Gaming

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Idle Champions is the world's first strategy management game set in the Forgotten Realms see more

    Source: gamasutra.com

    The Most Concurrently Played Dungeons & Dragons Game on Steam, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, Coming to PlayStation ®4 and Xbox One

    VICTORIA, BC – November 27, 2018 -  Codename Entertainment is proud to announce Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms will be available for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One this December in North America. 

    Idle Champions is the world's first strategy management game set in the Forgotten Realms from Dungeons & Dragons and is already available in Early Access on Steam for PC and Mac, iPad on the App Store, and for tablet for Android on Google Play.

    Here are a few highlights:

    • Most-played Dungeons & Dragons game on Steam (by concurrent players).
    • Top 20 F2P game on Steam (by concurrent players).
    • Top 100 Most Played Steam game (Top 0.5%)
    • 45.9 million cumulative hours played since launch.

    Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is a strategy management game where players must assemble and organize a party of Champions to master the art of Formation Strategy. Players unlock new Champions, upgrade them with special abilities, and quest for epic weapons such as Drizzt Do'Urden's Icingdeath and Twinkle. The key to success is learning how to best combine each Champion's abilities to maximize their potential and defeat an onslaught of increasingly powerful monsters.

    Key Features:

    • Unlock Renowned Champions: Collect famous and infamous Champions from the history of Dungeons & Dragons, including fan-favorites from Forgotten Realms novels by R.A. Salvatore and Erin M. Evans, as well as popular web series like Force Grey: Lost City of Omu, Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team, and Dice, Camera, Action! With Chris Perkins.
    • Formation Strategy: The key to completing adventure is mastering Formation Strategy, discovering and managing the Champions and synergies needed to defeat the infinite waves of enemies.
    • Explore the Forgotten Realms: Take your Champions on a ‘grand tour’ of Faerûn’s famous Sword Coast, exploring familiar locations within the Forgotten Realms like the City of Splendors - Waterdeep! The game launches on consoles with campaigns inspired by the official Dungeons & Dragons tabletop role-playing game adventures Tomb of Annihilation, Curse of Strahd, and Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.
    • Regular Events: The game is updated regularly with limited-time events and additional campaign adventures. Completing events unlocks new Champions and equipment for the player's collection.

    Digital Press Kit: http://bit.ly/IdleChampionsDPK

    Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms will be available for PlayStation®4 on December 11th and Xbox One on December 14th, 2018 in North America. For more information on Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms go to www.IdleChampions.com.

    About Idle Champions

    Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is the world’s first strategy management game set in the celebrated universe of the Forgotten Realms. It is the first licensed Dungeons & Dragons video game made in partnership between Codename Entertainment and Wizards of the Coast.

    About Codename Entertainment 

    Codename Entertainment Inc. is the award-winning indie video game studio based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The studio's previous game, Crusaders of the Lost Idols, has stayed in the Top 1% of games by concurrent player count on Steam since launching in 2015. It is also one of the Most Played games out of more 117,000 on Kongregate.com, and is consistently ranked in the Most Popular Games on Armorgames.com.

    About Wizards of the Coast

    Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), is the leader in entertaining the lifestyle gamer. Wizards' players and fans are members of a global community bound together by their love of both digital gaming and in-person play. The company brings to market a range of gaming experiences under powerful brand names such as Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. For more information about our world-renowned brands, visit the Wizards of the Coast Web site at www.wizards.com

    Press Contact

    Clive Gorman

    clive@codenameentertainment.com

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Canada’s gaming industry contributes $3.7 billion to Canada's GDP, a 24% increase from 2015. see more

    Source: Betakit.com
    Author: Amira Zubairi

    Report: Canada's Gaming Industry Contributes $3.7 Billion to Economy

    According to a new report by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), Canada’s gaming industry plays a major role in the country’s economy.

    The “Canada’s Video Game Industry 2017” report indicates that Canada’s gaming industry contributes $3.7 billion to the country’s GDP, representing a 24 percent increase from 2015. The industry also created 40,600 direct and indirect full-time jobs in 2017.

    To compile the report, ESAC looked at gaming industry-related job postings and searches in Canada on job site Indeed.com between December 2015 and December 2017. Specifically, ESAC assessed which gaming-related jobs are growing and which jobs are gaining interest from job seekers.

