16th February 2011

IUGO Announces Brand New Title

IUGOIUGO’s foray into rhythm-based games has begun with Pricklees. Pricklees is a FREEmium title pricklees titleoffering an appetizer of tracks to play and enjoy for players currently making its way through the submission process at Apple. Additional characters and tracks may be purchased for $1.99 through IAP.

pricklees“We see room for creativity and innovation in the music genre,” states IUGO’s VP of BD Sarah Thomson. “What companies like Tapulous have done is incredible. They have proven their formula to be successful time and time again. But we feel there is so much opportunity to create a unique game mechanic and appeal to an even broader market. We wanted to combine the brilliance of music-based games such as the Tap Tap series with the cuteness and personality of broad appeal titles such as Angry Birds.”pricklees

In this latest offering from IUGO, players will be able to jump, duck and roll to the beat with the Pricklees! Try out IUGO’s latest venture with this unique and highly fun 2D/3D rhythm- based game. This is a music game made for everyone… just try and put it down.

Features include:

3 adorable characters you wish you could cuddle; too bad about those prickles!
Unlock more content through IAP
3 levels of difficulty: easy, medium and hard for tons of replayability
prickleesUnique rhythm-based gameplay
Dead easy controls, intuitive UI
Dynamic 2D/3D environments
7 Fresh Electronic tracks
Look for more songs in future updates

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16th February 2011

A Few Examples Of Why Canada Is Creative Central

Reminder: Banff World Media Awards submissions closes on February 18th.

Note of Interest: Are you looking for funding sources? Check out the searchable database on the MaRS Discovery District website.

trainyardIndie game developer Matt Rix has put his super-hit puzzle game Trainyard on sale in the iTunes store – and 25% of February’s profits will go to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  The goal in Trainyard is simple: get each train to a goal station. Red trains go to red stations, blue trains go to blue stations, etc. You control the trains by drawing track for them to follow. There isn’t a time limit or even a score; the only thing you need to do is figure out a solution for each puzzle – which is often easier said than done, believe me. Trainyard is very much worth the price, plus for this month you’ll be helping to support a very important organization. If you haven’t bought this challenging puzzler yet, now would be the time.

xmg studioXMG Studios has released its latest title on the iTunes App Store. Cows vs Aliens is a game of bovinecows vs aliens protectionism.  Aliens are invading and amid all of the chaos, you need to get your cattle in the barn as fast as possible. Featuring a fun and unique multi-touch interface, Cows vs Aliens challenges your herding skills as you  squeeze as many cows through the barn doors as possible before time runs out. Not all cows are created equal, either – you’ll soon learn that some beefy beasts are more valuable than others, and the more heifers you herd at one time the higher your multiplier. Remember you are battling spacemen, though – Aliens are sneaky and determined to free you of your beef. Make sure you keep those visitors from the outer limits out of your barn or they’ll take off with your herd. Cows vs Aliens is currently priced at 99 cents USD and offers Game Center integration.

Congratulations to our Canadian developers on multiple BAFTA 2011 nominations:

Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood topped the total number of nominations, being named to seven categories: Action, Artistic Achievement, Best Games, Gameplay, Multiplayer, Technical Innovation and Use of Audio, while Bioware’s Mass Effect 2 received nominations for Artistic Achievement, Best Game, Gameplay, Original Music and Game Award of 2010.

Toronto studio Digital Extremes developed the multi-player components for Bioshock 2, and that title is nominated in the Action and Story categories. EA Sports‘ FIFA 11 is nominated as Best Game, Sports and the Game Award of 2010. Vancouver’s Smoking Gun Interactive is the developer behind 20,000 Leaks, which is a component of Kinect Adventures, and that title is nominated in the Family category.

bootstrap awardsContinuing in the awards recognition theme, this year’s winners for the Exploriem.org 2011 Bootstrap Awards (PDF) have been announced, and receiving recognition for their achievements in the interactive, digital and social media industy were:

Favequest received Gold Best Micro Business medal
Ideavibes received Gold for Most Innovative Source Bootstrap Capital, while VirtuStructure received Silver and Purple Forge received Bronze.
Zeebu Mobile received Gold for Best Guerrilla Marketing Idea/Social Marketing, while NetGen took Silver and ContestMob received Bronze.
Select Start Studios received a Silver Medal for Best Value Proposition/Value Differentiator/Pixie Dust
Threedify took home Bronze for its corporate website
NetGen also won Silver in the Most Innovative Social Enterprise Fundraiser category, while Civiside received Bronze.
Ideavibes took Silver for Most Innovative Business Model, while Arkli took the Bronze.

