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14th April 2010

ESA Canada Sends Recommendations To The Federal Government

esacESA Canada has submitted ten recommendations to Canada’s federal government for a national digital economy strategy in a paper entitled Game On, Canada! Playing to Win in the Digital Economy (PDF). This paper covers a number of issues critical to Canadian competitiveness. Taken together, these solutions would not only benefit the Canadian video game industry, but would position Canada as a more competitive jurisdiction in which to invest.ESAC Game On Canada 2010

This 22 page report outlines not only the importance of talent development and improving the digital literacy of current and future generations, it also speaks to the very important issue of access to capital and widening the scope of such areas as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development grants. The recommendations also include suggestions in regards to current copyright laws and access to affordable, high quality broadband nationwide. There are many excellent points raised in this ESAC paper, and is an excellent springboard for further discussion about the future of the interactive digital media industry in Canada.

Good luck to the three Canadian-developed games which were named to the 2010 Microsoft XNA Dream Build Play competition: The Shadows in the Underworld, DualityZF and Capsized. Finalists should be announced by Microsoft in the next few weeks. Congratulations to EA Sports’ FIFA 10 on being named to the World Cyber Games official tournament list for the 2010 season.

If you’re going to be in the Toronto area on June 4th, the Branded Content Summit is something you may want to Northern Voicelook at attending. The Branded Content Summit (BCS) will bring people together from marketing, advertising, content production and media to better understand trends, share ideas and learn how to profit from the shift towards branded content. Also of interest is Northern Voice, which will be held out here in Vancouver on May 7th & 8th. The Personal Blogging and Social Media Conference has released its schedule of speakers and registration is now open.

EXPIf you’re an over-19 gamer in the Vancouver area, check out EXP’s first big event this coming Friday night at the VFS Cafe. There will be several gaming stations set up and tournaments will abound. There will be some great prizes offered – but only those who RSVP via the event’s FaceBook page will gain admittance.+

IGLOO Online CommunitiesKitchenerIGLOO Software today announced the launch of the industry’s first Social Media Playbook. This free resource is an invaluable tool for anyone implementing social software solutions – inside the organization, to improve employee productivity, or outside, to enhance stakeholder engagement. The Playbook offers four core community building resources:Social Media PlayBook Read the rest of this entry »

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7th April 2010

Avoid Stress Play Games April is Stress Awareness Month

Hothead GamesIn today’s news leads, many of you probably already know that Ron Gilbert has left Hothead Games. On his blog, he stated that with DeathSpank‘s production winding down and heading for certification, his task is complete, although he will still be working closely with EA and Hothead to help promote the game. Ubisoft

Ubisoft Montreal will be holding a world exclusive autograph session with the Splinter Cell core team at the Montreal Future Shop on Ste Catherine Street next Tuesday, April 13th from 10am to Future Shop1pm.  Celebrating the release of Splinter Cell: Conviction, Alexandre Parisot (producer), Maxime Beland (creative director), Patrick Redding (game director/coop mode) and Steven Masters (lead game designer) will be present to meet the fans and autograph the games.

I played through the new DLC for Mass Effect 2 last evening – the availability of Kasumi – Stolen Memory was Kasumi Gotoplagued with server problems yesterday, which made for many unhappy ME2 players who were waiting to purchase the expansion. The new expansion, which adds Master Thief Kasumi Goto to the Normandy squad took me about an hour or so to play through, and while at first glance the 560 Microsoft Points price doesn’t really seem to give much value for the points, it’s important to remember that now an extra squad member and a new SMG will be available for subsequent re-plays of ME2. I guess that will even out the price and the shortness of the required missions. I would like to note, however, that there are areas where your character can (or in my case, will) get stuck. Without giving away the DLC plot – stay away from the chairs in a certain building during Kasumi’s loyalty mission. They act like a one way ramp and you’ll have to reload the game.

