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Peterborough’s Bloom Digital Media Releases Inclusive Video Game on Nintendo Switch in North America and Europe - 2018-12-05
Independent game company Bloom Digital Media is bringing their flagship title LongStory, an LGBTQ+ inclusive game, to the Nintendo Switch in North America and Europe on December 6. LongStory was first released on Google Play and the App Store in 2014, and has since received one million downloads worldwide and was featured on the App Store during Global Pride Week 2018.
The dating sim game has an eight episode story arc, set at the weirdly lovable Weasel Heights Middle School. It lets you pick your gender designation and pronouns, as well as who, or even if, you would like to date any of your romanceable friends. In addition to the pains and pleasures of romance, LongStory offers players the chance to reflect on complex issues including consent, coming out, social anxiety, and bullying – all in a safe environment.
Miriam Verburg, creator and executive producer of Bloom Digital Media, says most relationship games reinforce negative stereotypes.
“Teens need a game that feels authentic,” says Verburg. “They are living in the twenty-first century and they need a romantic game that reflects their reality. LongStory provides an opportunity for players to take control of their choices and their experience.”
According to the National Post, 10% of young Canadians aged 18-34 identify as LGBTQ+, and according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, those who identify as LGBTQ+ face higher risks for some mental health issues due to the effects of discrimination and the social determinants of health.
Bloom Digital Media announced their second title at the Queerness and Games conference in Montreal last September, Later Daters. It is an inclusive interactive romance game featuring a cast of quirky seniors in search of love at an independent living residence. It is as a humorous and narrative-driven game that explores lessons on love, life and loss. Much like how The Golden Girls has experienced a renaissance amongst a whole new generation of viewers, the lessons in Later Daters will resonate with gamers of all ages.
Bloom Digital Media was founded by Miriam Verburg, who has won several awards for their innovative games, and has been featured in publications such as VICE, Huffington Post, attn, and the Globe and Mail. Verburg is a strong advocate for promoting female talent within Ontario’s game industry, through her participation in organizations like Dames Making Games, Interactive Ontario and as a sessional faculty member at Centennial and Humber College. Despite comprising 50% of the game consumer population, women are still underrepresented as game developers.
“Bloom Digital Media well represents how Peterborough’s startups are staying ahead of the game for technology innovation,” says Michael Skinner, President & CEO of the Innovation Cluster. “Tackling social issues within the games space raises the bar for the industry as a whole.”
According to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report, 2.3 billion gamers across the globe will spend $137.9 billion on games in 2018. This represents an increase of +13.3% from the year before, or $16.2 billion. Digital game revenues will take 91% of the global market with $125.3 billion.
Cavan’s Monaghan Lumber Specialties Becomes One of the First Building Material Suppliers in Canada to Embrace Augmented Reality Releasing New Mobile App With Local Startup Kavtek - 2018-12-05
Kavtek, a local Peterborough startup specializing in augmented reality home design and renovation, has released an innovative new mobile app for Monaghan Lumber located in Cavan to provide an amazing mobile-first shopping experience to customers.
By introducing Kavtek’s game-changing technology, Monaghan Lumber’s award-winning speciality wood products will be brought right into the homes of consumers. The app allows users to overlay Monaghan Lumber’s digital flooring on top of their existing floors to see how the room will look without having to leave their own home. Using the camera on a smartphone, the app gives the impression that Monaghan Lumber’s floors have already been installed, allowing fast and efficient home renovations.
Monaghan Lumber is now one of the first building material suppliers in Canada to embrace augmented reality. The Kawarthas have set the stage to become early adopters of innovative home remodeling tools.
“From day one working with Sanu and the Kavtek team has been an excellent experience,” says Warren Rose, Director of Sales and Public Relations at Monaghan Lumber. “We recognized the potential to help consumers by pairing Kavtek’s speciality, Augmented Reality, with our speciality, Flooring. The immediate impact on our service and customer experience has been tremendous, we look forward to using the new technology while we work closely with Designers, Builders, Renovators, and DIY’ers.”
The Augmented Reality Software Market for the consumer sector is projected to reach over $13 Billion by 2022. Kavtek has been able to implement these opportunities into local businesses like Monaghan Lumber.
“Monaghan Lumber was one of our very first customers, they believed in our vision and we are very excited to introduce augmented reality to their consumer base,” says Sanu Somaweera, Co-Founder of Kavtek. “AR is an amazing way for companies like Monaghan Lumber to connect with Millennials and Generation Z. The app caters to the Uberized generation of consumers that need instant gratification by empowering them to visualize products in their space – effortlessly.”
