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Boston’s Mocospace, a provider of browser-based games for mobile devices, raises $3.5 Million from SoftBank Capital September 27, 2010

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Boston’s Mocospace, a provider of browser-based games, entertainment, and a social network for mobile devices, raises $3.5 Million from SoftBank Capital.

Boston’s Ayeah Games raises venture capital from Lead Dog and Eureeka Ventures August 23, 2010

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Boston’s Ayeah Games , a developer of “social reality games”, raises an undisclosed amount of venture capital equity funding from Lead Dog Ventures and Eureeka Ventures.

Media Giant Time Warner Inc. acquires Westwood’s Online Gaming Powerhouse Turbine Entertainment April 21, 2010

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Turbine Inc., one of the Boston area’s biggest video game companies, has been acquired by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc. of Burbank, Calif., a business unit of Time Warner Inc.

The deal underscores Greater Boston’s increasing prominence as a center for video game development. Financial details of the deal were not released, but a source close to the negotiations said that Warner Bros. will pay as much as $160 million, including sums to be paid to Turbine shareholders in future years if the company meets certain financial targets.

Turbine, a privately-held, venture-backed company in Westwood, is one of the leading makers of Internet-based, multi-player adventure games. The company produces Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Asheron’s Call. Thousands of players subscribe to Lord of the Rings and Asheron’s Call, paying monthly fees of around $15 for the right to play and socialize with one another online. More than one million players play Dungeons & Dragons Online.

Acquiring Turbine will give Warner Bros. total control over all future video games based on author J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved Lord of the Rings novels. Turbine holds an exclusive license to make an Internet-based game based on the books, while last year, Warner Bros. won a license to make non-Internet-based Tolkien video games.

Warner Bros. Interactive has bought a number of game development houses in recent years, in a bid to become a major power in video gaming. In 2007, the company purchased TT Games, a British firm that develops family-friendly products like Lego Star Wars and Lego Batman. In 2009, Warner Bros. bought the assets of bankrupt Chicago game company Midway, maker of the popular Mortal Kombat games. And earlier this year, it acquired a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, another British developer, which created the hit game Batman: Arkham Asylum.

The Video Game Orchestra at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center, Saturday, December 5th, 2009 7:00pm November 19, 2009

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Video Game Orchestra Flyer

Video Game Orchestra Flyer

The Video Game Orchestra will perform their production “Awakening” at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center, Saturday, December 5th, 2009.

The doors will open at 7:00pm, and the performance will begin at 7:30pm.

136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

The Video Game Orchestra was Founded by Artistic Director and Arranger Shota Nakama, is Conducted by Musical Director Yohei Sato, and the performance on December 5th will feature Special Musical Guest Wataru Hokoyama, who created the music for video game titles “Afrika” and “Resident Evil 5”.

The Video Game Orchestra’s performance of “Awakening” on December 5th will feature music from smash hit video games Super Mario Brothers, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII, Silent Hill 2, Afrika, Chrono Cross, and many more!

Students, 18 and Under: $10 ($15 The Day of the event)

General Public: $15 ($20 The Day of the event)

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

More information is available online at www.vgo-online.org and the Video Game Orchestra’s Founder and Artistic Director is Shota Nakama, shotanakama@gmail.com

Waltham’s Skellig Pub hosts the Boston Postmortem Video Game Developers Meeting on Video Game AI Programming November 19, 2009

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Wednesday night in Waltham was the November monthly Boston Postmortem networking event, held at the Skellig Pub on Waltham’s Moody Street, next to the Charles River.

As regular readers of The Hub Tech Insider will doubtless already know, I attend this event regularly and blog about it on these pages. It is a super event I highly recommend. In addition, Boston Postmortem is one of my favorite Boston tech networking groups because the crowd is unpretentious, the topics are interesting and the presenters and presentations are well prepared and excellent, and you can sit at the bar in the huge back room where the event is held at the Skellig Pub on Moody Street in Waltham, and order bangers and mash or fish and chips or a bacon cheeseburger while you drink beers and schmooze.