    “Gaming is big business in Canada—and it’s also a big employer, with openings for game designers, producers, programmers, artists, not to mention business, sales, and marketing roles,” said Jodi Kasten, managing director at Indeed Canada. “There’s no doubt that behind the glamor and excitement, gaming is a serious business subject to ups and downs like any other major industry. New technologies bring innovation and a demand for talent and new skills which leads to the creation of new job opportunities.”

    According to the report, the demand for artificial, virtual, and augmented reality experts in Canada has grown significantly since December 2015. The searches for AR and VR jobs has grown by 148 percent.

    ESAC’s report also found that since 2015, job seekers’ interest in eSports and game designer jobs has grown by 134 percent and 96 percent, respectively. However, employers’ demand for these jobs has decreased by 57 percent and 33 percent, respectively. When it comes to game testing and quality assurance jobs, the report revealed that employers’ searches for game testing talent have grown by 114 percent, while job seekers’ interest has only grown 3 percent since 2015.

    ESAC’s study of game-related jobs revealed that Montreal is home to 41 percent of Canada’s gaming job opportunities, followed by Vancouver, which makes up 20 percent of gaming job opportunities, and Toronto, which makes up 13 percent. This does not come as a surprise as the Startup Genome’s Global Startup Report 2018 also showed that Montreal is the centre of Canada’s gaming industry, hosting nearly 35 percent of all gaming studios and publishers in the country.

    “Montreal has emerged as Canada’s leading hub for gaming job creation, and that comes as no surprise since it’s home to one the world’s largest video game industries,” said Kasten. “With 41 percent of Canada’s gaming job opportunities found here we can expect to see continued job seeker interest in this exciting industry.”

    View the full report here.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    It was nearly five years into the development of what was initially titled Dollhouse... see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Michael D. Reid

    Gaming guru Mattrick receives UVic honour

    Don Mattrick grins as he recalls a classic example of his legendary persistence, and how it spawned a $5-billion franchise while he was president of worldwide studios for the Electronic Arts gaming company.

    It was nearly five years into the development of what was initially titled Dollhouse, a passion project the ambitious business mogul was working on with game designer Will Wright.

    Even though his executive team threatened to resign, he soldiered on and Dollhouse morphed into the hugely successful life-simulation video-game series The Sims.

    “Literally, for five years someone would come into my office and say, ‘This is never going to ship! This is the dumbest product you’ve ever had,’” recalled the amiable tech titan at the University of Victoria Monday morning. Mattrick, who on Monday night received the 2017 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year award, was at UVic to inspire fourth-year Peter B. Gustavson School of Business entrepreneurship students.

    “‘You have 75 full-time people working on this! All the rest of us are busy making a difference in our company,’” he said, recalling the reaction of some colleagues. “Does Will have compromising pictures of you?”

    While executives accused Mattrick of having “this huge blind spot,” the Victoria-based entrepreneur’s tenacity paid off with a product that became one of the best-selling video games in history.

    “You have to try and champion things,” said Mattrick, who has done plenty of championing since his teenage years when he offered to work for free at a ComputerLand store after unsuccessfully applying for a job there.

    The Burnaby-raised visionary’s experiences inspired him to create Distinctive Software Inc., which would become Electronic Arts. So began a career turning startups into major businesses and setting the standard for video-game development during three decades in the technology sector.

    Other career highlights include his tenure as CEO of Zynga, the social-media gaming company, and as president of Microsoft’s entertainment businesses, overseeing the growth of the Xbox console and its PC gaming businesses.

    He has served on public and private boards, including the advisory board for the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is currently serving as co-chair of the Premier’s Technology Council.

    As well, Mattrick is an honorary fellow with the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, and holds an honorary doctor of laws from Simon Fraser University.

    While Mattrick answered questions about his successes, he wasn’t above acknowledging his missteps. He recalled the one that got away in the 1980s — Tetris.

    “I’d seen the first prototype,” he said. “Three friends pulled me aside and said: ‘We could write this in three hours! You cannot pay this money to license this.”

    He said he considers having passed on the tile-matching puzzle video game released in 1984 a mistake — albeit one he’d learn from — since it went on to become a $2-billion franchise.

    “It’s overwhelming when you start something,” he said. “But it gets easier because you learn how to accept failure and success in the same way. Give yourself permission to fail.”

    Without revealing the person’s identity, other than to quip it wasn’t Mark Zuckerberg, Mattrick said he just spoke with an “Internet gazillionaire” friend. He asked for advice on how to inspire students at UVic.