Burnaby – Turn up the music, raise your hands and voices and join the celebration! Electronic Arts today EA Sportsrevealed the 28 artists across 20 countries who will usher in the EA SPORTS™ 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ with an international soundtrack that celebrates the cultural vibrancy of the first FIFA World Cup™ to be held in Africa.

EA SPORTS 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ captures the sounds and history of the musical landscape in Africa with a rhythmic, tribal blend of 28 songs that, through mass exposure to soccer, videogame and music fans, will become synonymous with the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ worldwide. Somali-born poet, musician and rapper, K’NAAN, headlines the soundtrack with his song “Wavin’ Flag Coca-Cola Celebration Mix”.

EA Sports FIFA World CupA full playable demo of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system will be available for download at the PLAYSTATION Store, and for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system on Xbox Live Marketplace, beginning April 8 worldwide. Play as Spain or Italy and discover a soccer experience that brings to life the passion and emotion of the actual tournament. New players to the FIFA Soccer franchise will be able to choose to play the demo utilizing new Two-Button controls designed to enable new gamers to pass, shoot and compete for the 2010 FIFA World CupTM with an accessible control scheme that utilizes just two buttons. In addition to playing a match soccer fans and gamers will be able to upload their replays from the demo to EA Football World for other fans to watch.

“2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is a landmark project in the evolution of world music and its African heritage,” says Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Marketing at Electronic Arts. “We’ve brought together such legendary African artists as Nigerian drummer/activist Babatunde Olatunji, Senegal icon Baaba Maal, and ‘The Bob Marley of Ghana’ Rocky Dawuni, with global superstars like Sergio Mendes and Nas & Damian Marley. But we’re perhaps most proud of K’NAAN, the unsigned Somali artist we discovered in 2004 whose music has now appeared in five different EA SPORTS video games.” Read the rest of this entry »

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1st April 2010

Surely You Jest

Digital LeisureGormleyDigital Leisure today announced the upcoming release of the “Plasti-Copter” accessory for its successful WiiWare™ title Copter Crisis. Claiming that it’s most certainly the largest accessory to ever be released for a gaming console, Digital Leisure predicts it might revolutionize the way consumers play video games.Copter Crisis Chopper

“We’ve heard nothing but great reports from those playing Copter Crisis” states David Foster, Digital Leisure’s president, “but we really felt there was more we could do to enhance the gameplay experience. So we turned the problem over to our engineers and this is what they came up with.”

With a Wii Remote in-hand, the player enters the Plasti-Copter. Once comfortably seated and Copter Crisis started, the player will instantly feel they’re part of the action as they guide the on-screen copter with their remote. Copter Crisis available exclusively on WiiWare for 500 Wii Points™.

“Life-Size is actually a bit of an exaggeration” says Paul Gold, V.P. Operations. “We reduced the size a little so that it will fit snugly into most family rooms”. And to the suggestion that once in production, the Plasti-Copter will consume more petroleum products than many developing nations, Mr. Gold replies “no worries, we’ve been in touch with several oil-producing countries and they assure us they can ramp up production.”

While some claim that an accessory of this scope is better suited for a disc-based title, Digital Leisure points out that “Really, WiiWare is where the action is – digital downloads are the future.”

The price may be a bit of a stumbling block for some but for those who can afford it but, it’s guaranteed to be the experience of a lifetime. As an added bonus for those who preorder Plasti-Copter today, Digital Leisure is offering a special shipping option – helicopter airlift delivery to your back yard!*

Morrigan with her voodoo doll

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware has released new DLC for Dragon Age: Origins to celebrate Thedas, the great holiday of Satinalia. This special day is marked by sumptuous feasts, wild celebration, and naming the town fool as ruler for a day. Amid the feasting, it is customary for friends, lovers, and traveling companions to exchange gifts and pranks.

Feastday gifts and pranks offer the player a chance to explore the approval system in Dragon Age: Origins at greater depth by making your companions despise or adore you. Feastday gifts and pranks packs are available for purchase individually or as a combo pack containing both the Gifts and Pranks.

