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    Note: Thank you to Village Gamer for the live Twitter...

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    Note: Thank you to Village Gamer for the live Twitter coverage during Tuesday's event and for writing this fantastic article. To see the original article:

    As those of you who follow us on Twitter will be well aware, DigiBC hosted a town hall meeting Tuesday night for the BC game development community. It was encouraging to see such an excellent turnout for the event, and kudos to Whitney and Carly for putting the event together. The evening featured a panel of local creative devs with Lance Davis taking on the role of moderator. Opening remarks for the evening were presented by Rick Griffiths, Audit and Assurance Group partner with PwC. I will touch on only a few of the highlights from the evening, simply because the conversation moved quite quickly and because we did tape the event. The video should be available later today on our YouTube channel, and I have pulled many of the tweets into a board on Storify. I will send out a tweet and post on our Facebook page once the video is live. If you are reading this, then I’ve hit the Publish button – otherwise I will continue to add thoughts and edits endlessly, because there is so much to say and so much to do in regards to BC’s industry. A disclaimer to get out of the way first and foremost: I know I digress often – that is how my thought patterns work. As I said to Scott while writing this missive, people who know me know that this is how I write – I can be writing along with one thought, when I get a shiny new thought flashing through – but the message contained within does not change – we all need each other if we want to see the development community in BC grow and survive – and the same could be said for the national industry. It is not my intention to offend anyone or point fingers at any person specifically. It is my intention to get you all talking and thinking about what transpired at the meeting on Tuesday night, because I fully intend to do what I can to keep BC’s creative industry sector working and successful. How about you?

    Lance Davis and Rick Griffiths opened the evening by providing a base for the night’s topic with some background numbers and statistics in regards to global internet usage as it pertains to wireless, wired and console access as well as how the video game industry compares to others in this province. Rick also provided a brief comparison of BC, Ontario and Quebec in regards to product, talent and studios. I feel that this was a good way to begin the dialogue, as it shows to many who may not have been aware just how those numbers have, do and can play a very important part in showing where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we can go. Again – once the video is uploaded (it was supposed to upload overnight but the upload failed for some reason known only unto YouTube) you will all be able to listen to what everyone had to say.

    Before I continue, I do want to note who was on the panel and them for their participation, as well as thank the evening’s sponsors: Vancouver Economic Commission and Microsoft Studios.

    The Panel:

    • Wil Mozell, Microsoft Studios
    • John Lutz, Electronic Arts
    • Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, Silicon Sisters Interactive
    • Matt Toner, Zeros 2 Heros Media
    • Kenny Huang, Blue Bat Games
    • Julian Ing, Eruptive Games
    • Moderator: Lance Davis, Slant Six Games

    When I first launched Village Gamer back in 2008, I had already been holding many conversations with whomever would listen about how I, as a veritable outsider, saw the video game development industry in this province, and I identified a few key points. My main frustration at that time was that I felt very few were listening, and I believe that I am not the only one with such memories of trying to deal with what is still perceived as “the old guys’ club” that is the game development industry, and indeed, some of our trade-related associations fall into that trap as well. Last evening, for really the first time, I felt a weird vindication – like someone had been listening, and now the light has gone on – and the dialogue has started on what BC’s developers need to do to move forward – and I say BC’s developers because we all need to remember that not all of the province’s studios in Vancouver. Believe it or not, there is a world outside of the big city.

    Getting back to what I saw from local industry – everyone was busy doing what they did best – creating properties that engaged and entertained the gaming masses, but doing it alone, in their private silos, only coming together to bemoan the state of the market or the latest downturn. There was very little unity and very little interaction with the end user – the people who provided the sales dollars to fund current and future projects. Since that time, we have seen sectors of the game development industry begin to get together to share experiences and help each other – groups like Full Indie and Vancouver Social Games are flourishing, but there is still such a very long way to go. One of my main observations has been the difference between the development cultures in Vancouver and Toronto, which is another point I have raised repeatedly. Vancouver’s development community has grown up in the Triple A sector, one whose mantra has often been “thou shalt not discuss anything with anyone at any time.” Meanwhile on the other side of the country, Toronto’s development community has grown up Indie, only recently dipping its toes into the world of Triple A foreign-owned big house development. Those indie developers learned early on that inter-house co-operation and collaboration provided their best chances at survival.

