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.
GDH K.K. has announced that GONZO Rosso K.K., its online game operation company, will start service of RAN Online in the Vietnamese market via its subsidiary GoldSky Access Sdn. Bhd.
Chuck Dages, who oversees Emerging Technology for Warner Bros., has been shifted from Technical Operations to Warner Bros. Home Ent. Group. He retains the title of EVP and continues to have oversight of Motion Picture Imaging (the studio's postproduction facility for film mastering, restoration and digital imaging for movies and television) and the Advanced Media Editorial department (which prepares feature films for distribution on airlines, cable networks and broadcast television).
Sundance Institute and Sundance Channel announced today the program of 2008 Sundance Film Festival short films that will be available for free on www.sundance.org/watch and for sale on the iTunes Store, Netflix and Xbox 360. Premiering Jan. 18 and running all 10 days of the festival, the films will be shown one at a time for 24 hours.
ADV Films presents three new titles for Jan. 15, including volume two of VENUS VERSUS VIRUS, the third volume of XENOSAGA, and the massive GET BACKERS Seasons 1 & 2 Collection.
From veteran director Shinichiro Kimura (MABURAHO, BURN UP EXCESS) and the production team at Studio Hibari (NERIMA DAIKON BROTHERS) comes VENUS VERSUS VIRUS: EPIDEMIC, which first aired on Japanese television in Jan. 2007.
CartoonResource.com is providing a central Internet location for comic strip fans, collectors and professional communicators to find what they need. CartoonResource.com provides online access to all cartoons and comics: single-panel and strip syndicated comics; cutting-edge teen and children's comics; political cartoons; manga comics; and animated feature stills.
Also, CartoonResource.com has partnered with IllustrationBase to offer an exhaustive illustration database for those who want a quick, simple way to search the vastness of the Web for the perfect illustration.
MGM will launch a full promotional campaign for the hit reality show AMERICAN GLADIATORS, including a cartoon series being developed with Flor-Jon Films Inc. The media blitz also includes a broadband website that will pay homage to the original series and a special U.S. cross-city tour.
"The new series and multimedia promotional campaign truly fulfills my dream and vision for AMERICAN GLADIATORS," said Johnny Ferraro, Flor-Jon owner and creator of the original series. "It's truly exciting to see the GLADIATORS franchise grow and continue to succeed on all levels."
Hip-hop artists from the U.S., U.K., Japan and Europe have collaborated on a one-off music video to protest the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. The video was released today online, with additional broadcasts planned for other cross-channel digital media platforms.
Vicon Ent.'s Los Angeles-based House of Moves has launched a new state-of-the art motion-capture studio at the University of Central Florida on the grounds of the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, UCF's graduate video-game development school. The 3,500-square-foot studio, one of the largest on the East Coast, is described by House of Moves executives as a "world-class facility" for industry professionals and academia.
SEGA Corp. announced an exclusive partnership with International Sports Multimedia (ISM), exclusive licensee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to develop BEIJING 2008 - THE OFFICIAL VIDEO GAME OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES. The game is being developed by Eurocom Ent. Software for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PC. Additionally, BEIJING 2008 -- THE OFFICIAL MOBILE PHONE GAME OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES is also in the works and will be available summer 2008.
Majesco Ent. Co. and Sandlot Games announced CAKE MANIA 2 for the Nintendo DS. Developed by Digital Embryo, CAKE MANIA 2 is the follow-up to the award-winning CAKE MANIA game that originally debuted on PC and has achieved more than 50 million downloads worldwide and sold over 280,000 units worldwide on the DS.
Leading youth entertainment and Internet video network GoFish Corp. announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership to offer premier video content from several MTV Networks brands for ad-supported viewing on GoFish.com. GoFish is one of a select group of third-party video platforms that will distribute content online from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, CMT, Logo, The N, Spike TV, AtomFilms and GameTrailers.
SilverBirch Studios and Breakthrough New Media announced that they have signed an agreement to develop two games based on the upcoming animated kids television series JIMMY TWO SHOES, to be broadcast on Teletoon Canada and Jetix Europe.
The makers of the live-action feature RED PRINCESS BLUES have launched the seven-minute animated prequel, RED PRINCESS BLUES ANIMATED: THE BOOK OF VIOLENCE. Alex Ferrari is the creator, writer and producer of the film with Dan Cregan serving as director and producer.