Now for just 160 MS Points, you can pull a prank on your party members with the Feastday Prank Pack, or you can give Morrigan the coveted Alistair voodoo doll from the Feastday Gift Pack (also 160 MS Points). If you are undecided, you can get both packs for only 240 MS Points – that’s a savings of 40 points if you buy them separately. These packs are only playable in Dragon Age: Origins.

Extreme Ease SoftwareDeltaExtreme Ease Software Inc., announced the immediate availability of a completely redesigned and significantly improved HelpConsole 2010. Technical writers have the ability to host all product documentation on one central web server enabling design and maintenance of help systems from any office using a standard HelpConsole 2010browser.

HelpConsole represents the next step in the evolution of user assistance. In addition to formats such as web-help and PDF, HelpConsole provides the unique ability to publish ‘dynamic help’ systems that can be uploaded to an existing website, allowing authors to quickly add content and make changes from anywhere in the world using a standard web-browser.

“We’ve revolutionized help authoring software by providing the ability to host dynamic help systems on a local or remote web server”, says James Dean, President of Extreme Ease Software. “Developers and authors can update product documentation from anywhere using a standard web browser. HelpConsole was designed to be used with little or no training required. Many of our customers have told us that they’ve tried other Help Authoring solutions and found HelpConsole to be the most advanced, yet easy to use. We’ve built upon our previous success and have released a more feature-rich product that will suit the world market.” Read the rest of this entry »

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29th March 2010

Bioware Celebrates Fifteen

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the launch of Bioware Bazaar. Officially open on April 6th, the Bazaar is comprised of a “week-long series of mock online auctions that will feature over 400 items ranging from custom painted PC’s, Alienware laptops, BioWare apparel and more!” Coincidentally, April 6 is also the launch date for the next bit of DLC for Mass Effect 2. Kasumi’s Stolen Memory will be available for 560 Microsoft Points and will feature new crew member Kasumi Goto, new missions and a sweet new weapon – the sound-suppressed Locust SMG, a new achievement and a flash-bang loyalty power.

According to the Bazaar info page, in order “to bid on these items, fans will need to collect tokens through various challenges. The first auction begins at 9 AM PST on Tuesday, April 6th, with new items being made available every 15 minutes, ending 4 PM PST Saturday, April 10th. So tell your friends, start collecting tokens, and get ready to win some amazing prizes!” You can read the full Rules of Engagement on the Bioware Bazaar rules page. Happy Birthday, Bioware!

Canada 3.0 2010Stratford – The Canada 3.0 2010 forum slated for May 10-11 will set an ambitious target for Canada’s digital media industry – that of making it possible for “anyone to do anything on-line in Canada – by 2017″. The second annual forum will bring together the people who can make that happen from industry, government and academia for a two-day event intended to boost Canada’s ability to lead in the digital economy.

“We’ve set this ‘Moonshot’ that might sound impossible, just as putting a man on the moon once sounded impossible, but it is attainable if we harness all the necessary resources and are fully committed to making this happen,” said Kevin Tuer, Managing Director of the Canadian Digital Media Network, a federal centre of excellence in commercialization and research. “While the sun is setting on some more traditional industries, there are many opportunities worth shooting for in digital media spanning all aspects of our economy.”

Kevin Newman, Anchor and Executive Editor of Global National, will emcee the main plenary sessions. Keynote speakers and panelists include: Tony Chapman, Founder & CEO of branding and advertising agency Capital C; Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text Corporation; Helen McDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications, Industry Canada; Sarah Prevette, Founder & CEO of entrepreneurship community Sprouter.com; Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media, B.C.; and more to be announced soon.

“This event is critically important to Canada as we re-evaluate our economic foundation,” said Newman. “All sectors of our economy, including our creative artists and storytellers, need to understand the emerging keys to success in an increasingly competitive global economy and culture.”

Staged once again at the Rotary Complex in Stratford, the forum features a select group of speakers in the main plenary session with opportunity for attendee discussion and input in a broader range of breakout sessions and workshops.

