Tips for pitching to the Interactive Development Fund

The New Zealand Film Commission’s pilot Interactive Development Fund is an exciting opportunity for game developers to get support for the early stage of their development.

We reached out to NZFC to clarify three of the most frequently asked questions:
FAQs from NZFC
Is the fund intended for VR/AR only, or will being a VR/AR project significantly influence the panel's decision?

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Rival Stars™ College Football Update Now LIVE!

Here at PikPok, we’re celebrating the Biggest Weekend in February with the Biggest Rival Stars Update yet!

Since launching in November 2016 on Google Play and the App Store, Rival Stars College Football has gripped players around the world with its vibrant style, nail-biting tournaments, and stats laden gameplay. Today, we are thrilled to announce the release of two brand new features to the game; the ‘Road to Glory’ season mode and ‘Friendly Games’ for alliances.

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NZGDA 2017 Scholarship Program

Looking at going to GDC this year? It's an awesome event, but we know it can be a very expensive proposition attending an event on the other side of the world.

Thanks to NZGDA, Dinosaur Polo Club, Callaghan Innovation and GDC themselves, we've pulled together a bunch of different scholarships to help more Kiwis make their way to the most important event in the games industry calendar!

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NZFC Announces Interactive Development Fund

The New Zealand Film Commission has announced an Interactive Development Fund with a total of $200,000 allocated towards the pilot round. Successful applicants will generally receive between $5,000-$25,000 per project. The fund supports the concept development of original narrative-focussed interactive and games content delivered on any platform.

The NZGDA will be providing some pitch examples from previous Kiwi Game Starter entries in the coming weeks. If you have any questions about the fund and pitching, comment below and the NZGDA can work with the Film Commission to provide guidance.

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Audio Game Hub – Keep your ears wide open

The Audio Game Hub team believe games should be for everyone. With nearly 300 million visually impaired around the world, the team specialise  in using sound and music to create games for both sighted and non-sighted users. “Nobody makes games for us” were the words that launched this collaborative project. What originated as a PhD research project at Auckland University of Technology was later released in April 2016.

"Since our original launch, the application has gathered over 33,000 downloads, excellent reviews, ratings and feedbacks and have even received awards from the Play by Play Festival and Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)."

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Kiwi Games Starter 2016 – The Games!

Kiwi Games Starter is the NZGDAs annual game development award and startup programme for interactive games businesses. Each year there is a large prize pool in the past including finical, legal and mentoring support for start-up game businesses. The competition aims to help early-stage games businesses to develop prototypes ready for investment or crowdfunding.

Here are some of the entries from this years awards!

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AR/VR Garage Auckland

One of New Zealand’s most dynamic tech sectors received a major boost today with the opening of the AR/VR Garage – a globally unique augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) development facility in Eden Terrace, which establishes Auckland as an international hub for this hot technology. The AR/VR Garage is right next door to the NZGDA's games coworking space The Arcade Auckland.

The commercially focused facility’s rapid development was helped by international relationships forged during May’s Tripartite Economic Summit Auckland 2016, and Techweek AKL 2016’s Magnify VR/AR Pacific Summit. The AR/VR Garage’s strong working alliances with global industry leaders were cemented by today’s announcement that it will be the Oceania base of the influential US-based VR Society, joining chapters in Beijing and Canada. The society last year secured about US$170 million of VR projects for its global members.

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2016 AGM Report

The 2016 Annual General Meeting of the NZ Game Developers Association Incorporated was held at on Wed 3 August 2016 at AUT University, Auckland. Here are the reports reflecting on the last year's progress from departing Chairperson Stephen Knightly.The NZGDA’s purpose is to represent, grow and support the success of New Zealand’s game development industry and community. Both are in great health yet have so much more potential. jump to full article

NZ Video Game Exports Continue to Grow

New Zealand’s game development industry grew 13% last year to earn $88.9m in the year ending 31 March 2016 according to an independent survey of New Zealand Game Developers Association studios. Almost all of that revenue (92%) came from exports of interactive software and online services.

“Entertainment software and apps continue to be one of New Zealand’s fastest growing hi-tech creative exports,” says NZ Game Developers Association Chairperson Stephen Knightly.

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Indie Prize USA 2016

More than 1000 indie games applied for Indie Prize scholarship during the past year
335 games were submitted for Indie Prize Asia 2016
28 judges selected
100 world’s best indie games
3 days of Indie Prize Showcase

Indie Prize is a scholarship program for indie developers. The main goal of Indie Prize is to give indie developers from all over the world a place to meet, share their experience, showcase their games and to network with game industry professionals.

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Indie Pitch Arena 2016

This summer Global Mobile Game Confederation is hosting Mobile Game Asia at capital city of Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur, where we will merge the world gaming industry and local development community! Taking place at Berjaya Times Square Hotel, in Kuala Lumpur on July 13th – 14th, Mobile Game Asia brings together over 1,000+ industry leaders, developers and experts from all around the world to share insights, discuss ideas and develop new strategies to pave the way for a better mobile game ecosystem.

To know more about the event or to know how to apply for IPA (Indie Pitch Arena) click here... www.mobilegame.asia

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Young Creatives Set Their Sights on World Stage

Game art and development is one of the world’s hottest new career paths and later this month some of New Zealand’s most talented young game developers will go head to head in a competition which could shoot them into the international spotlight.

For the first time ever WorldSkills – the largest skills competition on the planet – is including a category for game development, and on May 28 young creatives in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will battle it out for the opportunity to represent their country in their chosen field.