    Then we have the trade associations. New Media BC warped into a merger with BC Wireless, and it was pretty well downhill from there for a few years. With the changing of the guard at DigiBC and with the addition of the BC Interactive Task Force, perhaps there is some hope. Whitney and Carly definitely have their work cut out for them trying to improve DigiBC’s brand – and it may in fact be time for another complete rebranding. Much damage has been done in the short time that New Media BC ceased to exist, but to be fair, I think that people need to put the past in the past and be willing to work with the association to move forward. Communication will be key.

    Unfortunately, DigiBC is not the only association with problems. Our local SIGGRAPH chapter – for all of the great events it brings, and the hard work that was done in winning the SIGGRAPH expo for the city – is very much a closed group. Our IGDA chapter also has challenges – mostly people power and organization – not for lack of trying – the attempt at reviving IGDA Vancouver is ongoing. There are all of these splinter groups that should be working together; granted, each association has its own bylaws and fees, but there is no reason why they cannot all sit at the same table and be all-inclusive to those in industry who want to join and become pro-active – and who do not necessarily live in Vancouver, Metro Vancouver or even the Lower Mainland. There needs to be transparency in all of our associations if they want people to join and become involved again – do not treat your members like lemmings and mushrooms.

    As per the usual cycle, the recent downturns in BC’s industry has seen an influx of smaller indie houses popping up, and while the meetup groups have opened the doors to communication, it is a challenge for years of ingrained “you shall not discuss” mentalities to wash away overnight, and this is where the biggest challenge rests, followed closely by industry association support, government interest and startup funding opportunities. While there has been some positive industry press coverage from outlets such as the Vancouver Sun and the Georgia Straight, not many of the buying public really understand what game development is all about because they don’t watch shows like Electric Playground or Reviews On The Run. They don’t read sites like ours or Canadian Online Gamers or TechVibes. They see the press coverage about studio closings and controversial game content. They see the coverage whenever there is a crime committed somewhere in the world and immediately people want to know if the playing of violent video games had a hand in it, but how many really know about the contribution our game developers have made, and still make, to the global culture and the tech world at large?

    These are some of the areas that were poked at last evening, with many excellent suggestions made, issues identified and a feeling that maybe now the BC industry can unite itself and work with its industry association on becoming the force it is meant to be (watch the video for full conversations). Going back to my mention of the “old guys’ club” – we cannot ignore the values and experiences the city’s development industry has gained from the legacy studios – the ones who put the Triple A stamp on Vancouver all those many years ago when the game industry was but a dot on the economic map. Without their pioneering the way and building the industry outwards with each cycle of lay-offs and downsizing, we wouldn’t have the foundation that we do today – it is an unfortunate reality that the majority of the legacy studios are no longer locally owned, and as was pointed out at the opening of the Town Hall, there exists a very real “build a company and sell it” mentality that should be looked at more closely.

    As Victor Lucas pointed out last night, our developers should be damned proud of what they do and the contributions they make to society, but you all need to learn to speak up and be heard – be heard by the government, the investors, the educators, the buying public and those who dismiss you as nothing more than toy makers. I know different. Victor knows different – many of your local media personnel know different – but how easy do you make it for us to talk about you and what you do? Certainly there needs to be that barrier of confidentiality as you work on proprietary IP projects, but if we industry insiders don’t know what you’ve done or what you’re doing, how do you expect anyone else to know and understand? You need to speak to the public more often than to build hype for an upcoming release. How interactive are you with your end users? Do you use social media to your advantage? What is your product support like? We have a project that has been in development for over a year that will help you achieve some of the above, but we need serious web coding help we can’t afford, so we are slowly working out the problems on our own. We’re only one year behind schedule. Maybe we’ll be ready next year. We are not in a position to incorporate, thereby being able to apply for Canada Media Fund programs, and we can’t afford the project rates offered by the Centre for Digital Media or BCIT, so we muddle along as best we can – the same as many of you.

    Speaking of affordability and growth, there was extensive talk during the town hall about the benefits and pitfalls of tax credits – the fact that they are there (or not there), the fact that one size does not fit all, their merit and their hindrance. Some tax credits work, some do not. Some feel that they need to be bigger, some do not. I personally feel that the best mix may be a combination of startup programs from all levels – within industry itself, within the investment community, government and the public. We are a creative group – why can we not work together to find a creative solution that is scalable and beneficial to many, instead of to the “privileged few” who always seem to be feeding from the trough, for the lack of a better term – and that is not really how I want to phrase the meaning I am trying to convey, but the right words are out in orbit somewhere. More caffeine.

