‘Kingdom Keepers’ Online Game Now Accepting Applications for Beta Testers

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Through his twitter, Kingdom Keepers author Ridley Pearson has announced that the developers of the Kingdom Keepers online game are now accepting applications for beta testing. The only requirement for applicants is that they are at least 13 years of age.

To apply for beta access to the game, fill out the application here.

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Patent Application for Disney’s ‘Keychest’ Technology Made Public

The US Patent Office has recently published a patent application by Disney Enterprises which appears to be the groundwork for Disney’s announced digital rights management (DRM) technology dubbed ‘Keychest.’

The technology is intended to allow an individual to purchase the right to a movie or a song or book or any other type of protected content and be able to play that same content on any number of multimedia devices with just the single purchase. For example, songs purchased through iTunes are limited not just to iPod/iPhone/iTunes devices, but specific ones. With ‘Keychest’ technology, that song might also be able to be played on a PC using any copy of iTunes (or even another application), on any other mobile device, etc. The same would apply for movies. For example, purchase the latest Disney film on DVD and immediately be able to stream it on your friend’s computer or play it on your cell phone, all at no additional cost.

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First Look: Disney Online’s World of Cars, Plus News for Other Disney MMOs

Earlier today I had the opportunity to visit Disney Online at the International Toy Fair in New York City and got a preview at Disney’s newest massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, The World of Cars in addition to some of the new and not-yet-released enhancements to Disney Online’s other worlds.

Sharing a lot in common with the Club Penguin model, the World of Cars is completely Adobe Flash-based. This means there are no downloads required aside from the common plug-in that most folks should already have. Although I probably should know better than to be impressed to how the game has been implemented inside the Flash engine, I still am. The game looks very appealing with a great heads-up display (HUD) loaded with information and controls while still leaving plenty of room for the actual gameplay.

As you might imagine, you will assume the role of a car in Radiator Springs. The action in the game takes place after the first movie — Lightning returns to the sleepy town after winning the Piston Cup and has set up shop in the middle of Downtown Radiator Springs. Throughout the game, you’ll encounter all of your favorite characters from the film with all new original dialogue as recorded by the original actors with exception to Owen Wilson (Lightning), Paul Newman (Doc Hudson) and George Carlin (Fillmore), the latter two having passed away prior to the studio work. For those three, Disney has brought in soundalikes who do a really good job at filling in some rather large tires.

Meeting the characters, who are non-player characters (NPCs), meaning they’re automatic and interaction is quite limited, you’ll often find a yellow exclamation point over their heads. This means they want to talk to you and might even have a job for you. Performing jobs for the characters will yield you rewards, often being money and additional jobs.

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ESPN360.com to Become Network Moniker-Friendly ESPN3.com in April

ESPN3.com Logo

On April 4, ESPN360.com, ESPN’s 24/7 broadband sports network, will become ESPN3.com.  At that time the network will also introduce new features and functionality that will enhance the viewing experience. Details of these enhancements will be released closer to the launch in the spring.

“The name ESPN3.com more closely aligns with the existing naming convention for our networks,” said Sean Bratches, executive vice president, sales and marketing. “We have approached this as a network for years, and as users have become more accustomed to engaging with content across various screens, it made sense to make adjustments that reflect both the product’s and the industry’s evolution.”

Added Damon Phillips, vice president, ESPN3.com, “The network will continue to offer the same great content that sports fans have come to expect, with more than 3,500 live events annually.  We look forward to rolling out new enhancements to offer the best viewing experience possible in the months ahead.”

ESPN3.com will continue to give consumers control over their broadband sports viewing experience with the ability to pause and rewind live events.  Fans will continue to be able to toggle between up to 20 events in a main viewing window, and with a single click, jump to another event. Video can be viewed in widescreen (16:9) and normal (4:3) views and can be expanded to full screen or reduced to a compact size.  Recently completed events will continue to be archived and available for on-demand replay.

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ABC News to Begin Offering Content on Hulu

ABC News today announced that ABC News programming from its platforms and shows will be featured on a branded page on Hulu, an online video service. The site will feature short form news content and long form programming from morning to night — including “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline,” “This Week,” “20/20? and “Primetime” limited series.

“We’re happy to be able to provide our audience with another way to watch ABC News,” said David Westin, President, ABC News. “We look forward to sharing our reporting with users on one of the top video destinations on the Internet.”

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New ESPNRadio.com Player with Instant Replay Allows Listeners to Pause and Rewind Live Streams

ESPN today launches two new web-based players on ESPNRadio.com with the completely revamped super stream player with launch partner Yahoo!, introducing the new Instant Replay feature and the launch of Super Week webcam just in time for the days leading up to Super Bowl XLIV between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.

The new Instant Replay feature will give sports fans control over their digital audio experience, literally.  Using exclusive technology, listeners will now have the ability to pause and rewind live streaming programming for up to 30 minutes on all accessible ESPN stations within the newly enhanced super stream player.  Other highlights of the player include:

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MySpace Music Exclusively Debuts Single from ‘Almost Alice’ Soundtrack; Full Album to Follow

MySpace Music will exclusively premiere songs from the upcoming Alice in Wonderland soundtrack Almost Alice, beginning with 3OH!3’s ‘Follow Me Down.’ In the upcoming weeks, MySpace is set to debut more tracks from the soundtrack including ‘Alice’ from Avril Lavigne on February 4 and ‘Painting Flowers’ from All Time Low, all leading up to streaming the entire album on February 28.

To listen to ‘Follow Me Down’ from 3OH!3, visit http://www.myspace.com/music.

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ABC Teams with CafePress.com to Allow Fans to Create Unique Authorized Merchandise

ABC Entertainment Group and CafePress, the online epicenter for user-designed apparel and gifts, today announced a licensing agreement that allows TV fans to design and sell authorized show merchandise. Fans of the hit ABC shows – Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs and Schoolhouse Rock along with Legend of the Seeker (from ABC Studios) – can unleash their creativity to design custom apparel and gifts by following the official guidelines. Fans can visit CafePress.com to create products and purchase merchandise designed by other fans fully encompassing fan engagement within this merchandise platform. In addition, CafePress will be launching a shop featuring official Schoolhouse Rock merchandise.

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Hyperion Launches Book’s Companion Site to Battle Teen Suicide and Bullying

Earlier this month, By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead Julie Anne Peters was released by Disney’s Hyperion publishing.

In the book, teenager Daelyn Rice, who has faced a life of bullying, decides once and for all that her next suicide attempt will be the last. To ensure success, she turns to a fictitious online website, http://www.through-the-light.com which helps its readers become ‘completers.’

With the pseudo-site obviously bound to gain attention from the web-curious, Peters and Hyperion have debuted a site today under the fictious name, opting instead to use it as a means of invoking discussions in addition to providing information and resources on teen suicides and bullying.

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Disney May Be Seeking to Limit Starz Control Over Online Distribution of Films

Bloomberg reports that Disney and Starz are in negotiations concerning future exclusivity the network has to upcoming releases from Walt Disney Studios. Currently, the Starz cable network has first rights to live action films from Disney and wishes to continue the option for as long as five years, but at dispute is the digital rights to the films which Starz would would be able to farm out to online services such as Netflix, whereas Disney is reportedly looking to prevent Starz from having such capabilities.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise, however, as Disney has been generating news lately with Iger constantly promoting Disney’s own subscription-based services, not to mention the forthcoming Keychest technology.

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