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Mini Metro wins IGF Award

Robert and Peter Curry of Wellington's Dinosaur Polo Club, the creators of the ingenious Mini Metro, came away with the Excellence in Audio Award and were nominated for four categories - including the Grand Prize - at the Independent Games Festival (IGF) this year, held during the Game Developers Conference 2016 in San Francisco.

The IGF awards are arguably the most prestigious and competitive games awards internationally, so it was an amazing achievement for Dinosaur Polo Club to not only win, but to be nominated in a whopping three other categories (Excellence Design, Visual Art, and the Grand Prize)!

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New Zealand game studios recruiting at GDC

Fifteen New Zealand game studios will be in San Francisco during the Game Developers Conference 2016. They have a number exciting job vacancies to fill and are on the look-out for talented people across all disciplines. Take this opportunity to explore the high quality work and lifestyle only New Zealand can offer.jump to full article

New digital game on the future curriculum

Players of NZCER's new app game must put forward their best argument to shape the future of education. Curriculum for the Future: The Digital Game is one in a series of three resources designed to generate thought-provoking conversations about learning and curriculum today and in the future.

Curriculum for the future is the first resource of its kind to be produced by NZCER in collaboration with Gamelab Ltd. NZCER is seeking player feedback on its flagship game app, to explore how resources like this can support broad engagement in contemplating "the big questions" for school learning and the future.

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The magic of Weta Workshop helps to shape the future of art and technology

It’s looking to be a watershed year for Magic Leap’s Mixed Reality Lightfield™ technology, and Wellington’s Weta Workshop is playing a pivotal creative role.

Today, Magic Leap CEO, Rony Abovitz announced a Series C funding round, led by the Alibaba Group. At the same time, Weta Workshop CEO and one of Magic Leap’s founding directors, Richard Taylor lifts the lid on his and his company’s preeminent Magic Leap partnership. A seven-year affiliation with Rony that is now a growing interactive division within the Workshop, right here in Wellington.

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Path of Exile: Ascendancy launches

Grinding Gear Games, developer of the award-winning free-to-play action RPG Path of Exile, today announced that their latest expansion, Path of Exile: Ascendancy will be available on March 4th, 2016.

Path of Exile: Ascendancy features the Lord’s Labyrinth, a daily changing maze of deadly traps and challenges designed to test the mettle of even the most experienced PoE player. The Emperor Izaro constructed deadly trials through Wraeclast to find worthy candidates. Players will have a powerful set of new skills and items to conquer the Labyrinth, including the introduction of 19 new Ascendancy character classes, each with its own passive skill tree to master.

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RenderVision Released

Auckland developers Andy Wiltshire (BulletProof) and Michael Reitzenstein (RockSolid) have created a new Unity Performance Plugin called RenderVision which provides overlay information on Culling opportunities in your game project - and have setup a partner website, UnityPerformance.com - featuring helpful performance guides for Unity game developers.

Feel free to check out the links below and share with your fellow game devs;

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The Arcade Auckland Coworking Space

www.thearcadeakl.co.nz

The NZGDA has launched a shared work space for indie game developers called The Arcade Auckland – which is currently free for any casual NZGDA member to use and low cost for any regular member. It’s based within The Idea Collective Building at MOTAT (The Museum of Transportation and Technology) in Western Springs, Auckland.  

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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials™ now available on the App Store and Google Play

Players outrun WCKD in the Scorch in the officially licensed sequel to the mobile hit The Maze Runner™

Leading games publisher PikPok® today announced the launch of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials ™ game for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android. The officially licensed game, developed by veteran developer Sticky Studios and published by PikPok, is based on the 20th Century Fox action-adventure film and James Dashner’s New York Times bestselling novel of the same name.

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Glow Worm Adventure now available on the App Store and Google Play

Leading games publisher PikPok today announced the launch of Glow Worm Adventure for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android phones and tablets. The game is developed by Pixelthis, based in New Zealand.

Glow Worm Adventure sees the player solve intricate puzzles by sliding tiles around a board to create a path. The innovative Rubiks-style mechanic is presented in a vibrant night-time setting filled with playful glowworms. Stars are awarded for solving puzzles in fewer moves, and different tiles keep the game exciting and challenging.

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GDC 2015 Report: Farah Khalaf

Guest post by Farah Khalaf, Auckland University of Technology student and NZGDA Board Member.  

This year I had the privilege of attending GDC 2015 as an IGDAF Intel scholar. I remember standing in the middle of a train station, almost bursting into tears when I read the email. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, Intel recently created an initiative to increase diversity in the tech and games industry, pledging 300 million dollars to the cause.

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GDC 2016 Scholarships for New Zealanders

We have 25 GDC 2016 All Access Passes PLUS three $5,000 travel grants for New Zealanders to get to the world's premier games industry event: The Game Developers Conference, 14-18 March 2016 in San Francisco.

Junior and intermediate game developers from all disciplines including indies and students are encouraged to apply. The judges will give particular emphasis to applications from women in the games industry and budding entrepreneurs.

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Milton’s Tale Beautifully Mixes Puzzles and Paper Craft

Jeremy(TM) and Friends are excited to announce the release and immediate availability of Milton's Tale 1.0, a finely polished puzzle game aiming to give people of all ages and gaming experience that "clever" feeling throughout. Available for free on iOS and Android, the game is presented entirely in a world of colored paper, and implements a unique new organic referral marketing strategy.

