GameStop backs $300,000 indie game contest

GameStop backs $300,000 indie game contest
Michael French

By Michael French

July 15th 2009 at 1:13PM

Retail giant joins with Guildhall at SMU and AIAS for Indie Game Challenge

A number of key companies from the US games industry have united for a new independent developer competition.

Retail behemoth GameStop, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences - also organiser of the DICE conference - and university The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University have put together the Indie Game Challenge.

Professional and non-professional individuals or teams are asked to submit game betas and game pitch videos between July 14th October 1st which will be judged by the AIAS. 

Some $300,000 in prize money and scholarships, plus a $100,000 grand prize awards for both the winning professional and non-professional games, are up for grabs.

12 finalist teams will be announced on January 15th, 2010, and they are promised national exposure and are eligible for additional prize money by having their pitch videos posted on GameStop.com and GameStop TV for People’s Choice Award voting. Winners will be named at DICE in February next year.

Complete entry and contest details are available at  www.indiegamechallenge.com.

Plus, each finalist team will receive the chance to pitch their game ideas face-to-face to executives from the likes of Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Microsoft, NAMCO/Bandai, THQ and Ubisoft. 

“Our entire industry is dependent on the cultivation of new, cutting edge game developers who continue to stretch the boundaries and imaginations of gamers,” said Mike Hogan, senior vice president of marketing, GameStop Corp.

“By joining forces with The Guildhall at SMU and AIAS we hope to stimulate a new generation of game developers and reward them with cash awards and scholarships. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Challenge for competitors is the potentially life-changing opportunity to meet face-to-face with professionals who have helped make the gaming industry the success it is today.”

Dr. Peter E. Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU, which has already established a strong reputation for games education in the US, said: “The Indie Game Challenge furthers the university’s goal of continued collaboration with the video game industry to educate and train professionals for the present and leaders for the future.

"Like the music and film industries before it, independent developers are an essential and driving part of the gaming industry. We’re excited about the potential of the Indie Game Challenge and look forward to working with both GameStop and AIAS to identify some of the great new ideas the competition is sure to create.”

“The partnership of GameStop, The Guildhall at SMU and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences is a smart one in that we are each heavily vested in unlocking and cultivating the potential of independent game developers,” added Joseph Olin, president, AIAS.

“The Indie Game Challenge is innovative in that it motivates talented developers to compete, but more importantly it offers them the potentially life-changing opportunity to pitch their ideas to industry giants and make invaluable connections.  That alone is a priceless experience that many independent developers can only dream about.”