    It will be no easy task to bridge the gap between “The Mother Ship” as many have referred to EA Canada, and the other Triple A houses owned by foreign publishers, and the localized independent community. The same could probably hold true for those independent house developing licensed IP as opposed to proprietary IP – but a bridge must be found and solutions to problems faced by BC’s development community found. When it’s all said and done, I am still a veritable outsider, and I readily admit I do not know about all the ins and outs of the industry, and I certainly cannot keep up on the interchanges going on between industry here, in Toronto, Quebec or elsewhere in Canada. I can only relay what my observations are, and what my take-away from last evening was. There will always be regional interests at the heart of the matter, but we have to unite not only our local communities, we have to unite as a country.

    One of my marketing mantras when promoting the Canadian digital media industry sectors is that I would love to see the outside world outsourcing to Canada. I would love to see our own industry outsourcing to itself whenever the need arises. I have, at times, been criticized for having a site named Village Gamer when it’s not just about games. It did start out that way, but I got so frustrated trying to source out news to post every day that I branched out – and looking back, it was the right thing for me to do because now if you are reading this site correctly and making use of the information I share, you will sit back and say “wow, I didn’t know there was a Canadian company doing that” or “gee, that was made in Canada?” – why ARE you contracting with outside companies when we usually have the resources right here at home?  Are you doing your part to support your own community as both a business and a consumer? Yes, I will admit, I am a “buy local” kind of person. Very few of the games I play are developed outside of our borders, and the one MMO-RPG PC game I do play was developed in Seattle, and Canadians are employed by that particular studio. In case you didn’t know – I am a core console gamer first, followed by handheld, followed by mobile, followed by PC.

    So, going back to the original thought I started a few minutes ago – what will happen if and when the possibilities and realities of tax credits, grants and subsidies goes away? Will this industry be able to stand on its own? It’s a competitive world out there. Have you positioned your company in such a way that your product is a valuable commodity to the buyers of the world? We are experiencing a minor hiccup in BC that could easily turn into a major eruption if this industry does not mature and open its doors to change. You all need to embrace each other – as much for your similarities as for your differences. We need to work with government and financiers not only for the financial and economic challenges we are facing, but also for the talent shortfall so many of you spoke about at the meeting. People are once again leaving BC for other parts. Creative talent is a mobile asset; the government made an announcement today about enhancements to education in regards to trade. Will any of those enhancements apply to education and training in the digital media or technology fields or will it all go to traditional careers in the service, building and resource fields? Are we remembering to work with other creative sectors and associations? Game development is not the only industry in this town. As digital entertainment and interactivity melds and molds itself into a transmedia sector, it is probably a good idea to have a few friends in those other sectors. Just sayin’.

    The previously-posed questions I asked in the above paragraph opens the door to another point – if the legacy studios in Vancouver gave us the talent and training to move onward in the indie world, what is the indie world going to leave as its legacy? You have so much to offer – not just to the end user, but to the future generations of creatively technical minds. This goes beyond working with the post secondary schools – this goes to our high schools and even our elementary schools. What can industry do to catch those young people before our industrial revolution style of education drains the creativity out of them? Are you taking opportunities to participate in school events? Are you talking to government about the need for more diversity in the career programs offered at our schools – one program that is a huge success is the Digital Media Academy at Argyle Secondary in North Vancouver. Every single secondary in the province should have this style of program available. Not every student is cut out for a traditional career, so why are we only offering those types of programs? Has there been any kind of dialogue begun with the Education Ministry? Are there programs in place in our post-secondary schools to teach the teachers of future generations – are we giving those who aspire to teach the tools they need to keep up with a rapidly changing world and to inspire the talent currently working its way through kindergarten and the primary grades? What are we doing in the here and now to prepare our kids for the knowledge and creative-based careers that are available to them?