Milton's Tale is at its core a physics puzzler. It implements the well known 3-star reward system to make the game immediately accessible to a wide market and place itself as a downtime game. What makes Milton's Tale unique from a game-design perspective is the high quality of puzzles, challenging the player to think visually to beat each level, along of course with the rich paper craft style.

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Dynabrick wins Kiwi Game Starter 2015

Innovative video game Dynabrick is set to be New Zealand’s next digital hit export after winning the KiwiGameStarter, New Zealand’s only startup programme for interactive games businesses.

The Dynabrick prototype was developed by Wellington-based developer Rox Flame. The second place went to Swordy by Frogshark.

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Digital NZ Report 2016: Games are popular mainstream media

According to the Digital New Zealand Report 2016 launched on 9 September 2015 by IGEA the proportion of the older Kiwi population that plays video games has increased in the past two years. Two fifths (43 per cent) of New Zealanders aged 65 and over now play video games, compared to only 32 per cent in 2013. The average age of the New Zealand gamer is 34 years old, up from 33 in the previous report.

Dr Jeff Brand, Professor at Bond University and lead author of the report, said that video and computer games are being recognised for their effects on positive ageing, which explains why more mature Kiwis are jumping on the bandwagon. “The use of games-based technology is increasingly finding its way into physical and mental health applications. I continue to marvel at the growing adoption of video games beyond just entertainment,” says Professor Brand.

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Jobs in NZ Games Industry Grow in FY2015

New Zealand’s video game studios created 134 new high-tech creative jobs in the last financial year, according to an independent survey by the New Zealand Game Developers Association. The sector now employs 568 fulltime employees and earned $78.7m in FY2015, up 3% on the previous year. 82% of revenue came from digital exports.

The survey shows that established game studios continue to do well but the overall sector’s growth has slowed due to a lack of new businesses being established by either local startups or international investors.

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Kiwi Game Starter 2015

18 entries were received for the 2015 KiwiGameStarter, with four finalists due to pitch to a judging panel at NZ GDC on 10 September 2015.

Entries for New Zealand’s only startup programme for interactive games businesses – the KiwiGameStarter – are now open, with business plans and playable prototypes due on 28 August.

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The NZGDA Board for 2015/2016

The NZ Game Developers Association is a not-for-profit organisation run by a diverse group of game developers from around New Zealand. The board for 2015/2016 includes experienced studio managers, upcoming indie developers, students, programmers, designers, lawyers, marketers, serious games developers with experience developing for PC, console, web and smartphones. They were elected at the Annual General Meeting of the NZ Game Developers Association on Wed 5 August at AUT University, Auckland. jump to full article

Mobile hit Into the Dead™ now available to play on Facebook

NEW ZEALAND, Wellington, November 25, 2014 – Leading games publisher PikPok® today announced that their original game, Into the Dead™, has launched worldwide on Facebook.  The Facebook version extends the franchise from existing availability on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Windows, and Windows Phone where the game has achieved over 34 million downloads to date.

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How To Train Your Dragon director to headline AnimFX 2014

The writer and director of How to Train Your Dragon I & II and other animation blockbusters, Dean DeBlois, is to speak as part of round two of the digital entertainment event AnimfxNZ 2014 at Wellington’s Paramount Theatre on 21 November.

Weta Digital will also offer a presentation around the many facets of modern visual effects, including an insider’s look at the 2014 film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, to be held at The Roxy Cinema on 22 November.

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NZGDC14: Would you like fries with that? Part two

This article originally appeared on ScreeNZ.co.nz. By Keith Barclay.

Just as Skylanders might have seemed a crazy idea back in 2009, there was also some cynicism that year about the decision of NHNZ to set up a game company. Five years on, there’s a lot less skepticism and the decision to establish Runaway, made back when Michael Stedman was still running NHNZ, looks like very smart thinking – despite Tim Nixon’s opening statement that the story of Runaway was a story of failure.

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NZ Video Games Industry Doubles Exports

Revenue from New Zealand-made video games and game apps more than doubled to $80.2 million in the year to 31 March 2014, according to an independent survey of NZ Game Developers Association members. 90% of those earnings were digital software exports, primarily through the Internet and app stores.

Digital distribution platforms like the AppStore and Steam mean that New Zealand no longer has any significant disadvantage in the international games market due to distance. “Interactive entertainment software is a hi-tech weightless export industry that creates New Zealand-owned IP and competes on a global scale,” says NZGDA Chairperson Ben Kenobi. “With smart digital exports there is no upper limit on how many physical copies you can sell.”

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Free Unity Workshop & Game Jam in Auckland Aug22-24

The annual, winter, shared, maker-space for NZ game-developers of any kind to meet, collaborate and compete in various global and local competitions is on again this August.  There is still only one site in Auckland this year but it's already full so hopefully next year there'll be more.  There are still slots for the free Microsoft Unity workshop on the Saturday - to register, go here.

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NZ Games Industry launches Business Startup Competition

The New Zealand Game Developers Association has launched New Zealand's first and only startup programme for interactive games businesses - the KiwiGameStarter.  One promising games business will receive funding, software, marketing, legal and business mentoring support worth $25,000.

“The games industry has quickly become one of New Zealand’s largest creative sectors and a significant software exporter.  Unfortunately existing business startup or creative sector programmes don’t quite suit the nature of games businesses who must compete globally from day one in order to succeed,” said NZGDA chairperson Ben Kenobi.