The Boston Postmortem Networking Group is for Video Game Developers, Animators, Designers, Digital Artists of all kinds, and people interested in Video Games and Video Game Development. Admission is Free.

The talk on Wednesday was about Artificial intelligence (AI) programming in video games.

There was an august panel of subject matter experts who fielded questions from the audience:

Christian Baekkelund (moderator)
Christian Baekkelund has worked games-related jobs in the areas of design, programming, and QA, at Electronic Arts, for the British school system, briefly at Harmonix, and most recently at 38 Studios. Between various jobs, he attended MIT, studying computer science and Comparative Media Studies, focusing on games and AI. Christian has also spoken at the Game Developers Conference and written in the AI Programming Wisdom series of books about AI, learning methods, and game design.

John Abercrombie (panelist)
John Abercrombie was the AI Lead on BIOSHOCK and SWAT 4 and is now the Lead Programmer on 2K Boston’s unannounced title. He graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Computer Science in 2000, and has worked at Irrational Games / 2K Boston ever since.

Damián Isla (panelist)
Damián Isla has been working on and writing about game technology for almost a decade. Recently, he helped found Moonshot Games, a studio dedicated to the creation of downloadable games with triple-A production values and technology. Before Moonshot, Damián was AI and Gameplay engineering lead at Bungie Studios, where he was responsible for the AI for the mega-hit first-person shooters Halo 2 and Halo 3.

An expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence for Games, Damián has spoken on games, AI and character technology at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), at the AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference (AIIDE), and at Siggraph, and is a frequent speaker at the Game Developers Conference (GDC).

Before joining the industry, Damián earned a Masters Degree at the M.I.T. Media Lab, where he did research on learning and behavior for synthetic characters. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science, also from M.I.T.

Jeff Orkin (panelist)
Jeff Orkin is a PhD candidate in the Cognitive Machines Group at the MIT Media Lab. Jeff’s research focuses on Artificial Intelligence for characters that learn to communicate and collaborate by observing humans playing online multiplayer games.

Prior to enrolling at the Media Lab, Jeff developed several generations of AI systems in the game industry. As a Senior Engineer at Monolith Productions, Jeff focused on goal-oriented autonomous character behavior and planning, while developing AI systems for the award winning titles No One Lives Forever 2 and F.E.A.R.

Jeff is a Contributing Author and Section Editor of the AI Game Programming Wisdom book series, has presented at the Game Developer’s Conference, the AI and Interactive Digital Entertainment conference (AIIDE), and the Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Sytems (AAMAS) conference, and holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington and Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Tufts University with a minor in Studio Art.

Zeemote, a Chelmsford, MA-based startup that developed a handheld game controller for use with games on mobile handsets, has closed its doors November 11, 2009

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Zeemote, a Chelmsford, MA-based startup that developed a handheld game controller for use with games on mobile handsets, has closed its doors and is putting its assets up for sale. Founded in 2005 by famed Boston-area entrepreneur Beth Marcus, the company worked with handset manufacturers Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, and RIM to make its Bluetooth-based device compatible with their phones. A partner from Waltham, MA -based Zeemote backer Commonwealth Capital Ventures confirmed the closure but offered no further details.

I was lucky enough to have met in person the CEO of Zeemote, Beth Marcus. Beth is a famed entrepreneur in the Boston area, and I met her at the time of her involvement with an Internet retailer named Glow Dog. Beth is active in the MIT Enterprise Forum and some 128 Networking and entrepreneurship circles, and after attending one of Beth’s talks on company valuation one early morning at the Newton Marriot in Newton, MA (a well-known and heavily traveled local hotspot for technology and software, hardware startups’ networking and professional group meetings in the area) Beth and I struck up a conversation, which was followed by Beth granting me a private tour of Glow Dog’s facility and retail store along Great Road in Bedford center and lunch at a local Japanese Restaurant.

Beth was generous with her time and expertise and the time she graciously spent with me that day not only provided me with several nearly priceless insights about my business plan and company (I was working on an ecommerce company at the time, TSN Corporation), but also provided a blueprint of how a successful entrepreneur should give back to the community. Beth Marcus is the real deal and I thank her heartily for her time and knowledge sharing.