As a client of the Innovation Cluster, Kavtek has been growing the company and utilizing the Peterborough area to gain partnerships with RE/MAX Integra, Wayfair, and Dulux Paints.
“Kavtek is encouraging the home and residential renovation industry to push the limits and adopt new technologies,” says Michael Skinner, President & CEO of the Innovation Cluster. “With AR innovation rapidly growing, Kavtek has been able to utilize the Virtual and Augmented Reality Zone sponsored by RBC within the incubator to get ahead of industry competitors and become leaders in their sector.”
Monaghan Lumber app trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EtPmpXY5b0
Entrepreneur Wins Cubs’ Lair With Innovative Solution to Advance Archaeological Site Data Through Virtual Reality - 2018-11-23
After five innovative pitches were made during the annual Cubs’ Lair competition hosted by FastStart Peterborough, the Innovation Cluster and the Trent Youth Entrepreneurship Society, Jeremy Brooks of AVROD was announced as the winner of the final prize package of over $10,000 to help push forward his startup at the Gordon Best Theatre on Nov. 22.
As an archaeology student at Trent University and self proclaimed digital Indiana Jones, Jeremy created AVROD with a mission to advance the way archaeologists work and learn. AVROD stands for Archaeological virtual reality online database.
Leading up to the competition, Jeremy has been working through his Masters program at Trent University to bring AVROD to life. Working out of the Innovation Cluster incubator and utilizing The Cube’s Virtual and Augmented Reality Zone, Jeremy has been able to turn two archaeological sites into a virtual reality experience, one of them being in Mongolia. Users will be able to magically transport to a site of their preference and interact with the archaeological site.
“AVROD allows students to learn about global sites without having to travel there, not to mention avoiding potentially dangerous countries,” says Brooks.
Jeremy plans to continue creating interactive sites across Canada, eventually developing site data globally.
“Jeremy has been working tirelessly on AVROD since competing in Cubs’ Lair last year,” says Rosalea Terry, Marketing Manager and Senior Innovation Specialist. “Jeremy has been successful at utilizing resources like the Innovation Cluster’s virtual reality zone.”
The judging panel for the night was Kate Withers – Business Development Manager, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Jennifer Olauson – Academic Chair, School of Business, Fleming College, Diane Richard – President, Diatom Consulting, Jim Gastle – Patent Agent – Gastle & Associates and Helen Smith – CPA, CMA, CGMA, Part Time CFO Services.
The judges commented that Jeremy has high potential to grow his business as his platform is first-to-market and there is a need for it in the industry.
Statistics show the majority of virtual reality platforms created are for gaming, second being neuroscience, and the third being education like AVROD’s platform.
The runners up of Cubs’ Lair are Alexander Optical and Opened Minds.
Jeremy will now be able to push his startup with the grand prize package, which is a value of $10,000 and includes:
The prize package is worth over $10,000 and includes:
$2500 value of 6 month incubation space at the Innovation Cluster
$1500 worth of WCKD Marketing digital marketing services
$1500 in digital advertising from KawarthaNow
2-year cash flow budgeting preparation from Gauvreau & Associates with a $1,500 value
Inclusive Advisory is donating 1-year bookkeeping/accounting/tax returns which has a $1,500 value
6 hours of coaching and mentorship from The Land Canadian Adventures valued at $1,500
$1500 worth of Part Time CFO Services management consulting services
3-hour coaching session from Walton Wood Farms (featured on Dragon’s Den) valued at $750
A Ptbo Canada social media package worth $400
A Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce 3-star membership $350 value
$500 in cash from the Peterborough Region Angel Network
A business package from Marketing Ink worth $500
Brant Basics office supply basket $25 value
- Peterborough’s Bloom Digital Media Releases Inclusive Video Game on Nintendo Switch in North America and Europe
- Cavan’s Monaghan Lumber Specialties Becomes One of the First Building Material Suppliers in Canada to Embrace Augmented Reality Releasing New Mobile App With Local Startup Kavtek
- Entrepreneur Wins Cubs’ Lair With Innovative Solution to Advance Archaeological Site Data Through Virtual Reality
- Hall of Fame Quarterback Doug Flutie Becomes Brand Ambassador for Local Company Canuck Play’s Maximum Football Title
- Trent University’s Newly Launched Bata Library Gains Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation Centre to Support Aspiring Entrepreneurs