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NZGDA 2014 Election Results

The 2014 Annual General Meeting of the NZ Game Developers Association was held on Wednesday 6 August 2014 at AUT University.
Here are the election statements of the elected committee members.
Chairperson
Ben Kenobi
I would like to put forward an application to act on the NZGDA Board again this year. I offer myself as candidate for chairperson also.

Personal Goals

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Kiwi.js High Performance HTML5 Engine Launched

Kiwi.js is a fast open-source mobile-first HTML5 game engine supporting both WebGL and Canvas rendering. After 12 months of development, the full 1.0 release of Kiwi.js is available from www.kiwijs.org.

Kiwi features its own renderer optimised for fast graphics on both WebGL and Canvas on smartphones and desktops, a library of plug-ins and game blueprints, CocoonJS for fast App performance, open-source community support and already has commercial clients supporting its ongoing development.

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Submit your ideas for NZ Game Dev Conference 2014

The NZ Game Developers Conference 2014 (#NZGDC14) will be on Friday 19 September 2014 at AUT University in Auckland - the same awesome venue as last year.

Last year's conference sold out with over 320 delegates - 100 more than the previous year - and had extremely positive feedback. With all the current buzz around game development in NZ, we are expecting another sell out crowd and we want to, once again, raise the bar on the quality and relevance of presentations - especially if you're giving up a day working on projects to be there.

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Media Design School partners with PlayStation® in a New Zealand first


Media Design School
has partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) to become the only tertiary institute in New Zealand where students can develop for PlayStation platforms.

The PlayStation®First Academic Development Programme recognises the world’s leading game development courses to help foster young game developers. SCEE will support Media Design School with tools, expertise incubation labs and connections with some of the top game companies world wide. PlayStation®First will also give Media Design School and their students the opportunity to publish their games onto the PlayStation Network to be enjoyed worldwide.

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Applications open for the PAX Aus 2014 ANZ Indie Pavilion

PAX Australia is once again hosting a space to specifically showcase Australian and New Zealand indie games and studios for a reduced cost. The ANZ Indie Pavilion will accommodate up to 36 developers, who will each be allocated a small podium where their games will be highlighted and playable.

Having so many developers within the one space means costs can be put towards making the stand build look slick and professional, and will be located in a central location amongst the big name publishers.

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Digital consumption fuels New Zealanders gaming growth

New Zealand’s interactive games industry has recorded $133 million of traditional retail sales and an estimated NZD$162 million of digital sales in 2013, according to research released by the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA). These latest figures put the overall retail value of New Zealand’s interactive games industry in 2013 just shy of NZD$300 million.

The latest data from independent market researcher, NPD Group Australia, reveals that sales of console hardware, games software and gaming peripherals sold through traditional retail outlets dipped by 8 per cent compared to sales in 2012.

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Masterclass with Valve/Weta game designer Laura Dubuk

Media Design School will host a weekend masterclass with Laura Dubuk who has designed, modelled and textured environments for Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Alien Swarm and Portal 2 at Valve.

The hands-on masterclass will be held at Media Design School March 22 and 23 and cover level design, digital painting, character design and a portfolio critique. There are just 20 spaces available. Tickets are available now via Eventbrite. 

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NZ Video Games Win in Best of 2013 Lists

Five New Zealand video game makers have been lauded in major international Best of 2013 lists.

Path of Exile by Grinding Gear Games has won GameSpot’s PC Game of the Year Award, Turbo Racing League by PikPok was the runner-up for Apple’s Best of 2013 Game of the Year, and indie developer Michael Brough was named one of the Top 10 Game Developers of 2013 by Gamasutra. The Blockheads by Majic Jungle and Bloons Tower Defence 5 by NinjaKiwi also feature in Apple’s Best of 2013.

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NZ-Made Video Games Industry Grew 86% in 2012

New Zealand-made mobile games have been downloaded over 130 million times in the last year and industry earnings grew 86% to $36.3 million dollars, according to an independent survey of New Zealand Game Developers Association members. The majority of that income, $31.4m, came from exports of smartphone and online games.

“The investments in skills and job reported in previous years’ surveys is now paying off in real profits and international recognition,” says Stephen Knightly, Chairperson of the NZ Game Developers Association.

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20 Kiwi Game Developers Exhibit at Digital NatioNZ ‘Homegrown’

Telecom together with the New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA) is bringing more than 20 local developers to DIGITAL NATIONZ, New Zealand's first digital entertainment expo in an effort to showcase the strength and breadth of expertise in online and digital gaming at work right here in NZ.

"This is a great opportunity for our growing community of over 500 developers to show off the local talent and the amazing projects they are working on. Kiwi developers range from 'one man bands' to fully fledged studios that are turning out some of the hottest games internationally," says Stephen Knightly, Chairperson of the NZGDA.

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Games deliver new insights into Autism

A free iPad game is giving the medical fraternity something to think about as it delivers fresh observations about children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Nurfland is the first in a series of games being developed by Project Autismus, a not-for-profit group of game developers, parents, Media Design School students and psychologists in New Zealand, India and the United Kingdom.

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Kiwi Jam

FLOOR LOCATION UPDATED:   Bottom floor.  If you are facing the information desk, turn around, walk forward and look down off the mezzanine.
The NZGDA are throwing a 2 day Game Jam on August 31 and September 1 at AUT University in Auckland.  