Beth Marcus has been Founder and CEO of several successful startups, most notably EXOS, Inc., which was venture capital backed and sold to Microsoft in 1996. Since then she has been involved in 12 start-ups in a variety of fields as a founder, investor, or advisor. One of the companies Beth founded was called Glow Dog and was based on Great Road in Bedford. The company was an Internet retailer and sold pet products with a pet safety orientation both at retail and wholesale to many large pet-oriented retail chains both online and off. She has raised equity numerous times and has also done angel investments herself. Several of these ventures have been acquired by public companies.

Part-time between then and now, Beth has worked as a consultant providing patent strategy, litigation support, and other strategic technology-related consulting services. Beth is an acknowledged expert in the hand-device interface space and has been an expert for several of the major players in the industry in support of prior-patents litigations. That knowledge and the clear problems in using a cell phone keypad for anything but number entry led her to invention, filing of a patent application, and the founding of Zeemote, Inc.

Beth has SB and SM in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a PhD in Biomechanics from the Imperial College, London, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She has more than a dozen patents to her name and numerous publications and public speaking engagements. She has served on the faculty of MIT in the department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Marcus has been member of the Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum and the MIT Corporation Visiting Committee in Mechanical Engineering. She is also a current member of the Council for the Arts at MIT.

Zeemote JS1 Product Profile and Interview with Beth Marcus, CEO of Zeemote from Ablegamers

Zeemote Hands-On Review from Ubergizmo with Pictures of the Remote Unit for Cellular Telephones

Beth Marcus Profiled at Mass High Tech Magazine

Cambridge based visual effects software provider GenArts acquires St. Louis based Wondertouch, maker of digital animation products, for undisclosed terms November 10, 2009

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Cambridge, MA -based visual effects software provider GenArts, Inc. acquires St. Louis, MO -based Wondertouch LLC, maker of digital animation products, for undisclosed terms.

Online Music Video Game Developer Conduit Labs, based in Cambridge MA, raises $3 Million in equity funding October 30, 2009

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Conduit Labs, the Cambridge, MA-based maker of music-driven online games such as Loudcrowd, has collected $3 million in new equity financing, SEC Regulatory documents filed September 15 reveal. Conduit founder and CEO Nabeel Hyatt has publicly stated to a leading technology publication, Mass high Tech, that the funding came from Charles River Ventures of Waltham, MA, and Prism VentureWorks of Westwood, MA; Prism VentureWiorks also provided Conduit’s $5.5 million Series A round concluded in August 2007.

Boston Area Video Game Companies (list) April 17, 2009

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Boston Area Video Game Development Companies (list)