    “He said: ‘Just kick them in the rear and tell them to go do it,’ ” Mattrick said with a laugh.

    “There’s no perfect entry point. The benefits of doing it are going to teach you a lot more than the benefits of trying to make a perfect choice.”

    Mattrick said he was fortunate to have some great coaches who taught him the importance of time management, setting priorities and how to think strategically.

    “At the end of the day, it’s about people and the first person you’re managing is yourself,” he said. “Be resilient.”

    He emphasized that starting a tech company is “a team sport” and that his experiences in the U.S. have confirmed that Canadian entrepreneurs are as talented and as capable of success.

    “In the U.S., they’re just more brash and competitive,” said Mattrick, who added that “I’m a bit of a hermit” who happens to be “super-competitive” but likes to think things through before taking action.

    When asked to name his proudest achievements, one of his answers took some students by surprise.

    “I married exceptionally well,” he said, referring to his wife of 25 years Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick, president and co-founder of Beehive Holdings, the investment firm that supports women entrepreneurs.

    “My wife speaks five languages, is a literature and business school grad. She pulls me aside all the time and says: ‘I can’t believe you said that in a public setting. You are such a geek!’

    “She’d remind me that most people wouldn’t care about the math. They’d care about the emotion.”

    A DISTINGUISHED LIST

    Previous winners of the University of Victoria Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year award

    • 2016: Linda Hasenfratz, CEO Linamar

    • 2015: David Foster, businessman, philanthropist and record producer

    • 2014: Dennis Washington, founder of The Washington Companies

    • 2013: Brandt C. Louie, chairman of London Drugs

    • 2012: Dennis (Chip) Wilson, founder of Lululemon Athletica

    • 2011: J.R. Shaw, founder of Shaw Communications

    • 2010: Alex Campbell Sr., co-founder of Thrifty Foods

    • 2009: Sir Terence Matthews, chair of Mitel Corporation, and chair and founder of Wesley Clover

    • 2008: Clive Beddoe, founding shareholder in WestJet

    • 2007: David Black, president of Black Press

    • 2006: Gwyn Morgan, former president and CEO of EnCana Corp.

    • 2005: Dave Ritchie, chair and former CEO of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers

    • 2004: Jeff Mallett, former president and chief operating officer of Yahoo!

     

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    “We were a three-person studio when we shipped the first version of this game,” see more

    Source:  Financial Post
    Author: Josh McConnell

    ‘Rise of the indie developer’: Microsoft puts small studios closer to the centre of its gaming future

    SAN FRANCISCO — Independent developers have become a crucial piece to Microsoft Corp.’s video game strategy for both its Xbox and Windows brands, and now the company is opening up its platform so anyone can begin publishing original content.

    At the annual industry-focused Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week, Microsoft announced what it calls the Xbox Live Creators Program, which lets someone make original games with any retail Xbox One console and then publish the final product in the company’s digital gaming stores.

    “The rise of the indie developer has been probably the most exciting thing to happen to games in the last 10 years,” Chris Charla, head of Microsoft’s indie developer ID@Xbox program, said in an interview during the conference.

    “Independent games, or smaller games from smaller developers, have the ability to take a lot of risks and really realize their vision and follow their passion.… We’re almost at the point now where the barrier to entry isn’t your ability to program a computer, it’s how good your idea is.”

    Modern video game consoles such as the Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 have helped usher in a digital distribution era in which major blockbuster titles such as Call of Duty and Halo can live alongside independently made games that are cheaper, shorter and often more unique experiences.

    In a global video game industry expected to hit almost US$79 billion in sales this year, according to the research firm Statista, indie developers now have a direct line to consumers through digital marketplaces and programs offered by the companies making the home consoles.

    “The net result, for us as players and gamers, is when you turn on an Xbox One or PC the variety of game you’ll see is broader, more diverse and better than it ever has been in history,” said Charla. “For independent games, we’ve been in this golden age since about 2008 and it just doesn’t show any signs of ending.”

    Independent Games @ Xbox (or ID@XBOX) was first announced in August 2013 as a program anyone could apply for with a game pitch. If approved by Xbox, the applicant would receive two free development kits that allow access to the Xbox platform’s hardware or software features and eventually end up with a published title for the Xbox, Windows or both.

    The program has led to hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue generated by independent games, according to Charla, with tens of millions of gamers playing ID@Xbox-generated titles for more than a billion of hours in 2016 alone. There are now currently more than 1,000 titles under production using the program.