Anyone can join and the rules are simple.  You just have to come along and make a game between 9am Saturday morning and 7pm Sunday evening.  


There will be a list of Bonus Feature Achievements - such as themes and easter eggs.  At 7:30 on Sunday the “crowd favourites” categories are chosen (for glory - not prizes) and the weekend ends...


...but the fun doesn't stop there.  If want, you can use your entry for the NZGDA Windows 8 Competition AND the Global Unity3D Windows Contest for a shot at some awesome prizes.  You can even keep working on your game!*


This event is proudly sponsored by the Windows 8 Team at Microsoft - who will be at the event to help you with technical issues and give out some small prizes at the closing ceremony - and hosted by AUT CoLab


Register here and get those creative juices flowing. 


PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:

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NZ GDC 2013 programme announced

The New Zealand Game Developers Conference will be held on Friday 28 June at AUT University in Auckland.  It is a one-day action-packed conference for professional and indie game developers.

The conference features New Zealand and Australia's leading game developers sharing real experiences and the knowledge that has made them global successes.

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All blacks rugby challenge 2 release date announced

SYDNEY, Australia – May 14, 2013 – Home Entertainment Suppliers Pty Ltd (HES) announced today that All Blacks Rugby Challenge 2 for PlayStation®3 and Microsoft Xbox 360® will be released worldwide on 13 June 2013. Developed by New Zealand based games developer Sidhe, the sequel includes the highly anticipated British and Irish Lions 2013 Tour of Australia as well as myriad new features, improvements and fresh content.

The game will be released as All Blacks Rugby Challenge 2 in New Zealand, Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge 2 in France and South Africa, and Rugby Challenge 2: The Lions Tour Edition in rest of world.

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NZ Game Developers Storm GDC 2013

Movies like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit have made New Zealand’s film companies world-renowned. More recently the entertainment industry is discovering that the same New Zealand creative culture is yielding equally powerful results for game development. New Zealand’s cluster of game developers, though a tight-knit community of approximately 450 professionals, is currently responsible for some of the world’s hottest new games and online worlds.

As game developers come together from all over the world for the 2013 Game Developer’s Conference, New Zealand-created games will be featured on many of the ‘top lists’ and prominent screens. Six New Zealand-made games were Top 10 iOS games in the U.S. last year, including The Blockheads, Bloons Tower Defence 5, MiniGolf Matchup, Major Mayhem, Into The Dead, and My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.  Online games Path of Exile, Smallworlds, Minimonos and BigLittleBang attract audiences in the millions.

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RUGBY CHALLENGE 2: THE LIONS TOUR EDITION ANNOUNCED FOR PS3, 360 AND PC

British and Irish Lions roar in rugby union videogame sequel

SYDNEY, Australia – March 20, 2013 – Home Entertainment Suppliers Pty Ltd (HES) announced today the development of Rugby Challenge 2: The Lions Tour Edition for PlayStation®3, Microsoft Xbox 360® and PC, by New Zealand based games developer Sidhe. The sequel product includes myriad new features, improvements and fresh content including the addition of the highly anticipated British and Irish Lions 2013 Tour of Australia.

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Two New Zealand games included in Game Masters at Te Papa

Two games by New Zealand designers are to be included in the blockbuster new exhibition Game Masters when it opens at Te Papa on 15 December 2012.

The two games have been selected to represent both ends of game development in New Zealand, and to celebrate New Zealand’s contribution to the game development industry.

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NZ Video Games Industry Continues to Grow

Kiwi game studios released 73 commercial video games in the last year, primarily selling them digitally on iPhones, websites and Android smartphones.

The local industry has nearly doubled in the last two years and employed 380 full-time equivalent game developers as of 31 March 2012, according to a survey of NZ Game Developers Association members. 39% of those people are artists, 39% are programmers, with additional roles mainly in marketing and management.

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Gods of Gaming coming to Te Papa

Te Papa is delighted to announce its summer blockbuster exhibition, Game Masters, opening 15 December 2012.

Featuring over 120 playable games across arcade, consoles, and PC, including Donkey Kong, The Sims, The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, and not forgetting mobile games such as Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja; this exhibition has games suitable for all ages.

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Dowse announces major exhibition of New Zealand video gaming

Every day across the world, millions of people enter virtual worlds through video games. The Dowse Art Museum is excited to celebrate what is now the fastest-growing form of mass art with a major exhibition of New Zealand video gaming - Arcade: Homegrown Video Games opens on 10 November and runs throughout the summer months until 3 March 2013. Entry is free.

Arcade offers an insight into the amazing world of the video games made right here in New Zealand. It celebrates the extraordinary skills and creativity of the New Zealand gaming industry, focusing on the striking visual effects designed by our most talented and influential gaming artists.

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RUGBY CHALLENGE COMING TO PLAYSTATION® VITA

SYDNEY, Australia – May 23, 2012: Tru Blu Entertainment announced today that Rugby Challenge will be available on the PlayStation® Vita handheld entertainment system, on 27 June 2012 in Europe, UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The first game ever published for the PlayStation Vita by Tru Blu Entertainment features console quality Rugby Challenge gameplay, graphics, game modes and authenticity. Developed by NZ game studio Sidhe, the game will be marketed as Wallabies Rugby Challenge within Australia and Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge in Europe and other territories.