Canada 3.0 2010 will build on the momentum created at last year’s forum that attracted some 1500 people, and will have a broad scope given that digital media is defined by organizers as ‘anything created or shared virtually’. The line-up of forum ‘streams’ is led by heavy-hitters in the digital media sector. Topics include:

* Imagining – Global best practices: What does Canada do well? What should Canada be doing?
– Chaired by – Tom Jenkins, Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Open Text Corporation; Gerri Sinclair, Executive Director, Masters of Digital Media Program, Centre for Digital Media, B.C.; and Ian Wilson, Executive Director, University of Waterloo Stratford Institute
* Empowering – Networks, infrastructure and mobility
– Chaired by – René Barsalo, Director Research and Strategy, Society for Arts and Technology, Montreal; Michele Perras, Director of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre; and David Yach, Chief Technology Officer, Software at Research In Motion Read the rest of this entry »

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27th March 2010

Games For History and Games For The Near Future

On The Path of the EldersThanks to the financial support of Canadian Heritage, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Inukshuk Fund and all the project partners, ‘On the Path of the Elders‘ launched as a complete site this past week with a party at the Carleton University Art Gallery.

Terry Hoganson, member of BlackCherry Digital Media, described the event as magical: “It was amazing to have all of these people, who have dedicated countless hours and limitless energy into making On the Path of the Elders a reality, come together and share their stories.”Path of the Elders RPG

Speakers at the celebratory launch included Mr. John Mark Seck, president of BlackCherry Digital Media, Stan Louttit of Neh Naak Ko, Greg Spence of the Mushkegowuk Council, Dr. Kimberly Matheson, Carleton University Vice-President (Research and International), Franziska von Rosen of Our Incredible World (formally Pinegrove Productions), Dr. Elaine Keillor and Dr. John Medicine Horse Kelley Cle-alls, co-directors of Carleton’s Centre for Indigenous Research, Culture, Language and Education, known as CIRCLE.

For those who are not familiar with On The Path Of The Elders, it is a free online educational resource exploring the culture and history of the Mushkegowuk Cree and Anishinaabe Ojibway of Northwestern and Northeastern Ontario, and the signing of Treaty No. 9. Ideal for youth aged 13-17, Path of the Elders reconnects Aboriginal youths with their past, while developing leadership, negotiation, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.

Features:

IUGOIUGO Mobile Entertainment has released a few preliminary screenshots (click thumbnails for a better view) for the first round of Zombie Attack Second Wave XLtitles they will be releasing for the iPad, which will hit stores in just a few more days. Note that all iPad games from IUGO have the XL designation in their title, separating them from their smaller siblings which were built for the iPhone.

For Zombie Attack! Second Wave XL, players will be getting a brand new character, enhanced graphics and a brand new, very cool and intuitive user interface. The Zombie Attack series are a tower defense game where the player is the only survivor of a recent zombie apocalypse. You must destroy the waves of zombie attackers in order to upgrade your shack and weapons. Zombie Attack! Second Wave also makes use of the tilt feature to add to your game-play experience as you fight off the varying types of zombie creatures. You can also listen to your own music as you zap zombies because there is automatic iPod music support.

Cliffed XLMeanwhile over in Cliffed XL, players will have new backgrounds as well as new characters (in addition to the 18 already available), along with pumped up graphics. As you can see in the screenshot, players will be able to engage in head-to-head challenges on one device. Head-to-head play is available on the iPhone version, which allows up to four players to race to the bottom over a WiFi, 3G or Edge connection. With global leader boards, you will find yourself experiencing the “one more time” effect as you race to take over as the worldwide leader of Cliffed. Very addictive. Just sayin’.
Implode XL
Implode! XL will lead to total destruction on a larger scale. For those not familiar with this incredibly addictive game, you have been given the task of destroying old, obsolete buildings. This is not as easy as it sounds. Each building requires the careful placement of dynamite bundles, and if you get it wrong, the building does not Implode in the manner it should. There are currently three levels of challenge – Casual, Veteran, and Expert, with three bomb types: traditional, blast and directional with more bomb styles to become available in the future. IUGO has designed a new super slick user interface for this chalkboard styled game – and exclusive to the iPad version is an editor. Both iPhone and iPad users will also receive all-new levels, giving players well over 100 levels to puzzle their way through, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