    We have to find a way to make this community accessible to one and all – and I am speaking about the industry beyond the borders of downtown Vancouver. Be inclusive – there are great things going on around this province. There are programs in other regions that work. Not everyone can make it to downtown Vancouver for an 8 a.m. seminar. Not everyone can make it to downtown Vancouver for an afternoon or evening event, either. Not everyone can afford to attend conferences and seminars or join a trade association or special interest group or go on trade missions in foreign countries. The barriers to entry in regards to product and market may be lower than it used to be, but what are the barriers to involvement? The key to this province’s success is going to be in unity and inclusion for the whole province, not just those in the downtown core. It is going to be in all of the associations and programs working together whenever possible, in the pooling of resources, in the making light of a huge task with the help of many hands through communication and organization.

    The development industry needs to stop hiding and wringing its hands. I have seen what the people in this industry can accomplish when they come together, and no one can convey what is needed with the proper insights better than those of you who work in the industry. I can observe, I can hold conversations, I can promote what you do, but I cannot speak to the every day inner workings of what you need to grow and thrive. BC has so much potential to be on top as a creative hub – you used to be number one, and you can be again. Do not let the momentum of Tuesday night’s conversation go silent. It is not going to be easy. It is not going to happen overnight or even over a fortnight. It is going to take effort, it is going to take co-operation and the leaving of egos at the door. It is going to take changing your ways – to become outspoken extroverts who have every right to shout to the world that you are here (insert Horton Hears A Who scene here) and that you matter. You matter to the economy, you matter to the entertainment world, and you matter to the global community. Now what are you going to do about it?

     September 20, 2012
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    DENVER and VANCOUVER – August 24, 2016 – Cologix, a network neutral interconnection and data centre company, announced today that it has successfully completed and commissioned a major expansion to its VAN2 data centre located at 1050 W. Pender St in...

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    DENVER and VANCOUVER – August 24, 2016 – Cologix, a network neutral interconnection and data centre company, announced today that it has successfully completed and commissioned a major expansion to its VAN2 data centre located at 1050 W. Pender St in downtown Vancouver. Customers have immediate access to up to 750kW of new, high density data centre capacity. Local Vancouver businesses have already signed to occupy 25% of the expansion space.

    “Technology is a primary driver of Vancouver’s economic growth, with the industry relying on the availability of high quality data centres and interconnection services,” explains Sean Elbe, manager of tech sector development at the Vancouver Economic Commission. “Cologix’s expansion will deliver infrastructure resiliency and enhanced access to service providers within Vancouver, increasing the city’s competitive advantages for local tech businesses.”

    A large and growing set of customers, including local businesses and international brands, validate that Cologix’s VAN2 data centre is the most advanced and resilient in the market. The expansion includes the same chimney-based hot air containment system as deployed in the first phase, which allows for power densities in excess of 10kW per cabinet. Customers also have neutral access to 40+ network service and cloud service providers to future proof their IT deployments.

    “Vancouver has been one of Cologix’s fastest growing markets,” notes Grant van Rooyen, chief executive officer, Cologix. “We are proud of the role we play to help facilitate connections within the technology ecosystem in Vancouver and look forward to continued investment in the market.”

    For more information or to request a tour, please contact


    About Cologix Inc.

    Cologix provides reliable, secure, scalable data centre and interconnection solutions from 24 prime interconnection locations across 9 strategic North American edge markets. Over 1,600 leading network, managed services, cloud, media, content, financial services and enterprise customers trust  Cologix to support their business critical infrastructure and connect them to customers, vendors and partners. Our dedicated, experienced local teams and scalable solutions enable us to provide industry-leading customer service and the ability to successfully support customers at the Internet’s new edge.

    For a tour of one of our data centres in Columbus, Dallas, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Minneapolis, Montreal, New Jersey, Toronto or Vancouver visit or email

    Follow Cologix on LinkedIn and Twitter.

     August 24, 2016
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    Vancouver is quickly establishing itself as a digital media mecca in Canada.

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    Vancouver is quickly establishing itself as a digital media mecca in Canada.

    The bustling West Coast city contains most of the province's digital media industry, which is home to more than 22,000 workers in BC, according to industry association data. This industry accounts for a quarter of all tech jobs in the province.

    Specifically in Vancouver, over 1,000 jobs have been created and roughly a dozen companies have moved into the city in just the past four years, according to the Vancouver Economic Commission. And up to 700 more jobs are expected within the next year alone.

    KPMG estimates that there are approximately 900 digital media companies in BC and that they generate roughly $1.2 billion (and growing) in revenue per year.


