PlayFirst Inc. today announced the launch of DOGGIE DASH, a new time-management game set in a busy pet spa and based on the wildly popular DINER DASH series. Developed by Viqua Games, DOGGIE DASH is available now for both Mac and PC download at www.playfirst.com/.
Microsoft Corp. has announced it will start selling a cheaper version of the Xbox 360 in Japan, reports the AP. This is the same bare-bones version that began selling in the U.S. late last year. The low-price-tagged Xbox will hit stores March 6 for approximately $260. The move is a way for Microsoft to compete against the more popular Japanese products, the Wii from Nintendo and PlayStation 3 from Sony.
ADV Films is releasing the first volume of DEVIL MAY CRY and the second volume of MAGIKANO on DVD Feb. 5, 2008.
MAGIKANO: WITCH HUNT is the second of three DVD volumes. Produced by Studio GONZO (WELCOME TO THE NHK, CHRONO CRUSADE) and directed by Seiji Kishi (RAGNAROK THE ANIMATION), MAGIKANO is a comedy that follows witch Ayumi, whose goal is to turn Haruo into a real man, but a bumbling witch hunter keeps getting in the way.
TUROK: SON OF STONE charges onto DVD for the first time February 5 from Genius Products and Classic Media. Presented by The Weinstein Co., this Gold Key production draws on the original 1950s comic book series, as well as influences ranging from Frank Miller to Akira Kurosawa, to create a dark, intense, epic reimagining of Turok's origin story.
MAXON Computer's BodyPaint 3D will be the focus of a comprehensive Visual Arts Track at the 2008 Game Developers Conference (GDC). BodyPaint 3D was most recently tapped by artists at Naughty Dog to help create the hit game UNCHARTED: DRAKE'S FORTUNE.
Sony Pictures Television's The Minisode Network has launched a new animation block on YouTube (www.youtube.com/MinisodeNetwork). The network features four- to six-minute versions of popular animated series, such as SPIDER-MAN, DILBERT, VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE and THE KARATE KID.
This week's installments include Spidey's battle with Electro on SPIDER-MAN; the ultimate search for Voltron on VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE; Lena's office transgression with Dogbert on DILBERT; and Daniel and Miyagi's adventures in Hong Kong on THE KARATE KID.
iTunes has refused to carry two animated short films that were screened at Sundance and were invited to be part of the festival's online shorts program, Nancy Denney-Phelps reports on her blog Sprockets (sprockets.animationblogspot.com). Signe Bauman's TEAT BEAT OF SEX and BECAUSE WASHINGTON IS HOLLYWOOD FOR UGLY PEOPLE, by Kenneth Ti and Kin Hung, were rejected by the online store for being, respectively, too explicit and too political.
Gameloft has introduced BATTLE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE, a new mobile game that spoofs the current 2008 presidential elections.
The title allows players to assume the roles of the leading candidates, Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards; and Republicans Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney as they square off against one another in completely re-imagined ways.
2008s presidential hopefuls face such challenges as:
* Boxing -- a new way to debate as candidates lace on the gloves to settle debates the old-fashioned way
The big winners in Media & Ent. at the Imagina Awards 2008, announced Thursday at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, were RATATOUILLE for Best Feature, OKTAPODI from Gobelins l'Ecole for Best Animation, DJI VOU VEU VOLTI (I LOVE YOU) from Belgium for Best Short, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END for Best Special Effects, Smirnoff SEA for Best Commercial, Harmonix ROCK BAND for Best Videogame and CAMERA OBSCURA of Supinfocom Valenciennes took the Jury Special Prize.
The Media & Ent. winners were:
* Best Animation
The Girls Entertainment Network (GEN) has launched the GirlsEntertainmentNetwork.com beta website. GEN is a community created by an all-female staff where both males and females can discuss topics related to female-focused videogames, anime, comics, gadgets, cosplay and all things considered modern pop culture.
Brash Ent. is working closely with Vanguard Animation and Starz Media to develop a videogame based on this summer's animated feature SPACE CHIMPS, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The game is being developed for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Wii and DS.
Produced by John H. Williams and Barry Sonnenfeld, the film is set for release by Fox on July 18th. The story follows Ham, a curious circus chimp, who leads a group of chimps on a space mission to a strange new planet. SNL's Andy Samberg is voicing Ham.
Mark Cranwell has been named Director of Content Acquisition for Babelgum, the next-generation global Internet TV network, it was announced today. In the newly created position, Cranwell will be responsible for leading Babelgum's outreach efforts to producers, filmmakers and content creators in support of the new platform's content strategy. He will report directly to Simon Kenny, Babelgum's Head of Content Strategy and Advertising, in the company's London operation.
