Report: Canadian Government Could be found in Contempt of Parliament

March 22, 2011 -

A Commons committee has recommended the current Canadian government be found in contempt of Parliament, but the ruling party, Conservatives, have a chance of a historic censure if a vote on the budget or other events launch an election first.

The Commons procedure and house affairs committee tabled a majority report Monday concluding that the government is "in contempt" for continually refusing to disclose information about the cost of several major legislative items. They are referring to documents related to the cost of several items including its law-and-order agenda, corporate tax cuts and a plan to buy stealth combat jets. All of the opposition members of Parliament on the committee voted to condemn the government for withholding the requested documents without giving "adequate reasons" for doing so.

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Report: Square Enix Negotiating Canadian Tax Deal for Future Studio

March 16, 2011 -

Square-Enix plans to open a new studio with over a hundred employees in 2012, somewhere in Canada. The maker of Final Fantasy is reportedly negotiating with the governments of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Whichever location offers the best tax incentives package will get a new Square Enix Studio that expects to employ over one-hundred new employees. Square Enix already has a studio in Montreal - which it acquired when it bought Eidos in 2009. But that doesn't mean Square Enix is giving the edge to that locale:

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CRTC Denies UBB Hearing Request

March 14, 2011 -

The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) has denied requests to hold a hearing on the broad practice of usage-based billing in the retail sector. Any decision the CRTC makes on UBB will not affect customers already affected by it such as Rogers, Bell, and Shaw Internet customers. Ultimately, it will only affect smaller internet service providers that get their bandwidth from the big aforementioned service providers.

In a letter, the CRTC said the following:

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RIAA Targets Spain, Canada, for Piracy Watch List

February 18, 2011 -

The Recording Industry Association of America and its partners at the International Intellectual Property Alliance recently submitted their ‘piracy watchlist’ recommendations to the Office of the US Trade Representative. The RIAA pointed to two countries as being the worst of the worst when it comes to intellectual property theft: Spain and our comrades to the north - Canada.

This is particularly interesting because this week Spain passed a tough new law to combat piracy. The Sinde law (nicknamed for its sponsor) is aimed at shutting down file-sharing sites that traffic in illegal downloads. Even though the public and some in the Spanish movie industry opposed the law, it will become the rule of the land by summer, says TorrentFreak. But the RIAA claims this is just a baby step and that even more needs to be done to combat theft.

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Canadian Government Promises Review of Usage-Based Billing

February 3, 2011 -

Update: while writing this story it came to my attention (thanks to HarmlessBunny) that Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement has called on the CRTC to reverse its decision to end unlimited internet access plans offered by smaller internet providers. If the CRTC does not back down from its decision on usage-based billing, Clement says the government will intervene. Further Clement said that the CRTC must "go back to the drawing board" on the issue - more from CBC here.

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Canadians Ticked Off Over Usage-Based Pricing

February 1, 2011 -

Canadian journalist Jason Koblovskly complains about usage-based billing and how much it sucks in a non-shocking blog post. Like many of his fellow citizens (at least those paying attention) he is angry that internet service providers are crying poverty and implementing pricing that charges users for both uploads and downloads.

In his post he points out that an online petition to the Canadian government demanding an end to usage based billing has managed to garner nearly 190,000 signatures. There seems to be some momentum towards ending this practice, with federal Liberals and the NDP already calling for an end to it. Meanwhile, Industry Minister Tony Clement is waiting for the results of an appeal with the Canadian regulator the CRTC.

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Anti UBB Wants You

February 1, 2011 -

Are you a Canadian ticked off at the newly concocted scheme to charge you based on the bandwidth you consume? Then you might want to check out Anti UBB, an organazation dedicated to stopping "usage-based billing" in Canada. As a consumer in the U.S. this should scare you, because if usage-based billing is implemented without complaint from consumers, it will most definitely make its way here.

So what exactly is usage-based billing? From the site:

"With Usage-Based Billing, large Internet Service Providers (ISP) provide you with a ridiculously-low download cap, and charge you as you download more than it. Caps recommended have been as low as 25GB. As Bell is losing its fixed-line telephone customers and soon television customers, Usage-Based Billing is yet another way to increase profits and gouge customers."