    June 25, 2012

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    Silicon Valley-based Kiip is opening its first Canadian office, according to job listings just posted online. Kiip's office, founded by Canadian entrepreneur Brian Wong, is slated to be located in Vancouver. The job listings suggest that the office will focus on engineering and research and development.

    There are four listings posted by Kiip:

    • Front End Engineer

    • Infrastructure Engineer

    • Systems Engineer

    • Web Engineer

    Our sources indicate that this Vancouver office is intended to be a permanent fixture in the Vancouver scene and that the office members will initially all be assigned to a specific project Kiip is working on. The office is expected to open this fall in the Gastown area, sources say.

    We reached out to Wong, who said that "it's really exciting to be having a chance to open up an office in my hometown."

    "I believe the technical talent [in Vancouver] is top notch," he added.

    Wong also noted that he's excited to "finally give people another option other than HootSuite to spread their wings in a tech company."

    Via TechVibes, July 19th
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    Ask any social media marketer and they’ll tell you that brand advocates and earned media are the holy grail of social media...

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    Ask any social media marketer and they’ll tell you that brand advocates and earned media are the holy grail of social media marketing. YUPIQ recognizes this value and created a social media promotions platform that increases sales and brand awareness by rewarding customers for sharing videos, links and special offers with their friends. Users who promote brands on Facebook, Twitter and email can receive rewards and offers for their efforts.

    The YUPIQ plugin for HootSuite allows marketers to share gifts and offers to brand advocates right from the HootSuite dashboard. It also lets them refer the same gift to a limited number of friends. Start rewarding your community today!

     December 11, 2012
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    Vancouver's video game industry has been bleeding talent for several months now, but that trend appears to have reversed with the...

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    Vancouver's video game industry has been bleeding talent for several months now, but that trend appears to have reversed with the arrival of Black Tusk Studios.

    Radical Entertainment and Rockstar Games both shuttered their Vancouver digs over the summer. But Microsoft Studios' Black Tusk operation, which will focus on Triple A games—the video game equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster—should restore the city's reputation as a hub for game development in Canada.

    "We are talking big budget, big team, long development timeline and very, very big projects that take a number of years to get through," studio manager Mike Crump told The Province.

    The studio will be located in Vancouver's trendy and upscale Yaletown neighbourhood, specifically on the corner of Robson and Cambie.

    Black Tusk Studios will employ 50 people off the bat, with plans to double that number to 100 as soon as possible. Crump says the studio is looking as "exponential growth" throughout 2013.

    "We believe in Vancouver very strongly and that is one of the key things we want to get out there," he told the daily newspaper. "Some of the world's biggest game franchises were created here and that is not going to change going forward."

    Via Techvibes

     November 29, 2012
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    Via Vancouver Sun

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    Via Vancouver Sun

    The owls at HootSuite are starting to chat.

    In its latest move to lead the growing market in social media management, the Vancouver start-up behind the wide-eyed owl logo has expanded its social media dashboard to add real time online chat.

    Fittingly, the company, which has become the darling of private investors and counts among its clients such high-profile social networkers as the White House and Fortune 100 companies, announced the new service today, midway through Vancouver’s Social Media Week.

    HootSuite Conversations launched in beta today and will be available to HootSuite’s nearly five million users around the globe.

    Besides giving HootSuite users a way to connect with anyone on their network via chat, the new Conversations lets companies’ teams and employee groups create their own online chat networks on their HootSuite dashboard, in effect giving them a back channel where they can share views and information without having to resort to email.

    “One of the things we’re seeing as a trend is a need for organizations to work together more effectively,” said HootSuite chief executive Ryan Holmes. “Conversations is a tool to help people collaborate more effectively and we’re excited about it.”

    Today’s release is the latest in a string of announcements from HootSuite, which recently bought another social media platform — San Francisco-based Seesmic. Earlier this year, HootSuite saw an injection of $20 million in an equity stake by the Canadian venture capital firm OMERS Ventures, in what amounted to one of the largest venture capital investments in Canada over the past decade.

    HootSuite, which offers a “freemium” model that monetizes about 3.5 per cent of its five million users, has been the subject of acquisition rumours, but so far it seem Holmes is content to turn away the suitors.

    Asked if he still holds to his earlier plans to build a billion-dollar company in Vancouver, Holmes said: “Absolutely. We are going to continue moving ahead with building up the company. We are getting close to making an announcement on space and a new office location. We are absolutely committed to building out in Vancouver. We’re well on track for that.”