    “The results have really exceeded our best-case vision for the program when we started it,” he said.

    Many games under production using Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program are from Canada and showcased at events during the conference in San Francisco. In fact, Canadian games are some of the best in the world and most prominent in the ID@Xbox program, according to Charla.

    “Canada is in a beautifully unique position, because it is right next to the U.S. so it has really good sense of American sensibilities but it also has a really nice eye back to Europe and even over to Asia,” he added. “So I think the Canadian melting pot ends up with a really nice set of influences that result in games that are super popular worldwide.”

    One such studio is Victoria-based Metalhead Software Inc., a small nine-person team that is bringing its arcade-like sports title Super Mega Baseball 2 to Xbox and Windows later this year through the ID@Xbox program.

    “We were a three-person studio when we shipped the first version of this game,” said Scott Drader, co-founder of Metalhead Software. “So to be able to get in without a ton of overhead and have all of the onboarding go pretty smoothly, it made it easy to deliver the game.”

    On the people side, Christian Zuger, the other co-founder of Metalhead Software, said everyone at Xbox has been helpful and responsive, which is important as someone learns the publishing ropes.

    “Sometimes, especially when you are starting out, you wonder if you are asking stupid questions because they must hear the same ones over and over,” he added. “But they are very patient with us.”

    Montreal-based Borealys Games has been working on bringing its nostalgic, action adventure game centred around casting spells called Mages of Mystralia to Xbox and Windows through ID@Xbox. The studio said even the networking that Microsoft can offer goes a long way.

    “We knew that the program had changed quite a bit since the Xbox 360 and they wanted to be more aggressive with the indies,” said Patric J. Mondou, game director at Borealys Games. “Even when we just had a simple and early prototype, they were still willing to send us (development) kits. They’ve also invited us to many events… One of the most difficult things when you are indie is getting the reach to the media.”

    The Xbox Live Creators Program will launch in the coming months, and there will also be more features coming to the ID@Xbox program for developers including mixed reality, virtual reality and support for Microsoft’s new console coming later this year.

    “We just want to keep doing a better job for our developers and keep making life easy for them,” said Charla. “We want to be a conduit so the development community can let Microsoft know what they want and work on those feedback loops to make things great. It’s just super fun.”

  • SportsBid Fantasy Sports posted an article
    New "team fantasy sports" game now open for anyone to play for free. see more

    Do you like sports?  Do you enjoy strategy games like poker?

    A product of VIATeC's Venture Acceleration Program, SportsBid is a daily team fantasy sports game for busy sports fans that need a faster way to engage with the sports they love to watch.  SportsBid features poker-like auction drafts that take just minutes to play.  Players compete for ownership of real-life sports teams, like the Vancouver Canucks, and score points when their teams win.  Unlike other daily fantasy sports products like FanDuel and DraftKings, no player research is necessary.  SportsBid is about strategy: it is not who studies the most, but who plays the best that wins.

    SportsBid's mission is to make fantasy sports fun and accessible for fans of all levels. From casual fans to hardcore sports junkies, SportsBid allows friends and coworkers of all passion levels to play together on a fair playing field. In addition, players are more engaged when watching live matches. Rather than rooting for a single athlete, players can cheer on the whole team and enjoy every game-changing play.  SportsBid is free to play and uses virtual chips to track players' progress.

    You can help SportsBid by visiting the site, signing up, and playing a practice draft versus the computer opponents.  Early players can help shape SportsBid into the most strategic, accessible, and fun fantasy sports game around!

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Mobile game studio DoubleJump have announced the official release of Slash Mobs see more

    Victoria Game Studio launches Slash Mobs across Apple and Google Stores

    Victoria, B.C. - July 21, 2016 - Mobile game studio DoubleJump have announced the official release of Slash Mobs, the studio’s fourth mobile game release to date.The newest addition to the DoubleJump lineup recently completed a successful closed beta and is now ready for everyone to enjoy. Slash Mobs is an idle/tap game that will be available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. 

    Slash Mobs is a fast paced tap centric game that takes your character on an adventure through hundreds of levels filled with monsters and bosses trying to hold you back along the way. Collect valuable coins to build a team of heroes that will assist you on your quest to beat the toughest monsters and bosses even when you're away from your device. 

    “Our team has really worked hard on every little detail on this project and we know Slash Mobs is a high quality mobile app that our fans are really going to enjoy playing.” said Masoud Nassaji, DoubleJump CEO. “Slash Mobs is an exciting and addicting game ready to take the genre to another level.” 

