Indie game contest winners get more than prize; will learn if game will actually sell

by: Ben Berry -
More On: PAX East 2010
With the Indie Game portion of PAX East coming up this weekend, this seems like an interesting piece of news. There's a group that essentially does market research to predict a games potential in the marketplace. This group donated their high end package which normally costs around $30k to the people who won the first Indie Game Challenge last month at the D.I.C.E. conference.

It's fascinating, as someone who has both played games and worked in other aspects of the software industry to see the focus move from small independant companies with an idea, to these megacompanies that bring the ability to unleash a game on the whole world with a coordinated marketing blitz; only to see the focus shift back to the small companies because of the need for new fresh ideas and approaches.

I'm excited to see the games this weekend, and maybe get an early peek at next years winner.
Indie Game Challenge Winners Continue to Earn Rewards: Top Two Games Awarded $30,000 EEDAR Research Tool
Dallas, Texas – (March 24, 2010) – Winning teams of the inaugural Indie Game Challenge (IGC) continue to reap rewards beyond the $100,000 grand prizes that were presented to both the professional and non-professional video game development teams at an awards ceremony held at the conclusion of the 9th Annual D.I.C.E. Summit last month in Las Vegas.
The exceptional quality and innovation of all 12 finalist games prompted Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR) chief executives to add to the winners’ cache of prizes by providing the winning teams with its DesignMetrics® title assessment – a $30,000 value.
“The IGC is a catalyst for infusing the video game industry with innovative, progressive talent by cultivating the untapped potential of independent game developers. The competition was designed to help launch careers by leveraging as many opportunities as possible,” said Dr. Peter Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, one of the three sponsors of the IGC, which include GameStop Corp. and the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.   “The fact that EEDAR approached us about offering an additional benefit to competition winners speaks volumes about the caliber of talent and demonstrates the innumerable ways that this event can help jumpstart a career in the industry.”
According to Mr. Greg Short, President and CEO of EEDAR, the assessment includes a game feature analysis, retail sales projection, historical competitor analysis, market sizing evaluation and risk assessment. EEDAR’s patented technologies evaluate more than 15 million historical data points to provide the only neural network regression based forecasting service for the video game industry.
 “The world’s leading publishers use EEDAR’s assessment services to help improve the potential profitability of their in-development titles and to increase internal efficiencies by identifying the level of investment necessary for features to be competitive in the current market,” Short explained. “for developers, having this data prior to meeting with publishers gives them a greater opportunity to secure the deals they are after.”
Rob Jagnow, lead for the winning professional team, Lazy 8 Studios, said $100,000 and use of EEDAR’s research is huge for a small independent game development studio as his.
“The entire experience at D.I.C.E. was unbelievable,” Jagnow added. “IGC offered all finalist teams with a once in a lifetime experience. To be immersed in the heart of the video game industry amid icons and those who are on their way to becoming icons as well as one-on-one meetings with key decision makers for major publishers was more than we ever imagined.”
The non-professional $100,000 Grand Prize Winner was Gear from Team 3. The team members are students at the Digipen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Wash.
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