    Read more:
     September 26, 2012
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    Vancouver, B.C. – Attracting some of the best minds in digital design and media just got easier with the launch of the new Centre for Digital Media at Great Northern Way Campus (GNWC). The Centre for Digital Media has been occupied since August 20, 2012 but celebrates its official launch on September 21.

    The 51,000-sq. ft. building combines social, learning and student residential space for the Masters of Digital Media (MDM) program. Located next to the existing Centre on the False Creek Flats, adjacent to Great Northern Way, the mixed-use facility provides state-of-the-art classrooms and studios, along with three floors (76 units) of student designated rental housing. The building meets LEED Gold certification.
    “This incredible facility is the new home of the next generation of digital media leaders,” said MDM Director Dr. Richard Smith. “Every time I enter this building I feel like I step into the future; a future created by the highly skilled graduates of our digital media school.” 
    As a purpose-built digital media hub, the new facility marks a major step in fulfilling GNWC's vision to bring academia, industry, and the local community together in Vancouver. The site is a collaborative mix of campus and commercial activities, jointly owned by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
    Said Dr. Smith: “This new building is a catalyst to make Great Northern Way Campus a central piece of Vancouver and British Columbia’s digital economy. I think I can safely say, having seen the excitement on the faces of our students, we are off to a great start. We are fortunate to have the ongoing support of the local community, the provincial government and the City of Vancouver on this project and we are very grateful for that.”
    The Masters of Digital Media program was established in September 2007 with an inaugural cohort of 21 students; over 120 students have since graduated. MDM alumni are engaged in industry as producers, managers, creators and lead designers, using MDM acquired skills to benefit the digital media community. The program attracts students around British Columbia and the world, and in five short years has seen many graduates experience success in the digital media industry. For more information on the MDM program, please visit 

     September 21, 2012
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    The Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) is developing a new online portal for media entrepreneurs and start-ups, accelerators and...

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    The Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) is developing a new online portal for media entrepreneurs and start-ups, accelerators and SMEs active in the digital economy.

    The CDMN’s new initiative seeks to organize as much information, research and data from private industry, non-profit organizations and government agencies about the country’s digital media sector as possible, and archive it in one accessible location.

    As part of its drive – dubbed the Moonshot -- to “do anything online” by 2017, the CDMN says the information collection is needed to build collaboration and commercialization of innovative ideas in information and communication technology.

    The Moonshot goals were tabled at CDMN's Canada 3.0 Digital Media Forum, an industry event that brought together industry, government and academic participants.

    Identified so far have been five key targets:

    * Access to talent, including the digital skills and talent required to meet these rapidly evolving needs;

    * Access to financial capital and investments required for technology and business growth; 

    * Connectivity for Canadians of any financial status and geographic location;

    * Mobilizing digital content, from ensuring Canadian content is accessible to realizing commercialization opportunities created through content development or management; and

    * Productivity improvements through the adoption of digital media technologies and the infrastructure to support it.

    CDMN has also launched its Canada 3.0 2013 SoapBox, created by HitSend, a start-up incubated at Toronto’s Ryerson Digital Media Zone, a digital media incubator and CDMN partner.

    Using SoapBox, site visitors can offer, gather and share ideas, which can be voted on by other users using a simple click of a thumbs up or thumbs down icon

    Via: MediaCaster ( Aug 29, 2012

     August 29, 2012
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    Via TechVibes

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    Via TechVibes

    This morning Vancouver-based Vision Critical announced that they have received a $20 million investment from OMERS Ventures.

    This is the third large investment for OMERS Ventures in Vancouver this year.

    In March they made big news with a surprising $20 million injection into HootSuite and in June they invested $16 million in BuildDirect.

    Providing cutting-edge market research to its clients, Vision Critical has become the global leader in online community panels-a category that is revolutionizing the industry worldwide. Vision Critical will use the investment from OMERS Ventures to expand its product lines, support infrastructure, and further execute its global growth plans.

    "Demand for strategic customer and market research is surging, and online community panels are already established as the key to unlocking the tremendous power of the internet as a tool for two-way communications with consumers," said Vision Critical Chairman Angus Reid. "OMERS Ventures is strongly aligned with Vision Critical, sharing our entrepreneurial nature, aggressive growth strategy and long-term vision for the future of the market research industry."