Norm's World Escape XLNew to both the iPhone and iPad is ESCAPE: Norm’s World. Exclusive to the iPad for this puzzle game will be two player interaction with two modes. Gamers will be able to take their friends on in either head to head (see screenshot) or co-op play. Also exclusive to the iPad will be some very cool 3D graphics. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is a game which due to its unique design, offers an endless array of levels and puzzles. There will be two additional difficulty modes which will be introduced through DLC, and this game will also feature simple controls, making it user friendly for all ages. ESCAPE: Norm’s World is also comprised of minimalist graphics and unique cerebral game play complimented by relaxing audio and visual effects. So remember that while the puzzles may be driving your mind crazy, your psyche is being calmed by the soothing audio.

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24th March 2010

Mobility Is The Keyword Of The Day

Mass Effect 2I spent part of last evening playing through the new Firewalker DLC pack for Mass Effect 2, and overall I am very happy with it. I like once again having a vehicle to race around in, and I’m hoping that these five new missions was a test drive for more yet to come. Being able to use the Hammerhead hover tank to gather minerals and elements is much more engaging than scanning planets from the Normandy and lobbing probes at said planets.

While the new missions were not terribly interactive in regards to characters and were lacking in battle scenes, one cannot argue against there being value for the money. The Firewalker pack is free to those who have the Cerberus Network option, and really, any chance to experience more game play in Mass Effect 2 is a bonus. I am aware that some gamers felt that the Hover TankHammerhead didn’t have enough tank armour, but as far as I’m concerned, it was just fine. I am notorious for having my vehicles blow up, and I only lost my tank once – apparently it cannot hover over lava pits. Oops. The tank’s light armour simply means that the player must be smarter about picking fights and defeating the Geth, which to me adds another level of game play and strategy. I think that Bioware’s DLC mission team did a great job with this pack; now all they need to do is make it so that more planets can be visited with the tank and keep adding more DLC. I am definitely looking forward to the next pack, Stolen Memory, which will be available in just a couple of weeks.

CG ConMontréalEd Hooks will be presenting his one day course “Acting for Animators” at CG Con – The White Conference in Montréal on Friday, April 23rd. CG Con features 3 days of master classes by world-leading masters in film and video-game in areas such as Digital Animation, Digital Modeling and Digital Painting & Concept Art. The Early Bird conference price of $299.00 (students $239.20) is available until March 28, when ticket prices will go up to $399.00. The conference takes place April 23 – 25 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

CG Con will also be presenting The North American Roadshow in Vancouver on Saturday, May 8th. The venue and speaker list have not yet been announced, but tickets will be $100.00 each, or $80.00 for students and CG Society members.

StyleTapTorontoStyleTap Inc. today announced the release of StyleTap Platform for iPhone®, which allows over 30,000 applications originally written for Palm OS® to run on iPhone and iPod touch® devices.StyleTap iPhone App

“We have found that many users and businesses have made very large investments in acquiring and developing mobile applications, and these applications have been enhanced and refined to fit their needs like a glove,” said Gregory Sokoloff, CEO of StyleTap. “With all the new smartphone platforms, users are reluctant to lock themselves into one platform or to make the same investment over and over for each new platform. StyleTap’s cross-platform family of products can help make these problems go away.

“Naturally, we would prefer to be able to offer this product through the App Store, but unfortunately this is not currently possible due to Apple’s restrictive policies, and instead this version of StyleTap will run on jailbroken devices. Although there are many useful and entertaining applications available through the Apple App Store, we continue to receive a flood of emails from users telling us that they need StyleTap in order to keep running the applications, not available on the App Store, that are critical to their lives and businesses.”