There is one more Bootstrap award to be presented – the top Ottawa start-up will be named at the OCRI Awards in April. IDM nominees for that award are: Purple Forge, Dual Code, Inc., GPS To Go (who also won a Bronze medal for Best Value Proposition/Value Differentiator/Pixie Dust), Blindside Networks and Pretzil.

OMDCOMDC is reporting that Ontario’s film and television industry contributed $964.3 million to the provincial economy in 2010- an increase of almost $18 million over 2009 — despite fierce competition from other jurisdictions, a sluggish U.S. economy and a high Canadian dollar. The $964 million in production activity accounted for more than 23,000 full-time direct and spin-off jobs.

The film and television industry held and gained ground over 2009, a year which experienced dramatic growth over 2008 and marked a return to production levels not seen in Ontario since 2002. Increased spending was seen in foreign television series, reflecting the continuing influence of the Ontario Government’s 2009 enhancements to the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (OPSTC), which was expanded from 25% of eligible labour to include all eligible Ontario production costs.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) programs also support the book and magazine publishing, music and interactive digital media industries. The entire entertainment and creative cluster supports almost 300,000 jobs and contributes $12.2 billion annually to the province’s GDP.

rare methodCalgary marketing firm Rare Method Interactive has experienced recent stock activity that prompted a statement from the company this morning, whereby “Rare Method Interactive Corp. wishes to confirm, at the request of IIROC, that the Company’s management is unaware of any material change in the Company’s operations that would account for the recent increase in market activity.Mood Media

Mood Media Corporation has acquired PELIKA Business Music Oy (Pelika) for US $9.8 M, implying an acquisition multiple of 4.9 x EBITDA. Pelika is a dominant market leader in digital business music solutions in Finland, predominantly serving clients in the hospitality sector.

endras bmwEndras BMW, one of Canada’s most innovative BMW retailers, is offering the ultimate job for a social media savvy, BMW enthusiast. Beginning today, anyone in the world who loves to be “in the BMW know” can attempt to make a career of it by applying to be Endras’ Ultimate Blogger at EndrasBMW.com. The most qualified and connected applicant will land the job of a lifetime. This in-house social media gig pays the chosen candidate $65K a year to drive a brand-new BMW, attend BMW events around the world, find the latest BMW news, and blog, Tweet and Facebook about it all. If these responsibilities aren’t enough to pique interest, the job also comes with a downtown Toronto condo for the Ultimate Blogger to call home for the duration of his or her contract. Stage One of the application process closes on April 1, 2011.

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16th February 2011

Frima Launches Quartet of Development Tools

frima studioFrima Studio has announced that it will now be offering a complete set of scalable and customizable multiplatform development solutions to its partners. Frima Studio’s Technology Department boasts a dedicated team of R&D programmers whose primary goals are creating tools and leading-edge technologies. The all-new quartet of tools incarnates the ideal development platform for any social game, MMOG or casual game.

“This suite of sophisticated, turnkey development solutions is a groundbreaking moment for us, and we’re so thrilled to be able to offer it to our partners and clients,” said Steve Couture, CEO of Frima Studio. “These four technologies fully epitomize the ideal development platform for any social, casual or MMO game and can each be altered and adapted by our in-house R&D teams to completely fit each client’s individual needs. We can offer a fast, flexible and fully customizable approach to game development that is unlike anything currently on the market.”

Frima’s servicing technology solution is fourfold:

SnowStorm Gaming Grid – A product of more than seven years of intensive development and operations, SnowStorm Gaming Grid provides an adaptive, flexible technology that allows you to create fully customizable social games and MMOGs. SnowStorm can be connected on multiple devices including iPhone™, iPad™, Android™ or online whether on Flash, “Molehill” (Flash 3D) or Unity.

IceWave 2D Platform – Designed to maximize efficiency and reduce production time on multiscreen projects, the IceWave 2D Platform adapts the experience to each platform without having to start from scratch every time. Simply put, coding happens once within IceWave and deploys on multiple platforms seamlessly. IceWave saves production time and takes away the porting complexities and costs enabling Frima and its partners to focus on the key elements, like making a great game!