    Founded in 2000, Vision Critical now has more than 600 clients including one-third of the top global brands using its community panel technology platform and research services.

     August 28, 2012
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    Posted by  see more Posted by Techvibes Newsdesk on 2012-08-24 4:04:00 PM
    "We have one of the worst looking sites on the planet."

    When you imagine an entrepreneur uttering these words, you probably envision them saying it with a mix of shame and embarrassment. But what if it came from a highly successful entrepreneur who confessed it—no, delcared it—casually, almost proudly, for all the world to hear? 

    That's exactly what happened yesterday at the Grow 2012 Conference, where Cheezeburger CEO Ben Huh emphasized product and data over design.

    "We confuse good design with good product," Ben explained to the audience. He argues that the best-selling cars are not Ferraris, they're Ford Focuses. And this theory applies to the web as well: consider Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, and early versions of Facebook. They were—and some still are—decidedly ugly, but still became wildly successfuly and exalted by consumers.

    DON'T MISS more tips from Grow 2012: how to raise money from strangers.

    More valuable than good design, Ben suggests, is data. 

    “What we’ve built at Cheezburger is to create a team of people whose sole focus is to get data,” he said. “We’ve built a company that is driven by data.” While his first argument isn't waterproof, this one is: the world's most successful tech companies, such as Google, know how important it is to collect as much data as possible from their users (legally, of course… usually). And the rest of the companies know how insightful it is to observe this data.

    Photo: VentureBeat

     August 27, 2012
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    Yesterday Vancouver startup Playerize 

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    Yesterday Vancouver startup Playerize tweeted an intriguing message: "Playerize is to startups as Jack Bauer is to mortals. Write that down".


    Turns out where there is smoke, there is fire.

    Today Playerize announced they have entered into an agreement to acquire SuperRewards, the Vancouver-born pioneer of virtual currency for social and mobile games. According to their blog they will be acquiring SuperRewards from its original founder Jason Bailey.

    Founded in 2007 by Jason Bailey and Eugene Kaidalov, SuperRewards was bootstrapped from zero to a $100 million run rate to exit, all in 18 months. The company was acquired in 2009 by Adknowledge for a rumored $50 million.

    Bailey recently reaquired SuperRewards from Adknowledge and is selling it to Playerize.

    Playerize was co-founded by Lyal Avery and Jeff Magnusson in 2011 and was the shining star of FounderFuel's inuagural accelerator cohort in Montreal.

    They returned to Vancouver with a $1.1 million series A round. So it's safe to say that the price tag for the 2012 version SuperRewards was a fraction of the price Adknowledge paid just three years ago.

    "The platform has undergone a lot of growth and improvement and there is a tremendous opportunity in the mobile and social game monetization space and we are extremely proud and excited,” said Lyal Avery, co-founder of Playerize.

    The SuperRewards team and products will operate from offices in both Vancouver and San Francisco. Jason Bailey will be joining Playerize's board as Chairman.

    "We just hit our tipping point," adds Lyal. "This is a huge day for us."

     August 17, 2012
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    BC's video game industry is in constant flux.

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    BC's video game industry is in constant flux.

    One week longstanding studios are shuttering orpacking up and moving to Ontario. The next week San Francisco's hottest mobile game developer is opening an studio in Vancouver.

    While there is no doubt that the gaming industry is important to the Canadian economy, many are beginning to wonder where B.C. fits in the mix.

    DigiBC is hoping to shed some light on the topic with an upcoming panel titled The State of the Video Game Industry in BC. Moderated by DigiBC's Howard Donaldson, the panel will include a number of local gaming executives.

    Vancouver has been one of the top video game clusters in the world, with the presence of major publishers, such as EA, Nintendo, THQ, Vivendi/Activision, Disney and Microsoft, but it's leadership is now being eroded. For such a talented province as BC, what’s going on? And what does this mean for the future of the gaming industry in BC? Does our BC tax credit policy need to be more competitive?

    Microsoft Studios' Wil Mozell, EA's John Lutz, Silicon Sisters' Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, and Zeros 2 Heroes' Matt Toner will discuss the state of the industry, outline how studios are being affected, what is being done behind the scene and most importantly capture your views and opinions on the future of B.C.’s video game industry.

    The State of the Video Game Industry in BC is on September 18 at the Vancouver Rowing Club. Register online to attend and in the meantime weigh-in with your thoughts on our video game industry in the comments.