StyleTap Platform for iPhone supports standard features that include TCP/IP networking, audio recording and playback, the ability to use the multi-gigabyte storage as a virtual memory card, and cut/copy/paste of text between native and Palm OS applications. It also provides innovative capabilities such as giving Palm OS applications access to the iPhone GPS by providing location information in standard GPS NMEA format. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd March 2010

Canadian Technology Taking Off In The Global Market

MIGS 2010The Montreal International Game Summit has put out its call for speakers. The seventh annual summit will take place November 8th and 9th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel. More congratulations are in order for the FIFA 10 development team, as the game picked up two BAFTA Game Awards this past Friday evening – one for Best Sports Title and the other for Best Use of Online. DreamCatcher Games and The Adventure Company have announced the release of new content on an updated website for Sherlock Holmes VS. Jack the Ripper for the Xbox 360. You can check out new screenshots and a new trailer on the site, as Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripperwell as put in your pre-order at GameStop. Sherlock Holmes vs Jack The Ripper will be in stores near the end of April and is rated T by the ESRB.

Kasumi GotoBioware has released more details about Kasumi Goto, the newest member of the Normandy’s crew in Mass Effect 2. Kasumi,  the galaxy’s most enigmatic and cunning master thief, will be introduced in the DLC pack Stolen Memory. In addition to being able to recruit Kasumi in all new missions, players will be able to utilize her special skills as a member of Commander Shepard’s squad throughout the entire game. In return for her help, Kasumi has asked for Commander Shepard’s help on a dangerous heist to infiltrate the vault of a deadly master criminal named Donovan Hock. Players must gain Kasumi’s loyalty on the planet Bekenstein, where Hock is throwing a party for some of the galaxy’s richest and most deranged criminal minds. The mission: recover data of great importance to Kasumi and the galaxy at large. In addition to this new mission, players will also receive a new research upgrade, one Hover Tanknew weapon, and a new achievement in this PDLC pack. The Kasumi – Stolen Memory PDLC pack will be available this April for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system at a cost of 560 Microsoft points, and on PC for 560 BioWare points. Don’t forget that tomorrow (March 23rd) will be the release date for the Firewalker DLC pack, which includes five heart-pounding missions taking place on five uncharted worlds. Players will be able to explore planets and engage in combat in the new Hammerhead hover-tank. The Firewalker pack will be available via the Cerberus Network console. Mass Effect 2 is rated M by the ESRB.

Toronto Comic ConToronto – Fans 10 and under attending Toronto Comic Con, March 26-28, 2010, at the Direct Energy Centre will receive a free Gogos Crazy Bones toy, courtesy of Toronto-based Irwin Toy. The popular items will be distributed while supplies last at the Registration area upon arrival.

Gogos Crazy Bones are a collectible, mini game toy sensation. They are small, colorful figures whose gaming origins date back to Ancient Greece, where children played by bouncing and throwing knuckle bones. These more refined, plastic characters are available in the hundreds, each one having a unique face and name.

“We are pleased to be providing free Gogos Crazy Bones right in our backyard at Toronto Comic Con,” said Gogos Crazy BonesPeter Irwin, Irwin Toys. “It is extremely special for Irwin Toys to participate in the inaugural show here, since Gareb has been a family friend for as long as my father and I can remember.”

Gogos Crazy Bones was named the 2009 British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) Collectible Toy of the Year. The characters have recently been hugely popular in Europe and Australia and were first a big hit in the U.S. more than a decade ago, when 31.5 million packages were sold from 1998-2000.

