Activision launches indie game competition

Publisher now accepting submissions for national contest with first place receiving $175,000 cash prize; winner to be announced in October.

In a featured presentation at March's DICE Summit, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick pledged to foster independent game development with an open competition awarding $500,000 to creators working outside the mainstream.

Today the publisher made good on that pledge, as it opened up submissions for the first round of its inaugural Activision Independent Games Competition. Game makers have until August 31 to submit their entries, and a winner will be announced in October. The first-place submission will garner a cash prize of $175,000 to assist with the game's development, with the runner-up receiving $75,000. The second round of the competition (and how it will determine who gets the remaining $250,000) will be detailed at a later date.

The new face of indie gaming?

Eager creators should pay attention to what constitutes an eligible entry and what rights Activision will have regarding submissions. While the publisher doesn't lay down definitions as to what constitutes an indie developer, it does state, "Each entrant must be someone who did not purchase any equipment for the purposes of entering this contest." Additionally, submitted games cannot have been "exhibited or displayed publicly through any means," and Activision will get first right of refusal for publishing deals for entrants selected as finalists.

For more on the competition, check out the official rules for the Activision Independent Games Competition.

Written By

Discussion

56 comments
gbrading
gbrading moderator

Of course, Activision-Blizzard, the largest publisher in the industry, supporting Indie development. Colour me unconvinced.

Jebril
Jebril

Activision already has a problem, it's name. It can't escape what it's already done in the past, even if they had an amazing indie developer help em' it would take a ton of good games before people could start respecting this game again. They've released way too much trash to the gamer world and most gamers stay away from games published by em' now.

DarkAngeles
DarkAngeles

Valve and their digital distribution system Steam have already promoted indie games for years now.

MrHatnClogs
MrHatnClogs

As Admiral Ackbar once said "It's a trap!"

spOOoOOn
spOOoOOn

Que activision whining in 3...2...1...

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

plus I bet they will keep all submissions. so for a relatively cheap price they get a massive ideas pool, or even new properties. they are the most dishonest group in the industry.

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

Any "design competition" are such bull! Not only does it pit people against each other, but is a ploy for Activistion to find new properties without doing any real work. At my university, our Student Jobs center doesn't allow this because of these reasons and the problems associated with it. Unfortunately the University its self did a competition for a 100th anniversary logo. 1 of the 2 finalist ripped off the Habs' 100 anniversary logo, and the other, though done legitimately (they were my friends), found out a day after the submissions that the students center's logo was very similar. no winner was picked, and when the school's re-brand occurred there was no competition.

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

I don't like activision, but I do think this benefits all

supdotcom
supdotcom

activision is getting desperate now since their oh so precious mw series is down the drain.

brok
brok

At least they're LOOKING for new ideas. Most companies can't even be bothered to do that.

shivLasers
shivLasers

Robert Kotick: Killing franchises is his lifes work

firehawk998
firehawk998

Translation :- We are out of ideas for an IP we can milk. Give us new games so you can work with us. Within 5 years we will milk your IP dry, blame you then fire you and then will keep milking your IP with our studios.

hectadectagon
hectadectagon

Cheap PR for them really, 500k is a drop in the ocean for them. Hopefully this turns out to be as it would appear on the surface, a way for someone to display their talent and show a few established devs a thing or two about creativity. If it turns south then a few people will be saying 'told you so' and the rest will buy more overpriced DLC for MW2.

FarmFreshDX
FarmFreshDX

Why would Activision care about this if they weren't getting something out of it? Think about it. Given their reputation, I'm sure they'll pull a legal gotcha and suddenly have the right to rip off your product and milk it to death. If it were a company like Valve hosting it, that would be different, but Kotick doesn't do anything that doesn't directly make them money.

lamprey263
lamprey263

they're trying to acquire rights to a new IP that can earn them a lot of money while at the same time probably using this as a tax write-off, and in the end they'll probably cheat over whoever wins when it comes to publishing and permanent ownership of the IP

Barighm
Barighm

I should submit an indie game called "Call of Duty: My Version". Maybe I'll win simply because I'm trying to help promote the Call of Duty brand...or they will saddle me with the job of making MW2 DLC.

Ver_Guitarman
Ver_Guitarman

Activision ran out of ideas, so they thought of finding a new IP through the players/indie makers. Awesum. At least we'll get something good out of them.

Modestyle
Modestyle

What! No entries from Canada! That money was practically mine! Can we start a petition for this? Who’s with me?

Beastcake
Beastcake

I like how everybody has the same idea about what this is going to turn into.

MAILER_DAEMON
MAILER_DAEMON moderator

@RadicalToenail: If so, I've got a good attorney. :P Besides, I'm not an editor, nor am I on CBS' payroll... I have no game with Activision's name on it, so nothing to gain or lose. :o

Slash_out
Slash_out

The money is tempting, but in the end the poor indie devs with no money to defend themselves in court will get screwed over by Activision. Activision doesn't treat well it's own employees... what does that say to outsiders?

santinegrete
santinegrete

Well this is expectable, after all the videogames have been costing lots of money and time to develop, being something quite attractive to any developer and, now, publisher. Indie games are cheaper to produce and take less time... but can anyone imagine paying 59.99 for one title of that kind? Hell no.