    DoubleJump was established in June 2014 in  Victoria BC. The independent studio saw instant success in the mobile game industry with the releases of Cube Crusher, Temple Toad and the App Store hit, Grappling Garry. DoubleJump design, develop, and deploy innovative mobile games. The target market covers a wide swath of gamers, ranging the spectrum of play from children to seniors and professional gamers. Making games that appeal to so many people requires a good deal of insight and focus on the end user.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    The event will show some of the cutting-edge tech developed by the province’s top gaming studios. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    The province’s interactive entertainment industry lays itself bare today as DigiBC, the organization that represents B.C.’s digital media and wireless companies, presents Made in B.C. at the Victoria Conference Centre.

    The one-day event will showcase some of the cutting-edge technology developed by the province’s top gaming studios and virtual-reality companies in the hope it will grab the attention of students and tech industry colleagues wondering where their career paths may lie.

    Patrick Sauriol, executive director of DigiBC, said companies working in the interactive entertainment space want to let people know there are careers available and that it goes well beyond just video games.

    “Video games become an entry point for young people,” he said, noting getting a taste for coding and programming because of video games can lead them into a variety of options.

    “Video games really are a language to talk about technology, and it can bridge into a whole world of technology,” said Eric Jordan, chief executive of Codename Entertainment, one of the Victoria game studios that will be on display.

    “This is reaching out to students and providing a way to engage them in learning to program and code.

    “I would have loved that as a kid, learning about programming in the context of video games. We learn better when really engaged in material we’re taught and video games certainly engage kids.”

    Sauriol also notes the companies want to show off some of their work on bringing coding to the classroom.

    For example, Finger Food Studios from Coquitlam, which will be demonstrating today, developed an application to interact between smartphones and the Sphero robot toy — much like the BB-8 droid seen in the latest Star Wars movie — allowing people to control the toy.

    “It’s drag and drop to [control the toy’s movements], and by just swiping the screen over they can see how drag and drop commands turn into coding.

    “So the company put together a curriculum with teachers in Coquitlam and bought 180 of these devices and gave them to the schools and came up with a coding program for Grades

    5 to 7,” Sauriol said.

    Today’s showcase will feature 12 B.C. companies, including three from the Island — Codename, LlamaZOO and Cloudhead Games — trying to engage students, educators, other technology workers and representatives from other tech firms.

    There will be a chance to play a variety of games in virtual reality, augmented reality, console gaming, computer gaming and mobile gaming, and there will be a coding classroom to give people a taste of what it takes to produce the games.

    The showcase runs from 1 to 5:30 p.m. with an evening program for senior management of tech companies between 7 and 9:30 p.m.

    To attend the showcase, people have to contact DigiBC through Kelsey@digibc.org, stating which portion of the event they wish to attend.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Gaming studio has partnered with game publisher Kongregate to release the game on Android and iOS see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Victoria’s Codename Entertainment will be taking its popular game, Crusaders of the Lost Idols, on a serious road trip this summer.

    The gaming studio has partnered with game publisher Kongregate to release the game on Android and iOS platforms, meaning players will soon be able to play it on their smartphones and tablets.

    “This is two major milestones for us,” said Codename chief executive Eric Jordan. “First off, it is a milestone to launch a game into such a large market. There are more mobile devices on the planet than people, which makes the mobile market the single largest video-game market in the world. Additionally, this is the first time that we have worked with a major publisher.

    “The business interest shown by a company of that size is a testament and recognition of the talented team we have established here in Victoria.”

    Codename is also likely to increase staff as a result, said Jordan, who would not provide financial details of the partnership.

    Until this deal, players could only play Crusaders on websites such as Kongregate.com and Facebook after it was launched last year.

    Jordan said the experience on the web has allowed them to refine the game before launching on mobile platforms.

    “Mobile is a large market, but it is also a tremendously competitive market,” he said. “Last year, over 450 games were submitted to Apple Inc. every day.”

    “We’ve seen great success helping developers to optimize and perfect their games on Kongregate.com before tackling mobile together, and we think this game further validates that strategy,” said Emily Greer, co-founder of Kongregate.

    Crusaders of the Lost Idols follows a group of fighters who take on a variety of villains, including a giant panda with lobster claws. As an “idle” game, it allow players to put as much time and effort as they wish into a game as they do not require active play. Players can leave them to idle and play themselves.