“Having an international sensation like Gogos Crazy Bones available free to kids is a great bonus for Toronto Comic Con attendees,” said Gareb Shamus, Wizard Entertainment CEO. “It’s particularly gratifying to be partnering with Irwin Toy, which in addition to being based in Toronto, has been a leader in the industry for more than 80 years.” Read the rest of this entry »

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19th March 2010

It’s Friday Let’s Rock

First up, our congratulations to Bioware and Dragon Age: Origins for picking up a Swedish Games Industry award for RPG of the Year and to EA Burnaby for picking up Sports Game of the Year for FIFA 10. Also, a reminder that the Early Bird price deadline for GDC Canada is fast approaching. Take advantage of the ticket discounts and get your passes before March 31 for this May’s great event at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

IUGOThere’s lots going on over at IUGO Mobile Entertainment as well. Earlier today the studio announced that several of their game titles will be released for the iPad. On the list are Cliffed, Zombie Attack Second Wave and Implode, along with their brand new game, Escape: Norm’s World. We also found out today that IUGO’s Director of Business Management, Sarah Thompson, will be one of two featured speakers at the upcoming Appy Hour, which is presented by The Social Agency. Appy Hour will be happening on March 26th at the Revel Room from 4 – 6pm. Also speaking at Appy Hour will be Jesse MacFayden, a developer over at Nitobi.

Vancouver TwestivalThe Vancouver Twestival will be taking place at the CBC Vancouver Audience Lounge this March 25th, and tickets are now on sale.  The Twestival is part of a global day of fundraising which will involve thousands of Twitter-users around the world who are gathering together to raise money for Concern Worldwide, an international humanitarian organization dedicated to reducing suffering and ending extreme poverty.

Your $20 Twestival ticket includes:

- Admission (donation to Concern Worldwide)
– 1 Wine ticket (more available for purchase)
– 1 Raffle ticket (more available for purchase)
– Food (sushi & canapes)
– Official souvenir YVRTwestival button
– Entertainment (Rob Cottingham, live DJ, Mojave)
– Socializing with Twitter friends (although that’s priceless!)

Bioware CorpEdmontonBioware has announced the release dates for the next round of new DLC for Mass Effect 2. The Firewalker pack will be available beginning on March 23, and Alternate Appearance PackKasumi Goto will join the crew of the Normandy on April 6. Kasumi’s DLC expansion will be titled Stolen Memories. Also coming on March 23 are new appearances for crew members Thane, Jack and Garrus. The Alternate Appearance pack will be available for 160 MS Points. The Firewalker DLC pack will include the brand new M-57 Hammerhead Hover Tank as well as five brand-new missions and locations to explore. This expansion will be free to those gamers who have the Cerberus Network option enabled. The Cerberus Network game add-on code included free to all those gamers who purchased the game new; if you bought a previously-played version, you can add the Cerberus Network option for 1200 MS Points through the XBL Morrigan DisapprovesMarketplace. In my opinion, the Cerberus Network offers much value in return and is well worth the points if you didn’t purchase the game new.

There are also plenty of new items over in the Bioware store. Today’s new product announcement is the “Morrigan Disapproves” Dragon Age shirt. If you have a Bioware, Mass Effect or Dragon Age fan in your house, then the Bioware store is a great place to find some cool gift items from shirts and hats to lithographs and music.

The CFTPA has made the National Digital Strategy Prime Time panel videos and several PowerPoint presentations available online. To download the presentations and speeches, scroll down through the schedule list and click on the links for the presentations you would like. I think that by making these videos and presentations available to those who were unable to make the February conference is a great way to continue a national dialogue for the Toby - Guitar Herodevelopment of a Canadian digital strategy, and I appreciate the efforts by those at the CFTPA for taking strides to keep those of us in the digital media industry informed and talking.

I’m going to leave you on this Friday afternoon with a music video from the young English rock group Jonny Black. Now, you may ask yourself why a Canadian digital media news site is promoting an English group, and I would answer, “because the young men who make up this group are friends of ours and they deserve some extra promotion. Plus, they’re gamers, too.”