List of Boston area video game companies

Company – Location

2EastMusic – Cambridge, MA
2K Boston – Quincy, MA
360KID – Newton, MA
38 Studios – Maynard, MA
7-128 Software, LLC – Salem, MA
Activeworlds.com, Inc. – Newburyport, MA
All inPlay – Oxford, MA
Anzovin Studio – Amherst, MA
Arcane Journeys – Northampton, MA
ATI Research – Marlborough, MA
Blink Music – Cambridge, MA
Blue Fang Games – Waltham, MA
Blue Sky Red Design LLC – Somerville, MA
Cecropia – Lexington, MA
Chapter 11 Studios – Cambridge, MA
CogniToy – Acton, MA
Conduit Labs – Cambridge, MA
Cosmic Blobs – Concord, MA
Crate Entertainment – Cambridge, MA
CREAT Studios – Canton, MA
Dejobaan Games – Northborough, MA
Demiurge Studios – Cambridge, MA
Digital Fauxtography – Williamstown, MA
East Coast Games, Inc. – Milford, MA
Evolver – Warner, NH
FableVision – Boston, MA
Fastestmanintheworld Music – Exeter, NH
Fat Frog Studios – Millis, MA
Fire Hose Games – Cambridge, MA
Floodgate Entertainment – Cambridge, MA
Funkitron, Inc. – Boxford, MA
Galactic Village Games – Westford, MA
Gale Games – Greenfield, MA
GameLogic, Inc. – Waltham, MA
Greater Family, LLC – Ridgefield, CT
Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. – Cambridge, MA
ImaginEngine Corp. – Framingham, MA
Injoy Games – Brookline, MA
Macguffin Games – Waltham, MA
Max Gaming Technologies, LLC – Newton, MA
Mecha Software, LLC – Brockton, MA
Metaversal Studios – Boston, MA
Moonset Studios Corp. – Nashua, NH
Motus Games – Cambridge, MA
Muzzy Lane Software – Newburyport, MA
Orbus Gameworks – Cambridge, MA
Paul Hake Productions – Greenfield, MA
Pileated Pictures – Shelburne Falls, MA
Play Hard Sports – Foxborough, MA
Pod Design – Lexington, MA
Rockstar New England – Andover, MA
Small Fry Studios – Cambridge, MA
SONiVOX – Somerville, MA
Sports Mogul, Inc. – Medford, MA
Stock’s Eye – Granby, MA
Tilted Mill Entertainment, Inc. – Wellesley, MA
Turbine, Inc. – Westwood, MA
Twitchy Thumbs Entertainment – Ashland, MA
Vermont Digital Arts – Guilford, VT
Whatif Productions – Belmont, MA
Wicked Noise – a division of The Troupe – Windham, NH
WorldWinner.com – Newton, MA

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About the author.

I’m Paul Seibert, Editor of Boston’s Hub Tech Insider, a Boston focused technology blog. I have been working in the software engineering and ecommerce industries for over fifteen years. My interests include electronics, robotics, programmable logic and microcontrollers, and I am an avid outdoorsman and guitar player. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, even friend me on Facebook if you’re cool.

I own and am trying to sell a dual-zoned, residential & commercial Office Building in the center of Natick, Massachusetts. I have a professional background in entrepreneurship, ecommerce, telecommunications and software development, I’m the Director, Technical Projects at eSpendWise, I’m a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Tshirtnow.net.

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Steve Meretzky Boston PostMortem Keynote Video from Jan 16th, 2008: ‘The Most Perfect Video Game’ + Interview from 1994 April 17, 2009

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Speech by Steve Meretzky at Boston Postmortem. Title of talk: The Most Perfect Video Game. Jan 16, 2008.

Interview with Steve Meretzky, 1994. Interactive Entertainment CD-ROM magazine (IE) conducted a video interview with Steve Meretzky during his Boffo Games years; presented on the CD as a series of short answering videos to clickable questions, this video reassembles them in a linear fashion. The original video was roughly 240 pixels across, hence the quality of the recording…

Double Tap Games: Nintendo DS-oriented game studio sprouts up in Cambridge April 16, 2009

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Two primary executives formerly of THQ’s now-defunct Helixe studio have formed an exciting new game company in Cambridge, oriented to the white-hot Nintendo DS platform. Helixe created the movie-themed DS games Wall-E and Ratatouille, among many others including a Star Wars-themed game, The New Droid Army, for the Nintendo GBA. Double Tap Games, headed by Kurt Bickenbach and Richard Corredera, is aiming for “new games and franchises” with a fresh approach, appearing in the second half of 2009.

The company has a developer staff with over nineteen years and 10 million units of collective experience on the Nintendo DS and Gameboy Advance, having worked in such outfits as Sony Online Entertainment, Looking Glass Studios, and obviously, THQ.

Director of Business Development Richard Corredera, formerly of Sony Online Entertainment in San Diego and most recently Technical Director at Helixe, has stated that the new company is working on a few titles that have been slated for development, although no specific details or release schedules have been announced. From the company’s website:

“Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the DoubleTap team carries extensive experience in crafting online games of varying scale, as well as movie and TV licensed based games such as WALL•E, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Tak, Jimmy Neutron, Fairly Odd Parents, Scooby Doo, Star Wars, and many others, with an understanding of a licenser’s ever-changing properties.