“We are excited to be able to bring the successful Rugby Challenge franchise to PlayStation Vita.  It represents a quantum leap forward for hand-held gaming, delivering a console quality HD gaming experience in the palm of your hands,” said Managing Director, Sebastian Giompaolo. “We are especially looking forward to delivering a game into the hands of eager fans which utilises the touch screen capabilities of the world’s latest handheld system.”

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Extinction Squad is Here!

PikPok's very happy to continue its collaboration with Adult Swim Games with the latest of our joint developments, Extinction Squad. This universal iOS title offers self-destructive blue wales, plummeting pandas, and gorillas who have lost their grip, and you have to save them from themselves. It's the dodos you see. They smell funny.

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NZGDA Conference Lineup Revealed

The NZGDA Conference programme is out and you can download it here!  

Like the best games, it's full of tough choices: which sessions will you go to?  Will you party all night after Indie Game: The Movie?  Will you pitch for the $2000 Amazon Web Services credit?
Our Keynote Speakers: an IGF Finalist + a Top AppStore Publisher
Living The Dream and Enduring The Nightmare (It's Tough Being Indie).  Alex Amsel is CEO of UK indie game developer Tuna and an Independent Games Festival Finalist and BAFTA nominee.  He's a co-author of indie hit Eufloria which was recently released on iPad. Alex has worked with brands and titles as varied as Family Guy, Eufloria, Alien Hominid, Puzzler, and even the classic Asteroids.

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NZGDA screens Indie Game: The Movie

INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE, directed by James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, looks at the underdogs of the video game industry, indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their creative visions with the world.

This Sundance award-winning film captures the tension and drama by focusing on these artists’ vulnerability and obsessive quest to express themselves through a 21st-century art form.

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NZGDA Conference 2012

The New Zealand Game Developers Association Conference is a one-day action-packed conference for professional and indie game developers on Saturday 19 May. The conference pulls no punches, with experienced presenters telling it like it really is.

Featuring some of New Zealand and Australia's leading game developers from Sidhe/PikPok, Cerebral Fix, Smallworlds, Gameloft, Grinding Gear Games, NinjaKiwi, Runaway Play - plus maybe a few international surprise guests (details coming soon).

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PikPok® to publish Monster Flip™ for iOS by Launching Pad Games

Quirky arcade puzzle game to hit the App Store in March 2012
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – February 27, 2012 – Leading Smartphone games publisher, PikPok®, today announced it would publish Monster Flip™ for iOS, an original title developed by Launching Pad Games. Monster Flip challenges gamers to swipe, flip and match monsters to help them return home, blending match three gameplay and puzzle cube mechanics in an incredibly addictive way.  Create massive combos and chains for extra points, but watch out for mad monsters that are out to ruin your day!

“Launching Pad Games have created an exceptional game in Monster Flip” said Mario Wynands, Managing Director of PikPok. “They have found the perfect balance of accessibility and depth, and wrapped it in a highly appealing audio and visual package.  It has been a pleasure to be working with them to help the title reach its maximum potential.”

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New Zealand to kick off the Global Game Jam 2012

The Global Game Jam is a 48-hour event where artists, video game developers and programmers create a video game over just one weekend in January. Held in over 120 locations worldwide including New Zealand, it’s creative, cooperative, chaotic and huge fun.

New Zealand gamers will be the first in the world to kickoff, when the theme for the games is unveiled at 5pm on Friday 27 January 2012 and the teams work flat out until Sunday night.

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New Zealand-made Video Games Industry grew 46% this year

Wellington, New Zealand - 16 November 2011 - The New Zealand video game development industry grew by 46% this year, boosted by the huge growth of smartphone and online games. 114 game development jobs were created in the 12 months to September 2011 and the industry now employs the equivalent of 359 full-time people.

In addition, local game studios expect to create 99 new jobs in the coming 12 months. Approximately 40% of these will be for programmers, 40% for artists and 20% for managers.

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Bloons® TD4 Blasts Past One Million Downloads on iPhone and iPad

Hit Tower Defense Game Credits Innovative Design and Frequent Updates for Its Eight-Months-and-Counting Position on the iPhone Top 100 US Apps Chart

Ninja Kiwi, a leading developer and publisher of web and smart phone games, and Digital Goldfish, a leading developer of smart phone and handheld games, today announced that Bloons TD4 has surpassed one-million downloads across Apple's iPhone and iPad platforms.

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Shatter® soundtrack gets limited edition vinyl release

Pre-orders now available for acclaimed soundtrack on vinyl
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – November 3, 2011 – Console developer Sidhe announced today the highly acclaimed soundtrack from their award winning game, Shatter, will be available on vinyl as an exclusive limited edition release. Musician extraordinaire, Jeramiah “Module” Ross, has edited and remastered his original soundtrack for vinyl to ensure the highest quality reproduction and a superior listening experience.

“It is really great to hear the quality that this format gives you straight off the bat,” said Ross, who continues to work with Sidhe on other projects “I have edited the core Shatter music tracks and re-mastered them via Abbey Road Studios at the highest possible audio settings for you all to enjoy. Big thanks for all the support, awards and many fans from the last two years”.

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Mad Catz® Announces Shipping Of Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge™ For Xbox 360

Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (“Mad Catz”) (AMEX/TSX: MCZ) announced today the shipping of Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge throughout North America for the Xbox 360 ® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

“We are excited to be shipping Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge. The game is receiving positive reviews and there is a lot of excitement within the rugby community,” said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. “The release of Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge is part of our long term growth strategy and demonstrates our commitment to building the software publishing component of our business.”