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Quebec: The Fastest Growing Game Industry Hub in the World

January 28, 2011 -

Develop offers an interesting breakdown of Quebec's video game industry, which it calls one of the "fastest-growing game development clusters in the world." If the numbers are to be believed (and we trust their research), than Canada is on track to surpass many other countries soon. In some cases it already has. The report is particularly troublesome to regions in Europe, like the UK, a popular poaching ground for talent..

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BioWare Doctors to be Inducted into AIAS Hall of Fame

December 17, 2010 -

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences announced today that it would induct BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk into its hall of fame. The duo responsible for some of the greatest role-playing game series ever made (Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age - to name a few) will also speak at AIAS' 2011 D.I.C.E. event.

Epic Games president Mike Capps will present the award to the duo on February 10 at the Interactive Achievement Awards at the D.I.C.E. summit in Las Vegas.

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Women in Games Scholarship Hunting for Applicants

December 15, 2010 -

The Vancouver Film School (VFS) will present its annual Women in Games Scholarship in January. Full details of the Women in Games Scholarship will be announced at the free Sunday Open House (part of the Game Design Expo 2011) on January 22-23, 2011. The Women in Games Scholarship is a unique financial incentive to encourage opportunities for women pursuing a career in game design. The Women in Games Scholarship, valued at up to $50,000, covers the full tuition for an aspiring female game designer to attend VFS’s one-year Game Design program.

Since the scholarship was introduced two years ago, the percentage of female VFS Game Design students has increased from 2 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2010. VFS call this an encouraging trend for the future of the industry. Female VFS Game Design graduates include Tara Mustapha and Charmie Kim of Microsoft Game Studios, Pamela Livara of XMG Studio, and Melanie Genereux of Longtail Studios in PEI.

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Alberta Police Use Game to Recruit Young People

December 13, 2010 -

Alberta Police have an interesting way of luring youngsters in to learn more about being a police officer: a video game. The Police department is using new approaches to get youngsters interested in a career in law enforcement and what works better than video games?

The official game of the Alberta Police Department is appropriately called Alberta C.O.P.S. Impaired Driver and was developed by Edmonton-based software company Firetext International. C.O.P.S. stands for Career Opportunities in Police Services.

Alberta C.O.P.S. Impaired Driver begins by letting the player select one of five police officers who come from different backgrounds. Next, the player is briefed on objectives for the day, and then sent out in a patrol car to investigate and arrest suspects who appear to be breaking the law. The player has 12 minutes to complete three tasks. For every achieved objective the player is awarded a badge.

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Toronto Police Recover $500,000 in Stolen Sony Goods

December 3, 2010 -

A 39 year-old Toronto man has been arrested for stealing $500,000 (we assume CDN as the value) in PlayStation 3's, PSP's, and games, according to multiple Canadian press reports. Jason Meadus has been arrested and charged with three counts of "Possession of Property by Crime."

The charges stem from the theft of two tractor-trailers stolen on November 15 and 16, 2010 in Brampton. Each tractor-trailer load contained approximately $500,000 in PS3's, PSP's and video games. On November 17 both trailers were reported stolen.

A police investigation inevitably lead to Meadus. Only about half of the stolen property has been recovered, and it is unclear if Meadus was simply in possession of the stolen property or had a hand in stealing it. Investigators claim to have recovered approximately 1,600 pieces of Sony consoles and 2,000 games.

Meadus returns to court on January 10, 2011.

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London, Ontario Still Hopes to Build Gaming Mega Center

November 22, 2010 -

The city of London, Ontario continues to harbor aspirations for a local technology center based around videogames and has $5 million in funds ready to kick start the project.

There’s still no timeline for the intended center, but a plan, according to the LF Press, would have the federal government kick in $10.4 million of the total $24 million needed to get the project off the ground.

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Desert Bus Charity Drive Poised to Begin Fourth Installment

November 18, 2010 -

This year’s fourth annual Desert Bus for Hope charity gaming drive will benefit from the backing of managed hosting service provider ServInt.

Canadian comedy troupe LoadingReadyRun puts on the charity initiative each year, which consists of members playing the Penn & Teller-developed game of monotony Desert Bus, which has players man the steering wheel of a bus headed from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Such a trip takes eight hours in real time, and upon competition, players are awarded a single point.

Last year the charity drive, which benefits Child’s Play, raised over $140,000.

LoadingReadyRun’s Kathleen De Vere thanked ServInt for their contribution, and added, “With their hosting, we know everyone will be able to see us as we suffer for the children.”

