoft is getting into the holiday spirit by giving away the full version of their casual game, Wytches Brew, free of charge.

Wytches Brew features five modes of play, including an epic 52 chapter quest that has the player share a year long journey with 3 Wytches as they travel around their island brewing up magical potions for those in need. With four other play wytches brewmodes, including timed modes and modes with relaxed rules, Wytches Brew offers something for casual gamers of every skill level.

“We don’t have much of a marketing budget, and with the game’s story mode beginning on Yuletide we thought giving it away during the holiday season would be a great way to attract new players,” said Steven J. Hill (aka bignobody), the man behind NotSoft, “Especially since people’s budgets are often tight at this time of year.”

I have been playing Wytches Brew off and on for a few months now, and while I haven’t yet completed the game, I have found it to be a different take on the match 3+ genre. I will be writing a review for this game once I have played through to the end, but as I have often confessed, I am more of a console gamer than a PC gamer – my PC is just too closely related to…work. ;)

shaw rocket prizeCongratulations to Dino Dan from Sinking Ship Entertainment, winner of the prestigious $50,000 Shaw Rocket Prize for 2010 after being voted the best in Canadian kids’ programming for ages 6-12. Dino Dan is an entertaining and educational TV show about a 10-year-old boy who loves interacting with dinosaurs in his imagination and learning about them. This show was favourited by kids of all ages across Canada as well as in the US, where it recently achieved the record as the highest watched debut episode on Nick Jr. in its history. Dino Dan was judged for quality and content both for the TV show and its online content. The kids jury loved playing games and digging up dinosaurs on dinodan.com.

Other titles in the running for this year’s Rocket Prize were:

How to Be Indie (DHX Media)
In Real Life (Apartment 11)
Jimmy Two-Shoes (Breakthrough Entertainment)
League of Super Evil (Nerd Corps)

OpenFeint DevelopersAs the freemium model continues to gain momentum in the mobile gaming space, developers are looking for the best ways to apply the lucrative model to their games. Today, OpenFeint is encouraging developers sell downloadable content in their games by announcing a $1 million free-to-play mobile games challenge.

The OFX Freemium Challenge waives the revenue share on OpenFeint’s just released OFX software development kit for up to $10,000 per developer, available to the first 100 games that go live. With this challenge, developers can implement OFX and sell up to $10,000 in downloadable content in game before sharing any revenue.

“With the OFX Freemium Challenge, developers will see how easy-to-use and profitable OFX can be in their games with little commitment,” says Jason Citron, CEO of OpenFeint. “We’ve all seen that the freemium model is generating some amazing results. OFX gives developers the tools they need to take advantage of this emerging model.”

Mega Jump has proved to us that the freemium model is a great way to earn revenue as an independent developer,” said Derek van Vliet of Get Set Games. “Since changing the game to freemium we’ve seen a 400% increase in overall revenue.”
Mega Jump Celebrates 7 million
Mega Jump celebrated 7 million downloads, and stated on their site that “hot on the heals of Update 10, Update 11 is just around the corner, featuring the astonishing new upgradable Jump Boots and a couple of new rascals who will be joining the growing Mega Jump family of characters.”

Released today, OFX is a set of client and cloud based services that help game developers sell new content in their games without having to submit full game updates to Apple. Future updates will allow game developers to offer virtual currency and virtual goods for sale in their games. OFX is completely free for game developers to download and implement in their games. OpenFeint only shares in revenue earned from the sale of paid downloadable content in games sold with OFX.

intuitIntuit’s online personal finance service Mint.com is now available to Canadians. Mint helps people see where their money goes, keep their spending on track by creating budgets they’ll stick with, and uncovers opportunities to save them money. And it’s free.
mint
“Canadians are global leaders when it comes to the use of online banking, social media and other online activities, so bringing Mint.com to Canada was a natural next step,” said Aaron Patzer, general manager and vice president of Intuit Personal Finance and founder of Mint.com. “A uniquely Canadian version of Mint will help Canadians make informed decisions as they plan their financial lives.”

Setting up a Mint account takes about five minutes – users register anonymously using a valid e-mail address, and then add login information for the online banking, credit card and other financial accounts they want to consolidate. Mint connects securely to more than 40 Canadian banking financial institutions, and is adding more. Users can ask Mint to add support for their favourite bank from within their account.

After users register, Mint automatically aggregates their accounts and transaction information, and provides up-to-date and accurate views of their financial life. Mint offers many ways to view and graph information, and the flexibility to scan the big picture or focus on specific details:

* Analyzes spending – Mint reveals spending patterns by automatically categorizing expenses, showing how much a user pays for gas, groceries, parking, rent, restaurants, entertainment and more.
* Makes recommendations – Mint also saves users money by providing unique, money-saving and money-making suggestions based on users’ individual spending patterns. Slowly paying down a high-interest credit card? Mint will recommend a lower-interest card. Paying more for life insurance than others of a similar age in your region? Mint can often find a better deal. Offer data for the recommendations is provided by RateSupermarket.ca, Canada’s largest independent and impartial rate comparison service for personal finance products.

In addition, Mint is available for those on the go. Users can view their Mint account from a password-protected website or check in on the go with the free Mint.com mobile applications for iPhone and Android mobile phones, available on the iTunes Canada app store and Android Market.

Users can set Mint to alert them of any large or out-of-the-ordinary transactions in any of their accounts by sending a message to their web account, or email to their iPhone or Android-powered phone.

“People are often surprised when we alert them to a fee they’ve unknowingly paid,” said Patzer. “Mint’s system sends users an alert message for any unusual activity, such as low balances, fees and upcoming bills. There’s no more waiting for month-old paper statements to find out if the pizza guy accidentally double-charged your credit card.”

Mint delivers safe and secure online money management to Canadians by providing:

* User anonymity – Mint does not ask for a name or other personally identifiable information.
* Read-only access – Users can’t move money in or out of their banks with Mint.
* Encrypted data – Mint uses the same level of data encryption as the major online banking sites and government organizations, such as the Canada Revenue Agency.
* Secure storage – Transaction information is stored in a secure facility
* Daily security checks – Third-party security organizations certify and test Mint daily.
* Early warnings – Mint provides 24/7 protection through proactive e-mail alerts to notify users of any large purchases or unusual charges in your accounts.

Intuit, the market-leading personal tax and personal finance software vendor in Canada, has more than 15 years of experience managing Canadian consumer data safely and securely.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 12:09 pm and is filed under Animation, Awards, Business News, Casual, Contests, Digital Products, Education, Everyone, Game Dev, Mobile, National News, Puzzle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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