DoubleTap Games is committed to redefining online multiplayer experiences available on the Nintendo platforms. DoubleTap is confident the online Nintendo market will continue to grow and transform, and strives to speak to its audience in an uncommon way, with uncompromising quality.”

An exciting aspect of Double Tap’s intentions in the marketplace appears to be their emphasis on the online gameplay component of the Nintendo DS. This burgeoning new point of emphasis for Nintendo DS games, which as a platform has been relatively slow to adopt the online gameplay approach, could indeed deliver big success to the Cambridge-based Double Tap Games.

Click here for information on Double Tap’s Boston-based Development Team

Click here for information on Double Tap’s Development Team’s History in Nintendo Gaming

Play Rock Band with the Harmonix Developers! Tonight in Central Square, Boston! 10pm $7 to get in! April 16, 2009

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Play Rock Band with the Harmonix Crew, Tonight at ImprovBoston in Central Square!

Play Rock Band with the Harmonix Crew, Tonight at ImprovBoston in Central Square!

Meet the Harmonix Crew (I met alot of these Harmonix folks at Boston Post Mortem last Tuesday at the Skellig in Waltham; They are a great bunch, and accessible despite their world-ringing mega-success) tonight, and play their megahit Rock Band with them. The event will be tonight, in Central Square in Boston, 10pm at ImprovBoston. 40 Prospect Street. $7 admittance.

Portfolio Show at The New England Institute of Art, Friday, April 17th, 1-5pm April 16, 2009

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New England Institute of Art: Portfolio Show

New England Institute of Art: Portfolio Show

There will be a portfolio show at The New England Institute of Art, Friday, April 17th, from 1 to 5 pm. The event will take place at the Courtyard by Marriott, 777 Memorial Drive in Cambridge, MA. For more information, please call 800-903-4425.

GamerDNA.com : New Gamer Social Network Site Opens in Cambridge April 15, 2009

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A new social networking site for Gamers has opened in Cambridge. The site is called GamerDNA.com, and they are funded by Flybridge Capital Partners of Boston. From the site’s ‘About’ page:

gamerDNA is the place to build and express your unique gamer identity. We want to help you discover, extend and better enjoy games from wherever you play online.
At the core of our company is the gamerDNA Discovery Engine, powered by a database of gameplay patterns and passionate feedback from gamers like you. By applying the collective intelligence of our community, we’re able to understand why you play the games you do, so:

* You can uncover new games you’ll enjoy
* Game developers can design better games with the features you’ll want
* You gain a powerful new voice in the world of games

Getting started is easy… Just let us know where you play (Console, PC, Mobile) and well automatically update your achievements, scores, characters, etc. and transport your gamerDNA anywhere you want to go on the Internet, including popular social media sites like Twitter.
Beyond social media sites, gamerDNA is also working with popular fansites, blogs and gaming communities to make gamerDNA a part of your experience elsewhere on the Web. Our Alliance Network of over 4 million gamers includes some of the largest gaming communities around the world including, WoWJutsu.com, ElitistJerks.com and MapleTip.com.

Our mantra is to know gamers better than any company in the world so we listen carefully to what you have to say about games and are constantly striving to learn what you love about them.”

Independent Game Developers Meetup, Monday, 16 May at BetaHouse in Cambridge April 15, 2009

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Scott Macmillan, founder of Macguffin Games, will be hosting a new meetup group focusing on independent video game development and publishing in Boston. The meeting will take place on Monday, 16 May, at BetaHouse in Cambridge. For more details, please contact Boston Indies Google Group.

MacGuffin Games is working on a very intriguing new game, called Heritage, which is due to be released soon for Linux, Mac and PC.

There is a page on their site which has a sneak peek at some Heritage Concept Art.

WPI’s Interactive Media and Game Design Program features 1st Annual ShowFest -Thursday, April 26 at WPI in Worcester April 15, 2009

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Thursday, April 26
The Interactive Media and Game Development Program at WPI features the first annual IMGD ShowFest:
Atwater Kent Labs, Room 116 (Newell Hall), 11am

For more details, contact Dean O’Donnell, Associate Director of the IMGD Program at WPI

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