NorthStar Dashboard – A complete set of data tracking tools created to help design and marketing teams, NorthStar Dashboard monitors key metrics linked to an application’s success. With the NorthStar Dashboard, users can follow and anticipate the evolution of a game world, then track details specific to their needs.

IceField 3D Engine – As an Adobe privileged partner and Molehill pre-release participant, Frima has developed a 3D engine intended to use and extend this new technology. With IceField 3D Engine for Molehill, it is possible to create in-browser advanced 3D experiences using hardware acceleration.

Each of these technologies can be altered and adapted by Frima’s own in-house R&D department to fit its clients’ needs, and together they yield a package that no smaller indie developer can offer.

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16th February 2011

Doritos Invites Canadians To Write The End

doritosIs it The End, or only the beginning? Canadians are creative, savvy and eager for a piece of the action. They’re ready to be engaged, take control and make important decisions for their favourite brands. The Pepsico Doritos® brand is ready to take consumer engagement to a new level of awesomeness with its latest epic digital promotion, “The End” – which will bring one lucky Doritos fan behind-the-scenes like never before, to actually become a part of one of Canada’s best-loved snack brands.
Doritos The End
“The Canadian consumer landscape is really changing and we’re no longer satisfied with sitting back and being shown or told what to do,” says Ken Wong, Professor of Business and Marketing, Queen’s University. “The Doritos campaign is a really innovative new program that breaks down barriers between industry and consumers – it’s actually a harbinger of the future. It’s truly amazing that one lucky fan will have the chance to shape the course of their favourite brand.

Launched on February 4, the Doritos® The End Contest challenges Canadians to take hold of the brand in a completely new and different way. Doritos is launching two new flavours (Flavour A – Onion Rings N’ Ketchup and Flavour B – Buffalo Wings N’ Ranch) and is asking consumers in Canada to decide which flavour should live and which should be destroyed; or, put another way, be forever removed from store shelves. Until March 13, consumers can visit Write The End, and compose the ultimate ending to an unfinished Doritos commercial that will destroy one flavour in a highly creative way. The prize is worth the effort: $25,000, 1% of future sales from the flavour remaining on shelves, the unfinished commercial completed with the winning ending, and the exclusive opportunity to become a part of the Doritos 2011 brand team.

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

As submissions are entered, the fate of all endings is put into the hands of voters, who will ultimately choose fourteen finalists – seven finalists from Flavour A and seven finalists from Flavour B. Then an expert judging panel, made up of a Doritos brand representative, an agency representative and the commercial’s director, will be tasked with the responsibility of critiquing and choosing the final winning ending. The winner will be announced when the finished commercial is revealed live for the first time.
Onion Rings and Ketchup
Along with some serious cash ($25,000 and 1% of future sales from the flavour remaining on shelves), the winner of Doritos® The End will hone their creativity to become the first member of the Doritos Think Tank, an exciting new extension of the Doritos brand team that engages consumer insight to keep the brand on the cutting edge of cool. This is an amazing opportunity for one Doritos fan to literally sit at the Doritos boardroom table and share their knowledge of current trends in pop culture and social media to influence brand happenings. This lucky insider will be flown to Toronto for three non-stop Doritos-filled days of brand integration and will then be given the opportunity to participate in monthly Think Tank projects for the rest of the year where they will have the opportunity to weigh in and contribute to brand decisions.

Buffalo Wings and Ranch“At Doritos, we thrive off of finding ways to break through and give consumers control of the brand,” says Tony Matta, Vice President of Marketing at PepsiCo Foods Canada. “The End is more than a contest, it’s the next evolution of consumer engagement where we’re handing over our brand to Canadians, and giving them a chance to play a role in making Doritos history, something we’ve never done before.”

The Doritos® The End Contest is supported with a custom website, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, an extensive advertising campaign on national television and online, and media partnerships with MuchMusic and Astral Media.

The new Doritos flavours, Onion Rings N’ Ketchup and Buffalo Wings N’ Ranch, are available across Canada in distinctively-marked white and black bags wherever Doritos are sold. For more information, to view submissions, and full contest rules, please visit Write The End.

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