The prequel follows a 12-year-old girl who finds herself in a strange country looking for her father. She is taken in by a unique-looking man by the name of Nino. She soon discovers the "Book of Violence" and slowly begins her journey that one day will lead to vengeance.
Sony Pictures is launching an animated series in the spring in conjunction with the feature YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN, featuring the voice work of Adam Sandler. The studio is also running a promotion where a winner will be animated into one of the episodes. Contest details can be found at: www.sonypictures.com/movies/youdontmesswiththezohan/sweepstakes/index.php.
Sony Computer Ent. Inc. (SCEI) announced that it would introduce Skype features to the new slim and light PSP-2000 series. More than 246 million members are registered for the use of this communications software, which enables users to communicate with other Skype users around the world over the Internet. Calls between Skype users are free of charge.
By introducing Skype on PSP, the following features and services will be made available to PSP users:
* Free voice calls between Skype users
THX Ltd., Neural Audio Corp. and Sierra Ent., a division of Vivendi Games, announced that PROTOTYPE, the first-person shooter (FPS) for next-gen gaming consoles and PCs, will be the first videogame to feature Neural-THX Surround. The Neural-THX Surround technology enabled Radical Ent., an internal development studio of Sierra, to extend the surround sound experience from 5.1 to 7.1. PROTOTYPE will go on sale in the U.S. in fall 2008.
THQ has announced plans to release the WALL*E videogame in conjunction with the film's eagerly awaited theatrical debut from Disney/Pixar in the summer of 2008. WALL*E is anticipated to launch across all major gaming systems including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows PC and Mac, as well as wireless devices.
AtomFilms has released an exclusive new online game and music video, KUNG-FU ELECTION, at www.kungfuelection.com.
The KUNG-FU ELECTION game invites players to choose their favorite candidate and take them into battle against a political enemy. Options include Democratic frontrunners Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards and Bill Richardson, as well as their Republican counterparts Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mike Huckabee. The would-be presidents duke it out with an array of special weapons and kung-fu moves.
Netflix Inc. and LG Electronics today announced they are joining forces to develop a set-top box for consumers to stream movies and other programming from the Internet to HDTVs -- bypassing the need to use a personal computer.
The collaboration is expected to deliver a new online home entertainment service via technology embedded in an LG networked player planned for the second half of 2008.
The net is abuzz with news that Fox and Apple are close to announcing a new deal that will see Fox content available for rent on iTunes. THE FINANCIAL TIMES broke the story, stating a formal announcement will be coming at Macworld on Jan. 14. Details are still sketchy, but users would rent films and TV shows for a limited time for a reduced price. Additionally, Fox will use Apple's digital rights management software on its DVDs to make it easier for customers to put Fox titles on their computers and iPods.
GDH is launching a one-year trial run of a new P2P distribution network for its Gonzo and Gonzo Rosso toons, reports VARIETY. Launch content includes: Gonzo's SPEEDGRAPHER; the trailer to THE TOWER OF DRUAGA -- THE AEGIS OF URUK, which will be released in spring; and Gonzo Rosso's PROJECT PAPO. The toons, in standard and hi-def versions, will be available via the Gonzo Rosso website.
Autodesk's end-to-end game development software solutions were used to create most of the top titles hitting the shelves this holiday season. These include Ubisoft's ASSASSIN'S CREED, BioWare's MASS EFFECT, Flagship's HELLGATE: LONDON, Infinity Ward's CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE, Insomniac Games' RATCHET AND CLANK FUTURE: TOOLS OF DESTRUCTION, Sony Computer Ent. Europe's (SCEE) HEAVENLY SWORD and Naughty Dog's UNCHARTED: DRAKE'S FORTUNE.
Laurent Taieb has been promoted to VP, Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP), France as part of the company's strategic commitment to expand and further deepen its licensing and merchandising operations in the market. Taieb has managed NVCP's strategy in France since January 2006, including the direct oversight of DORA THE EXPLORER, which under his leadership became the fastest-growing toy license ever for Fisher Price and has spent the last 22 consecutive months as the territory's number-one licensed property.
Dwight Little, the director of ANACONDAS: THE HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID, will helm the screen adaptation of the Namco videogame TEKKEN, VARIETY reports. CSP's Steven Paul and Benedict Carver are the producers of the film, which is being funded by Crystal Sky Pictures.
Penned by Alan McElroy, the script follows a martial arts master who leads a rebellion against the oppressive Tekken Corp.
Filming will begin Feb. 4th in Shreveport, Louisiana.