    Rob Lewis, TechVibes

     August 15, 2012
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    Vancouver will soon host Canada’s first video game-themed restaurant as Brian Vidovic’s 

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    Vancouver will soon host Canada’s first video game-themed restaurant as Brian Vidovic’s EXP Restaurant and Barapproaches its opening day.

    It’s a project that Vidovic has long dreamed of making a reality, and has fought hard to develop in its Pender St. location for the past two years.

    Initial struggles to acquire permits delayed the original opening date of autumn 2011—creating a restaurant and bar of his scale requires permits and licenses that can take many months to acquire. The LCLB has two potential liquor licenses available to new businesses; one, a liquor-primary license, is not being dispensed by the City of Vancouver. The other, a food-primary license, is far more common, and far more in line with the prerogatives of Vidovic’s business.

    It was this license that his business was awarded earlier this week. Once it’s opened, the venue will be host to indie meetups, local gaming events, and countless lovers and supporters of gaming culture.

    The one thing it can’t host is actual video games.

    For the past six months, Vidovic has found himself fighting a skirmish in the war that the Rio Theatre began against the province as he struggles to provide his future clientele with consoles to enjoy on premises.  The LCLB enforces laws that have been mostly unaltered since their creation upon the repeal of prohibition.

    As movie theatres and arcades were at one point the haunts of bootleggers, they were forbidden to provide liquor. Now nearly a century later, Vancouver businesses have begun to speak out against the code as it stands. Vidovic speaks out more stridently than most due to what he claims is unfair treatment. He will open without video games, but he will not give up the pursuit. I asked him if there was any way at all that video games were possible for the EXP Bar in a coffee shop not far from the restaurant’s Pender and Hamilton St location.

    “If I provide consoles, totally not possible. If other people were to bring them in, only not possible on our license, but doable anywhere else in the city,” Vidovic explains. “I asked them if I could set up video games. So what they’re saying is ‘Don’t be honest, ever, and you’ll get what you want.’ And I wanted to be an honest businessman."

    "The fact is that there is no policy specifically for sit-down video games, so they’ve been lumped in with card and board games, where they’re permitted so long as they don’t divert the focus from the food," he adds. "They argue that video games will divert—but it’s not as though they will be diverted towards liquor instead. They’ll just be distracted with their game, which is all I want to provide them with.”

    Vidovic has reached out to MP Jenny Kwan to bring the matter to Minister Rich Coleman’s attention. News has not yet returned from the capital.

    Here in Vancouver the restaurant has been embraced by the gaming community; custom Xbox 360 controllers have been designed by, and their June Indiegogo campaign earned the business over $61,000. There’s a petition here with 4,500 signatures thus far to protest the LCLB video game restrictions.

    “For me, it’s bigger than ‘I want to play videogames,'" says Vidovic. "I want to legitimize our industry as an art form: if you can have movies and tv and UFC up on a screen, then we need to have video games. I’m really stubborn. It’s not something I’m going to drop without a fight.”

    Vidovic speaks for entrepreneurs across the world when he says, “I just want to open my business to the true vision that it should be.”

    However and whenever it opens, gaming Vancouverites have much to look forward to.

     August 14, 2012
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    TinyCo, a San Francisco based developer and operator of popular mobile games such as Tiny Monsters, Tiny Village, and Tiny Zoo Friends, announced today that it is opening a new studio in Vancouver to expand its development of mobile games.

    Backed by an $18 million investment led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, TinyCo is looking to broaden its team of high-caliber engineers, designers, and artists who are passionate about gaming on mobile platforms.

    "We are thrilled to be bringing TinyCo to Canada," says Laurie Deneschuk of TinyCo. "The wealth of top talent and strong community make Vancouver the perfect place for us to continue to grow.  We see a great opportunity to further cultivate our winning culture, infrastructure, and creative there.  It was an easy choice already, but it didn’t hurt that I originally hail from Saskatchewan."

    Founded in 2009, TinyCo was named one of Pocketgamer’s top 50 developers in 2012 and has been highlighted as one of the first game developers to understand how to be successful with freemium monetization models on Android. Despite its rapid growth, TinyCo keeps its startup mentality, where people have a direct impact on not just the products they are working on, but the way the company operates as a whole.

    If you're interested in working for Vancouver's newest game studio, check out their job opportunities on the Techvibes Job Board.

     August 13, 2012