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

Activision will first give the prize money to the winner, and then use their idea to make even more money. Cruel, but that's how the buisness world works: stealing ideas to make better products/and better profit.

JPH85
JPH85

2 months and 2 weeks for a game ins't much at all. I don't think much can be created of a game unless a game has been created a while ago and the work is being continued, or there is a big ass team working behind the new game. Otherwise, it's impossible to get something good in that time.

zzamaro
zzamaro

That's a lot of money...wish I could have it...

okassar
okassar

I'm going to see this as it is, one of Activision's attempts to repair its overly aggressive image. They're not out to get anyone here...to think otherwise is ridiculous, this could seriously help a couple indie developers. It's better than nothing I guess. Of course, though, it's still a corporation, and of course all corporations our out to make money, so Activision is trying to take a turn for positive PR here.

saturo123
saturo123

activision is gonna pay the guy 175000 and whore the living crap out of it

wallmart56
wallmart56

Anything even halfway good that anyone makes activision is just going to make a crappy game out of it have it sell millions make a crappy sequel to it and then file 40 different pattens for moronic names please nobody enter in this contest then maybe activision will get the point. P.S. that whole first part of my rave might have been loosely based on the cod series :) sorry people.

Aroshtar
Aroshtar

Listen to Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!" Stay away from Activision.

Sparticus1013
Sparticus1013

They'll find something fresh and original, and then grind it into the dirt with a new version every 6 months for 5 years straight. That's what Activision does. They ruin awesome things.

jokethis21
jokethis21

I did gain some respect for them, but at the same time I didnt... With this next map pack, he will gain that and than some.

lock445
lock445

It's gonna take years of things like this to regain my respect for that company.

Solomon_Scrim
Solomon_Scrim

Activision just gained some sympathy points from me. So that makes it now a total score of -873 points.... oh well.

Zero5000X
Zero5000X

Well, at least Activision is doing something good; though I'm expecting it to be for some diabolical reasons.

RadicalToenail
RadicalToenail

@Mailer_daemon Be careful what you say. They may come after you because you're a mod :P

I can imagine it now...

Expect an Activision representitive at your door saying something like this, Mailer! "As a mod of the Gamespot community, your opinion holds more influence than the average user. In your statement, you are advising people to stay away from Activision. This is a flat-out attack on our reputation and you are now being sued for everything you have!"

bulletsword
bulletsword

Indie game competition? More like Activision's auditions for a new cash cow. Kind of like American Idol without the fun of an English accent mocking people.

firedrakes
firedrakes

like mailer said this sounds really odd for them

MAILER_DAEMON
MAILER_DAEMON moderator

Don't do it people... it's a trap, plain and simple. If Activision's name is near it, just run.

green_dominator
green_dominator

Activision, Indie Developer and Thinking outside the box does not seem to go well together....... If I was some indie developer I wouldn't want to work with Activision even if that meant the only chance to be published.....

baystatethrashr
baystatethrashr

wow thats new a competition to see who's the next developer to get its sould taken by Activision. "Foster independent game development" no you dont Bobby Kotick, you want to steal someone's idea and milk it by releasing 5 versions of it every year,

Joshua250
Joshua250

Activision? Indie? Those two terms don't really belong together. They're on two opposing ends of the spectrum.

nevryn
nevryn

@ ColdfireTrilogy Congratulations on missing the entire point. The money isn't the point (it's really just a perk), it's the recognition and fame the person will get. Even if they don't get an offer from AV, their talent is noticed and they can get offers from the other companies. Still a great opportunity.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

@nevryn Oh boy almost 200k$ ... thats almost NOTHING for modern game development. If i remember correctly world of goo even cost more than that ....

nevryn
nevryn

I love how GS throws the "first right of refusal for publishing" part at the bottom without explaining it, making it look entirely evil. All it really means is Activision gets first crack at making an offer for the intellectual property of the game (or potentially for developing it). Also, it allows them to MATCH any other company's offer, or refuse it. So if say EA wanted the #1 winner's idea and offered 1 million, AV would have the opportunity to match that 1 million and if they did they would get the contract over EA. I doesn't mean the person absolutely has to go with AV, and heck they could even decide not to sell it at all. It's actually pretty standard and used a lot with book publishing companies that do writing contests. Also, for all the bashers out there, do you have any idea what sort of opportunity this is for an unknown trying to become a game designer? It's an EXTREMELY hard industry to get into, with typically lots of work and knowing people to get started. This gives these wannabe game designers a chance to jump in. For the lucky/talented people that win it would be a dream come true. Even if the idea was stolen as you all say, it will still be a great chance for them.

grungeman91
grungeman91

I guess the basis of this news story and contest goes: "When the old cow is out of milk, Buy a fresh new cow"

TheVGamer
TheVGamer

@atopp399 Do you hate publishers or developer teams, because publishers are the greedy one. Example? Sure, let's see Bioware and EA I bet that EA is pushing bioware to make more DLC, than Ubisoft and Ubi montreal Ubisoft destroyed great games with their DRM...

monson21502
monson21502

i got a great idea. put zombies in the next mw2 pack!!