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“Strange” Tender for Canadian Armed Forces Seeks 500 Games

November 18, 2010 -

Canada’s Department of National Defence has submitted a federal government tender request for 500 videogames.

Among the games requested, according to The Star, are 93 copies of Gears of War, 82 copies in total of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and 36 copies of Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. All in all, it’s estimated that the total value of the games sought is around $25,000.

Capt. Sandra Bourne, a spokesperson for the Canadian Forces, said about the order, “It’s a strange one.”

Notably absent from the list—Medal of Honor, which Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay criticized earlier this year.

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Canadian Developer Downplays Importance of Tax Breaks

November 9, 2010 -

While game industry group TIGA continues to pound politicians on the subject of instituting Games Tax Relief for UK interactive developers, one Canadian developer feels like the UK's rich history of creating games created as tax breaks, at least when it comes to landing new publishing deals.

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Researcher: Violent Content Alone Does Not Increase Aggression

October 27, 2010 -

A psychology student at Canada’s Brock University has undertaken a study on the relation between videogames and aggression, but his research seeks to examine whether other elements of games, rather than violence only, can lead to increased hostility.

26-year old Paul Adachi, as part of his push for a PhD, has already experimented on 50 students between the ages of 17 and 19. His plan, as detailed by the Standard, involves having subjects play two games—one non-violent (the racing game Fuel) and one violent (the action-adventure title Conan)—while attempting to determine if a game’s level of competiveness, difficulty and pace of play contributed to a rising level of aggression.

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Sperminator Almost Ready to Go Again

October 27, 2010 -

Earlier this year we told you about an online game featuring a penis-armed villain that was designed to educate kids on the perils of sexually-transmitted diseases. That game, Adventures in Sex City, has proven so popular that a sequel is in the works.

Created under the direction of London, Ontario’s Middlesex-London Health Unit, the original game featured the characters Captain Condom, Power Pap, Willy the Kid and Wonder Vag, and had players answer sex-related questions in order to repel the seed of the evil villain, and sufferer of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), dubbed the Sperminator.

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Mounties Across Canada Bust Counterfeiters

October 25, 2010 -

Two separate detachments from Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have succeeded in arresting suspected counterfeiters.

Officers from the Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine RCMP just announced the seizure of approximately 3,500 DVDs, 400 copies of software, 1,000 computer games and 100 music CDs, all counterfeit, from a residence in New Richmond, Quebec. The Mounties also snatched computer equipment related to copying and producing the discs, and stated that the unnamed owner or resident of the dwelling could face charges under Canada’s Criminal Code and/or its Copyright Act.

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WarCraft III Smack Talk Culminates IRL Beating

October 22, 2010 -

A Vancouver high school student was assaulted by a group of people on Monday, all because the victim and his friends reportedly trash talked opponents after a victorious WarCraft III skirmish.

The student in question was roughed up at Eric Hamber secondary school during lunch hour. The Vancouver Sun reported that the beating came following a WarCraft III: Reign of Chaos online battle in a Defense of the Ancients custom scenario, after which the winning team mocked the losers.

“Four or five assailants,” described as in their late teens, tracked the boy to Eric Hamber, and “made him kiss their feet before hitting him with batons, breaking his fingers.” No arrests have been made yet, though Vancouver’s police youth squad continues to investigate the assault.

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As THQ Selects Montreal for New Studio, TIGA Laments Lost Opportunity

October 19, 2010 -

Game industry group TIGA is using comments from a THQ executive to further press for tax relief for the videogame industry in the UK.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, THQ Executive VP Danny Bilson called the talent in the UK “extraordinary,” and while he would love to see his company build a new studio in the region, it won’t happen anytime soon because “it's all about money at the end of the day.”

THQ opted instead to build a new 400-employee studio in Montreal, where it will receive tax breaks of 37.5 cents for every dollar spent on labor costs, which Bilson called a "huge win" and would enable the developer to "put more on the screen."

Bilson added:

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Canada's CMF Doles out $12.9M in Funding, Some to Game Makers

October 15, 2010 -

A dozen game projects were among twenty-seven total ventures awarded funding from the Canada Media Fund’s (CMF) Experimental Stream.

All told, the fund doled out $12.9 million, with an average of $478,000 granted per project. Three projects, including one game initiative, received the maximum amount of $1 million.

Bot Colony, an online game designed to assist players in improving English skills in development by North Side Inc., was the sole game project to land the max funding amount.