Formerly known as Mendella, Jonny Black’s band members are among those who have a dream and work hard to forge their path in the achievement of that dream. This video in particular is an endeavour by the group to have one of their songs chosen as the UK soccer team’s anthem for the 2010 World Cup. We hope that you enjoy Jonny Black’s music as much as we do, and will help their video go viral (watch it, fave it, share it) thereby playing a part in the achievement of their goals. You can read more about our involvement with Jonny Black and learn more about these young men here, here, and in our gallery, right here.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video
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16th March 2010

Dragon Age’s Newest Chapter Awakening In Stores Now

VancouverBig Fish Games has released their latest social game title, My Tribe™ on Facebook. My Tribe is the second in a series of social game initiatives that Big Fish Games is launching in 2010. My Tribe was first released in 2008 as a highly addictive, immersive downloadable SIM game for Mac and PC. Now redesigned and extended to the Facebook platform by the Big Fish Vancouver studio, My Tribe offers its characteristically fun and emotionally enriching gameplay to the social gaming audience.

“Social gamers are increasingly drawn to game experiences that offer greater depth of gameplay in easilyMy Tribe accessible, social formats,” said Will O’Brien, vice president of Social Games at Big Fish Games. “My Tribe is precisely that. What’s cool about My Tribe is that when you’re actively playing, you govern your tribe, but while you are away, your tribespeople will take matters into their own hands. Your teenage tribespeople, for example, may choose to sleep or eat instead of chopping wood!”

Players begin by selecting an island from among billions of options. Each island is unique with varying levels of natural resources and mysterious objects that are revealed through gameplay. Ryan Clark, My Tribe executive producer, provided more detail about the game: “With a player’s guidance, tribespeople develop areas of specialty – for example, construction – to help them accomplish larger tasks like building a ship or a storehouse. They grow from child to youth to adult, learn new skills, have children of their own, and eventually become respected elders. And because gameplay is continuous – your tribe is living, learning, fishing, eating and surviving even when your computer is turned off – it’s especially important for players to check in regularly on the tribe’s progress.” Read the rest of this entry »

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15th March 2010

Beware the Ides of March and Enigmatic Thieves

mingleverseVancouverMingleverse is holding a promo contest and giving away A 50-Person Mingle Room with all features, including live video, for 1-year, built to the winner’s personal specifications. The contest winner will get to spend an hour with our Mingle Room designer to discuss room design, along with a $50.00 Google Adwords credit to spend on promoting your mingles or your mingle group. This contest is open to everyone. Please visit the Mingleverse contest page for details on how to enter.Kasumi Goto

EdmontonBioware has officially announced the next downloadable character for Mass Effect 2 (I mentioned her yesterday in my review of ME2). Kasumi Goto is a thief. More specifically, she is an enigmatic human thief and the Illusive Man has requested that Shepard add her to his (or her, depending on the gender of your Commander Shepard) elite squad. As with all of the other squad members, Kasumi will come along with her own baggage in the way of a quest which Shepard will have to help her with in order to win her loyalty. Kasumi is tentatively scheduled to be available in early April. It is interesting to note that on the Mass Effect 2 character page, there are still two slots marked “Classified” so I think we can safely say that there is lots more to look forward to from Bioware. Like…M57 Hover Tanks…and more missions.

D-BoxLongueuilD-BOX Technologies Inc. has announced its first agreement with Walt Disney Pictures to feature its groundbreaking motion technology with the studio’s new film from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, opening in theatres May 28.Prince of Persia Sands of Time

“We are very proud to count Walt Disney Pictures as a supporter of our technology. Disney has a very good reputation within the industry and has demonstrated over the years much dynamism and vision. Following last year’s acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, which complements their already broad portfolio, this studio is well positioned to produce movies which will fit particularly well with our technology”, declared Claude Mc Master, President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies.

From the team that brought the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy to the big screen, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films present Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, an epic action-adventure set in the mystical lands of Persia. A rogue prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) reluctantly joins forces with a mysterious princess (Gemma Arterton) and together they race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time – a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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posted in Action Adventure, Business News, Contests, Events, Everyone, Game Dev, Mature, New Releases, RPG - MMORPG, Upcoming Releases By: | Print This Post Print This Post

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