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Slam Dunk King

Music from Slam Dunk King™ for iOS now available online

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – October 17, 2011 – PikPok is pleased to advise that due to popular request, the “Dunking” main music track from our recent iOS title “Slam Dunk King” has been released online. The full track can be freely streamed or purchased exclusively from http://pikpok.bandcamp.com.

The track was written, directed, and performed by Imon Starr from Olmecha Supreme and jointly produced with Jeramiah “Module” Ross, artist behind the award winning “Shatter” videogame soundtrack. Starr and Olmecha are currently going from strength to strength, launching their highly anticipated “Obsoletism” EP later this month.

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Ninja Kiwi Launch Hungry Sumo on iOS

AUKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – October, 2011 – Eat, grow and bump your way to the top as Ninja Kiwi®, a leading developer and publisher of web and smart phone games, today announced Hungry Sumo, an addictive and entertaining puzzle arcade game, is now available on iOS for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Already a tremendous success on Flash, Hungry Sumo on iOS challenges players to feed and grow their sumo wrestlers in order to make them big and strong enough to defeat their opponent and prevent them from converting their sumos over to the enemy team.

“We are extremely excited to bring our wildly popular flash game to Apple’s mobile devices, portable media players and tablets,” said Chris Harris, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Ninja Kiwi. “Hungry Sumo is a fun arcade-style puzzle game with a comical twist that is sure to deliver hours of non-stop fast-playing action the entire family can enjoy.”

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PikPok® Announces Flick Kick™ Aston Villa for iOS and Android Releasing 13 Oct 2011

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – October 12, 2011 – PikPok® and Aston Villa Football Club have today announced the impending launch of Flick Kick™ Aston Villa, a team specific version of one of the UK’s highest performing mobile apps, Flick Kick™ Football. It features all the great parts of the original game as well as Aston Villa specific trivia and includes Villa Park as the ingame backdrop. Flick Kick™ Aston Villa challenges players to score from free kick positions by bending the ball around the opposition defenders and goalkeeper. The game will be available from 13 October at a special launch week 50% discount price of US$0.99/£0.69.

“Flick Kick Football has been one of most loved games”, said Mario Wynands, Managing Director of PikPok “We are excited to create a special version for Aston Villa fans and football lovers alike.”

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PikPok® Announces Slam Dunk King™ for iOS Releasing 29 September 2011

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – September 28, 2011 – Leading Smartphone games label, PikPok®, today announced Slam Dunk King™, a new free-to-play arcade basketball title for iOS releasing on 29 September on the App Store. The title enables gamers to show their skills with trick dunks and smooth moves, harness unique mascot powerups, and earn coins for unlockable items. Gamers can master and chain together over a dozen tricks to prove they are the best and become the King.

“Our Flick Kick sports game series has proven an enormous success having reached millions of gamers worldwide” said Mario Wynands, Managing Director of PikPok. “Slam Dunk King will continue that legacy, providing easily accessible yet addictive basketball gameplay in a high quality, freely downloadable package.”

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Network Partners with PikPok and Grumpyface Studios to Create Unique Mobile Games

Adult Swim Digital announced today the launch of a new series of mobile games exclusive to the iOS platform. Part of a new initiative to further their partnerships with leading and independent game developers, Monsters Ate My Condo by PikPok is the first of five exclusive iOS games that will launch in the iTunes store in 2011, with more planned in 2012.

“Our goal is to make great games and make sure they find an audience,” said Jeff Olsen, vice-president of Adult Swim digital and games. “Working with PikPok and Grumpyface, we know we’re going to get really high-quality, original work. So we can really invest in development and promotion.”

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Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge

North American Distributor announced for Rugby Challenge

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (“Mad Catz”) (AMEX/TSX: MCZ) announced today that it will publish and distribute Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge throughout North America for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, currently anticipated to begin shipping in September 2011.

“We are very excited to bring this popular rugby franchise to North America,” said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. “We are committed to building our software publishing and distribution business and strongly believe that this world class sporting title will be met with a warm reception by passionate gamers across the country.”

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Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge

Rugby Challenge Videogame Initial Release Dates Announced

Available At Retail from 2 September 2011

SYDNEY, Australia – August 24, 2011 – Tru Blu Entertainment announced today Rugby Challenge for PlayStation®3 and Microsoft Xbox 360® would release in New Zealand on 2 September, and Australia and South Africa on 8 September. The game will be marketed in New Zealand as All Blacks Rugby Challenge, Wallabies Rugby Challenge in Australia, and Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge in the rest of the world.

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Flick Kick Football

Flick Kick™ Chelsea Mobile App comes to Android

LONDON, England and WELLINGTON, New Zealand – August 01, 2011 – PikPok™ and Chelsea Football Club today announced the launch of Flick Kick™ Chelsea for Android, bringing the popular branded version of Flick Kick™ Football to the growing Android audience.

Flick Kick™ Chelsea for Android features multiple gameplay modes, the ability to challenge other players, Chelsea trivia and the iconic stadium Stamford Bridge as the game’s backdrop. Flick Kick™ Chelsea for Android challenges players to score for the current Premier League champions from free kick positions by bending the ball around the opposition defenders and goalkeeper. The app is available for purchase for £1.19 or US$1.99 in the Android Market.

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Path of Exile

Action RPG Path of Exile Launches Closed Beta Next Week, Details Hardcore PvP Combat

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - 3 August 2011 - After four years of development, the indie studio Grinding Gear Games has announced that their online action RPG, Path of Exile, will enter 'closed beta' on August 10th. They have also unveiled plans for a range of Player vs. Player combat options designed to encourage a competitive online playing field.