Other games receiving backing included:

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Canadian Mayoral Candidate Talks About Luring Developers

September 29, 2010 -

One candidate in the Brantford, Ontario mayoral race thinks videogames could help boost the local economy.

Chris Friel is one of nine candidates for mayor in the Southern Ontario town with a population of around 90,000. Seven of the nine candidates answered questions Tuesday night at Laurier Brantford University, where Friel broached the idea of attempting to lure developers to the town, noting that the gaming industry is “versatile enough to locate anywhere if given the incentive.”

Friel stated, “That’s why we need to move into industries that are more accessible for university students.”

He added, “They could literally be working at something while they were going to school and be able to move right into that field afterward.”

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Pac-Man-Inspired Mayoral Race Game Draws Mixed Reactions

September 20, 2010 -

An online game featuring Toronto’s five mayoral candidates was designed to raise awareness of the race while perhaps providing a very informal look into who might win the October 25th election.

Mayor Munch, created by the OneStop Media Group is based on Pac-Man, and has players choose one of the five candidates— Rob Ford, Rocco Rossi, Sarah Thomson, Joe Pantalone, Giorgio Mammoliti or George Smitherman—to play as.

Results show how much each candidate was chosen, figures that might presumably correlate to their outcome in the election. As of today, Rossi was leading, having been selected as the on-screen avatar of choice 29% of the time, a number that directly contrasts figures showing Ford with a huge 24-point lead.

Montreal Police: Dawson College Massacre Developer Won't Be Charged

September 15, 2010 -

Montreal police will not charge the creator of a game that uses the September 2006 shooting at Dawson College that left one dead and 19 injured. Police said that they could not charge the 23-year-old Ontario man who goes by the name "Virtuaman" because no one could accuse him of an actual crime.

His crime, according to some who were deeply offended by the game, was recreating killer Anastasia DeSousa’s violent rampage. While the Montreal police department has asked for the game to be removed because it is not "socially sensitive or moral," the creator has no obligation to do so.

The game, a simple top-down action game called Dawson College Massacre, was released on September 8. It is available on Newgrounds.com now. Despite the complaints, Newgrounds has not taken the game down.

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Columnists Rips Canadian Defence Minister for MOH Comments

September 9, 2010 -

In response to Canadian Defence Minster Peter MacKay’s (pictured) disapproving comments about the Electronic Arts game Medal of Honor, an Ottawa Citizen columnist took to his pulpit in order to offer a spirited defense (defence) of videogames.

Referring to the ability to play as the Taliban in the game, MacKay had said that, “I'm sure most Canadians are uncomfortable and angry about this.”

In his column, Dan Gardner replied, “No one ever accused Peter MacKay of being Her Majesty's most cerebral minister…”

MacKay had also lamented that children might take on the role of insurgents in the game, a point which Gardner addressed:

UK vs. Canada: Why Tax Breaks Matter to the videogame Industry

September 7, 2010 -

In an article called "UK vs. Canada: Do Tax Breaks Build An Industry?" at Gamasutra Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley says that the UK government’s decision not to give tax breaks to the videogame industry is one of the reasons why so many UK studios are slowly setting up shop in Canada.

Though Kingsley said that tax breaks would have been nice to have, his company is coping with the reality that - for now - they are not available.

Richard Wilson, CEO of UK video game trade organization TIGA, is a bit more concerned as he watches companies make a slow exodus to regions in Canada such as Quebec and Ontario, who offer generous tax breaks on labor costs that UK developers can't ignore.

"We are competing with the rest of the world on an uneven playing field," says Wilson. "In 2006, the UK games industry was the third largest in the world in terms of revenue generation; we have since fallen to fifth place."

But TIGA doesn't plan on giving up the fight anytime soon:

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Another MOD Criticizes MOH

September 7, 2010 -

The red phones connecting the world’s defense/defence ministers must be working fine, as yet another member of that group has jumped on the anti-Medal of Honor videogame bandwagon.

This time around Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay took issue with the Electronic Arts game, specifically over the ability to play as a member of the Taliban in Medal of Honor’s multiplayer mode. MacKay, via the Ottawa Citizen, had this to say about the game:

The men and women of the Canadian Forces, our allies, aid workers, and innocent Afghans are being shot at, and sometimes killed, by the Taliban. This is reality. I find it wrong to have anyone, children in particular, playing the role of the Taliban. I'm sure most Canadians are uncomfortable and angry about this.

