Indie Game Challenge offers almost $300,000 in prizes

Indie Game Challenge offers almost $300,000 in prizes

Contest gives aspiring video game developers a chance to showcase talents

July 15, 2009

DALLAS (SMU) – GameStop Corp., The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) today announced the launch of the Indie Game Challenge. 

The Challenge is designed to be the preeminent competition for video game developers by offering winners almost $300,000 in prize monies and scholarships, including $100,000 grand prize awards for both the winning professional and non-professional games. 

In addition, finalists will receive national exposure and be eligible for additional prize money by having their pitch videos posted on and GameStop TV for People’s Choice Award voting.  Complete entry and contest details are available at (Also see the Fact Sheet.)

Professional and non-professional individuals or teams are asked to submit game betas and game pitch videos between July 14 and Oct. 1, 2009.  Judging will be conducted by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. 

Up to 12 finalist teams will be announced on or about Jan. 15, 2010, and up to five members of each finalist team will be flown to an awards reception Feb. 19, 2010, at the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas following AIAS’s D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit.  D.I.C.E. is an annual conference dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression as they uniquely apply to the development of interactive entertainment.

In addition to the awards presentation, each finalist team will receive the unique opportunity to pitch their game ideas face-to-face to executives from top publishers such as Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Microsoft, NAMCO/Bandai, THQ and Ubisoft.  These meetings will allow competitors to receive valuable input and have the opportunity to open up commercial avenues for their games.

“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.”

According to Dr. Peter E. Raad, founder and executive director of The Guildhall at SMU, the institution has quickly established itself as a premier destination for students whose goal it is to enter into game development and digital communications media. 

“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,” said Dr. Raad.  “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,” said 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.”

About GameStop Corp.
GameStopHeadquartered in Grapevine, TX, GameStop Corp., a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company, is the world's largest video game and entertainment software retailer. The company operates 6,244 retail stores in 17 countries worldwide. The company also operates an e-commerce site,, and publishes Game Informer(R) magazine, a leading multi-platform video game publication. GameStop Corp. sells new and used video game software, hardware and accessories for video game systems from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. In addition, the company sells PC entertainment software, related accessories and other merchandise. 

About The Guildhall at SMU
The Guildhall at SMUThe Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the U.S. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. In six years, the program has graduated over 300 students, and alums work at more than 80 video game studios around the world, with several graduates now serving in leadership positions. SMU offers both a Master’s degree and a graduate Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design, and software development.

About the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Academy of Interactive Arts and SciencesThe Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) was founded in 1996 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of the interactive arts.  The Academy’s mission is to promote and advance common interests in the worldwide interactive entertainment community; recognize outstanding achievements in the interactive arts and sciences; and conduct an annual awards show (Interactive Achievement Awards) to enhance awareness of the interactive art form.  The Academy also strives to provide a voice for individuals in the interactive entertainment community.

Media Contacts:

Charles Hodges
GameStop Corp.

Ron Jenkins
The Guildhall at SMU

Geri Gordon Miller
Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
818-876-0826 x202

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