With the closed beta, members of the game's online community at www.pathofexile.com. will be periodically selected at random and granted access to the game's beta. Players will be added continuously to stress test the game's servers, as the game is played entirely online to facilitate a secure item-based economy. The beta version of the game includes the first two acts of gameplay and five character classes at first, with more content added frequently.

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Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge 5

Major European Leagues Join Growing Content Lineup for Rugby Challenge

SYDNEY, Australia – July 18, 2011 – Home Entertainment Suppliers Pty Ltd (HES) revealed today that major European rugby union leagues Aviva Premiership Rugby, TOP 14 Orange, and RaboDirect PRO12 have been licensed for upcoming video game Rugby Challenge coming to PlayStation®3, PS Vita, Microsoft Xbox 360® and PC. The game will be released in Europe as Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge, All Blacks Rugby Challenge in New Zealand, and Wallabies Rugby Challenge in Australia.

“We are very excited to announce these major competition licenses for Rugby Challenge” said Sebastian Giompaolo, Managing Director for HES. “Inclusion of these top class European club leagues adds great depth and appeal to an already deep title for rugby fans all over the world. With our breadth of content, extensive customisation tools, and various modes, people will be playing this game for years to come”.

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Sparx

SPARX wins at the Worlds Summit Awards 2011

SPARX an e-therapy game developed to help young people combat depression has won a World Summit Award winning in its category e-Health and Environment.

SPARX was developed by a team headed by Assoc Prof Sally Merry from The University of Auckland, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health and developed by Metia Interactive Ltd from Auckland. SPARX takes the form of an animated 3D game where users learn real-life skills by solving challenges to rid a fantasy world from gloom and negativity. Culturally-relevant elements have been incorporated into the game world to ensure the programme has wide cultural acceptability.

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Smallworlds

Sam Morgan Invests in Fast-Growing Social Game SmallWorlds

Fast-growing Auckland-based social game SmallWorlds has received $2.5m in an investment round led by TradeMe founder Sam Morgan to capitalise on the booming market for games played via social networks. Gaming is the fastest growing entertainment sector globally, and has already overtaken both the music and film industry in revenues.

Launched in 2008 by entrepreneurs Mitch Olson and Darren Green, SmallWorlds is New Zealand's largest social gaming company with 6.5 million registered players. The investment will fuel SmallWorlds' expansion in the billion-dollar social gaming sector, with the company aiming to be a $100m export earner by 2013. Games on social networks earned over US$1 billion last year, and are expected to be a US$5 billion industry by 2015.

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Dead Steel

Kiwi game wins ‘excellent’ award at IGF China

A group of students from New Zealand's Media Design School have taken out the Excellent Student Winner prize at the 2nd Independent Games Festival Awards (IGF) China, known as the Sundance of the indie games industry.

Dead Steel - a futuristic alien shooter made for PC, was the final-year project of a team of students from Media Design School's Graduate Diploma in Game Development, the only NZQA-approved tertiary qualification of its kind in New Zealand.

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Puzzle Planets puts the awesome power of nature on your iPhone and iPad

WASHINGTON - April 6, 2011 - National Geographic Channel in partnership with Runaway are proud to announce the release of Puzzle Planets for iPhone and iPad, a new game that puts the powerful forces of nature at your fingertips.

With a core concept inspired by the popular National Geographic Channel (NGC) series Clash of the Continents, Puzzle Planets puts an action packed spin on the earth sciences. Players create planets by constructing a tectonic core, raising continents from the ocean, and spreading life over the land.

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Shatter

Shatter for PC now available on Steam

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – March 17, 2010 - Sidhe, New Zealand's largest game production studio, today announced that its popular original title, Shatter™ is now available for PC download via Steam. The PC version of the game features new PC-exclusive game modes, Steam Achievements and leaderboards, and brings the excitement of the award-winning original title to PC gamers. Shatter is available for US$9.99 via Steam.

“PC gamers can now experience the fun, frenetic action of Shatter with new modes, achievements and leaderboards,” said Mario Wynands, Managing Director of Sidhe. “We’ve continued expanding the game to bring modes to the PC version that will appeal to both new players and those familiar with the PSN version.”

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DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar Kartz Videogame Coming Oct 27 developed by Sidhe

US, October 9, 2009 - SANTA MONICA, CA - Activision Publishing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced that DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: DWA) Madagascar Kartz video game will be released on October 27 for Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system. The video game combines the wild world of DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar franchise with over-the-top kart racing, resulting in an outrageous ride the whole family can enjoy together. The Wii version can be purchased as a bundle, which features a DreamWorks' Madagascar Kartz steering wheel packaged with the game – just load the Wii Remote into the steering wheel and get your animal instincts in high gear.

Jump behind the wheel and drive yourself wild as you play as Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman, King Julien or those crafty penguins! You can power-up and perform zany jumps, outlandish flips, and radical rolls on amazing tracks from the world of Madagascar, including the New York City Zoo, the plane crash site, the volcano, plus many more. Keep an edge on your wild competitors with cool pickups, such as power boosts, obstacles, and projectiles. DreamWorks' Madagascar Kartz features split-screen head-to-head multiplayer action, allowing up to four players to go bananas and race locally against one another in Championship, Quick Race and Time Trial modes.

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