Canadian Summer Incubator Results in Pair of New Games

September 3, 2010 -

A cool little videogame incubator project put on this summer in the Canadian town of Charlottetown, located on Prince Edward Island, resulted in two teams of recent graduates churning out a pair of videogames.

Sponsored by the Interactive Media Alliance (IMA), Telefilm Canada and Innovation P.E.I., the three-month long program, called Game Garage, ran from June 1 to August 31.

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Inafune on the Great White North’s Emergence: “Canadians Are More Serious”

September 2, 2010 -

By all accounts, Canada is now the third largest home to videogame developers in the world, a realization that Capcom’s Keiji Inafune attributes to both favorable tax breaks and the populace’s work ethic.

Speaking to NowGamer
, Inafune, who produced Dead Rising 2 and is head of R&D for the Japanese publisher, noted that Canada was “getting very important now,” before conveying his opinion as to why that might be.

“There are lots of background reasons for it, tax relief and government policies and so on and so forth, but from the developers point of view, Canada is part of North America so you can sort of [include it as] North American,” he stated.

Inafune continued:

But compared to Americans, Canadians are a bit... more serious, if you like. Also, compared to big cities such as Los Angeles, it's also a little bit cheaper. So they've got potential to be at the epicentre of videogame development.

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james_fudgeHappy Memorial Day to everyone05/25/2015 - 7:13am
Mattsworknamealso, in MGR, on higher levels, button mashing will get you reckt, you have to master parry to even have a prayer05/24/2015 - 8:52pm
MattsworknameI kinda would like a bit more variety in the combat, as it feels a bit to stiff and slow for me. Especailly after other games ive played05/24/2015 - 8:39pm
Goth_SkunkThere's... no button mashing in DA:I. However, neither is DA:I's combat perfect. I, for one, detest the active talent max limit of 8.05/24/2015 - 8:21pm
MattsworknameDa I combat is fun, a bit stiff but fun, but I still say the best pure combat engine in any game was Metal gear rising.05/24/2015 - 7:15pm
ZippyDSMleeWhen DA gets a control system like DA:O I'll brother to want to paly it, I frown on button mashing RPGs not made by bethseda...05/24/2015 - 5:59pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/science/2015/05/new-neural-implant-reads-a-persons-intentions-to-control-robotic-arm/ our first steps tos a dues ex future lol.05/24/2015 - 1:51pm
Goth_SkunkThe game is 75% sidequests, 25% story. And most of those sidequests are only vaguely related to the main story at all, having very little consequence to the plot at large.05/24/2015 - 1:12pm
Goth_SkunkI'm such a huge BioWare fan that I played through my first playthrough of DA:I without complaint, but on my second time through I certainly took notice of just how much side-quest material there was. It's probably my greatest criticism of the game.05/24/2015 - 1:10pm
ZippyDSMleeI need one of my 70 games to play....mmmmmmmm05/24/2015 - 9:57am
MattsworknameSpent all night playing blood borne, now trapped in the Nightmare frontier and trying to reach the boss so I can maybe warp out again05/24/2015 - 9:21am
MattsworknameYeah, i got started and then made it through t the first few misions anthen blood borne05/23/2015 - 10:13pm
Goth_SkunkWhich one, Dragon Age?05/23/2015 - 8:20pm
Wonderkarpalso waiting patiently for Batman.05/23/2015 - 7:36pm
MattsworknameIn still trying ot beat that game the first time. Freaking game has so much side questing05/23/2015 - 7:34pm
Goth_SkunkPlaying a third and probably final playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition. Once that's done, I'll move on to AC: Unity, most likely, then get caught up on A-list games I have yet to play, like Murdered: Soul Suspect and Shadows of Mordor.05/23/2015 - 6:33pm
MattsworknameIf you own a vita and like monster hunter, but dont like the bs filler that goes with it. Try tokiden kiwmai05/23/2015 - 6:11pm
Matthew Wilsonaparently their servers got crushed, but I dont see the game selling well. Nintendo fans tend not to be fans of competitive fps05/23/2015 - 5:48pm
MattsworknameSPlatton looks intersting, Love the are style, gonna give the game a try with the upcoming test fire05/23/2015 - 4:39pm
PHX Corp@Technogeek, I'm returning for one more Run with the Global testfire05/23/2015 - 3:41pm
 

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