Sony Computer Ent. America Inc. (SCEA) announced today the April 17 North American ship date for GRAN TURISMO 5 PROLOGUE, available exclusively on PlayStation 3. Developed by Polyphony Digital Inc., GRAN TURISMO 5 PROLOGUE will be available for $39.99 on Blu-ray Disc and as a download via PlayStation Store. The BD version will feature an exclusive behind-the-scenes High Definition (HD) video feature called BEYOND THE APEX.
The Jim Henson Co. has partnered with New Video, a leading digital aggregator of independent video content, to bring favorites from the company's TV programming and feature film library to the iTunes Store beginning Jan. 28, 2008. The launch will begin with episodes from the first seasons of the award-winning sci-fi series FARSCAPE and the endearing favorite FRAGGLE ROCK. TV shows are $1.99 (U.S.) per episode, and music videos and short films are $1.99 (U.S.) each. Both the FRAGGLE ROCK and the FARSCAPE series will be available in their entirety in the coming months.
ReelTime.com, the video-on-demand Internet television network, announced at NATPE that it has entered into an agreement with Nelvana Enterprises for the VOD rights to episodes from its extensive kids content library.
Nelvana is known for its library of well-loved classics, such as RUPERT, BABAR, FRANKLIN, ROLIE POLIE OLIE, and THE BERENSTAIN BEARS. Its shows have won over 70 major international awards and have been broadcast in over 160 countries.
VIZ Media has announced the availability of three of its most popular animated action series -- NARUTO UNCUT, DEATH NOTE and BLEACH -- for digital download from Amazon Unbox, Amazon's digital video download service. This service can be found at www.amazon.com/unbox.
Habbo and World Wrestling Ent. have teamed up to promote WWE's annual Royal Rumble in the Habbo virtual world. Though the actual Royal Rumble doesn't take place until Jan. 27, live on pay-per-view, the action on Habbo.com started earlier this week.
This week Nintendo is launching ENDLESS OCEAN for Wii, a game that lets users discover a vast undersea adventure at their own pace. It's like a virtual scuba vacation in the tropics that includes interaction with hundreds of different animal species, relaxing swims through coral reefs and exploratory dives on wrecks of ships and warplanes. With the game's intuitive controls and beautiful underwater visuals, every member of the family will want a chance to dive in.
Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound were nominated for six Academy Awards this morning. For the third year in a row, ILM pulled in two of the three vfx nomination spots with TRANSFORMERS and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END. Skywalker Sound also dominated the sound nominations taking three of the five slots in Sound Editing for their work on THERE WILL BE BLOOD, TRANSFORMERS and RATATOUILLE, which also received another nomination in the Sound Mixing category.
Autodesk and Electronic Arts have introduced a new project design workshop for Canada's first Masters for Digital Media (MDM) program at Great Northern Way Campus in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As part of the 20-month MDM program, the workshop will equip students with techniques to plan and manage digital media projects in their academic and professional careers.
At the Digital, Life, Design Conference (DLD) in Munich, Electronic Arts unveiled BATTLEFIELD HEROES, an all-new Play 4 Free cartoon-style shooter. Available for download at www.battlefield-heroes.com this summer, BATTLEFIELD HEROES is EA's first title that is offered completely for free, and features a built-in matchmaking system to ensure that players of equal skill are paired for fair play. Developed by DICE in Stockholm, BATTLEFIELD HEROES is leading EA's new web-focused free-to-download, free-to-play business model, which generates revenue through advertising and micro-transactions.
Mobile media company Player X has been appointed by Virgin Mobile UK as its official aggregator for all its mobile games and video content. Player X will sign up all games, as well as video partners, on behalf of Virgin Mobile UK and execute all portal management including encoding, QA and deployment, as well as promoting the content across all platforms. Under the terms of the deal, Player X will source all entertainment and adult comedy mobile video content, as well as choosing games content for the Virgin Mobile portal from its range of content suppliers.
Atari Inc. announced that DRAGON BALL Z: BURST LIMIT is in development for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The next-gen title is being developed by Namco Bandai Games Inc. and is slated for a 2008 release.
DRAGON BALL Z: BURST LIMIT will feature online battles and advanced 3D graphic effects. The immensely popular DRAGON BALL Z series features more than 30 different games, with over 11 million units sold since May 2002. For more information, visit www.atari.com/dragonballz.
PBS is opening the beta test for a new Internet-based educational service designed to provide children 3-6 with a comprehensive early childhood curriculum. PBS KIDS PLAY!, which will be offered as a subscription service later this calendar quarter, uses interactive games and activities to provide a personalized learning experience at home. The PBS KIDS PLAY! Beta is currently available as a download from www.pbskidsplay.org and requires a high-speed Internet connection to use.