Technology Strategy Board in outreach to gaming industry.
The UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has announced a £125,000 prize for gaming startups.
Five prize winners will receive £25,000 each, and will also receive support and business introductions from IC Tomorrow, which is part of the TSB and is leading the prize.
The "Digital Innovation Contest – Games" competition culminates in pitch before a panel of four experts.
The contenders are to propose solutions to five challenges, each set by partners of the competition who are Intel, Google Chrome,Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Crytek UK, Odeon Cinemas and Pinewood Studios.
The challenges are: Second-screen use in a game (SCEE); New markets and perceptual computing (Intel); Wider games distribution on mobile web (Google Chrome); Open street map data (Crytek UK); and Games and cinema (Odeon Cinemas and Pinewood studios).
"We will fund you – you can keep your IP – [and] we’ll put you in the room with the right people and help you build your prototype," said Matt Sansam, IC Tomorrow programme manager.
Ideal candidates will propose an idea that is innovative, whether that be a business, creative, or technical innovation innovation, but also show an awareness of their market, pitch an idea that fits the challenge and also has a viable business model.
"If you can pitch those four on the day, then you’re in a good place," says Sansam.
"It’s about the commercial potential, it’s got to be an idea that has a viable commercial model. If the model is freemium, that’s fine. It could be about driving footfall, or engaging with the community. It doesn’t have to be a [69p] app," he adds.
Challenge one, second-screen use in a game, demands that entrants develop "an innovative and original game application prototype that is split across two or more screens and/or is a unique and indispensable use of second-screen game mechanics".
Applicants to challenge two, open street map data, should develop a solution that "integrates open street map data with existing game engines".
Challenge three concerns gestural and "natural user" controls including speech recognition, face tracking, finger tracking and object tracking.
Making it as easy as possible for players to start gaming sessions online is the task set by Google Chrome in challenge four, and developing a prototype that encourages audience interaction in the 20 minutes before a film starts, or even when the screen is not in use, is the challenge set by Odeon Cinema and Pinewood Studios.
"[The competition is partly] an outreach piece for the gaming industry," said Sansam. "There are funding opportunities and there are partners who want to work with you…There are opportunities to take your skills as an entertainment developer that you maybe weren’t aware of."