2013 Utah Game Wars – Entrepreneurs Earn High Scores
Utah’s digital media pipeline is helping propel new game design and development through contests like the 2013 Utah Game Wars. Up-and-coming entrepreneurs, designers and engineers gathered at the new Adobe Systems Complex, in Lehi, Utah on June 25 for the final judging and an awards ceremony for their innovative and creative games.
Eight finalists, pre-selected from a pool of over 40 entries, showcased their games and competed in either the best-unreleased or best-released category. Representatives from Utah’s game development industry judged the entries based on potential commercial appeal.
“The eight finalists were a good cross-section of the budding digital media talent in Utah”, says T. Craig Bott, President and CEO of Grow Utah Ventures. “Utah is fast becoming known for a vibrant digital media and entertainment industry. The state is at the forefront of the industry with innovative technologies, attracting new businesses and promoting world-class education.”
Club Dino developedby Marv Entertainment is a family friendly mobile device game specifically targeted for children and won best-unreleased game and a $15,000 cash prize. Club Dino lets users hatch and train dinosaurs using voice and touch commands giving the caveman a new adventure when he discovers a nest of dinosaur eggs.
“Utah Games wars is an amazing forum that highlights and rewards original ideas being developed right here in Utah,” said David Wilson, producer and animator at Marv Entertainment. “We are very grateful to the Grow Utah Ventures’ sponsors for the $15,000 prize. Our team of artists, technicians, producers, and programmers has been working on this game as a labor of love.”
Magnetic by Nature, a game from Tripleslash Studios in Salt Lake City won the first place honor for best-released game and took home a $10,000 cash prize. The game was also selected as the crowd favorite at the event and received an additional $500 prize. Built as a puzzle platform two-dimensional video game Magnetic by Nature players progress through levels by manipulating magnetic fields.
“The largest portion will be used to purchase targeted internet advertising, to participate in local promotional events, and to attend major national games festivals,” said Paige Ashlynn, a developer for Magnetic by Nature. ” Our research indicates that this last element is probably the most important in building a larger audience for our game.”
The game began as a student project at the University of Utah Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) program, which was recently recognized by the Princeton Review as the top undergraduate and second-best graduate program for gaming design.
The competition was a Concept to Company event organized and hosted by Grow Utah Ventures, Utah Valley University (UVU), UVU Business Resource Center, and Zions Bank. Sponsors of the contest include the Utah Science and Technology initiative (USTAR), Disney Interactive, EA Salt Lake, Smartbomb Interactive, Eat Sleep Play, Wahoo Studios, Chair Entertainment, and Adobe.
“The goal of the Utah Game Wars was to stimulate creativity and job creation in the exceptionally high-paying digital media and gaming industry,” said Steve Roy, associate vice president of economic development at UVU and USTAR regional technology outreach director. “Many gaming studios have grown from small independent shops to major players in Utah over the years and we want to encourage more of the same behavior.”
The Concept to Company competitions are ongoing entrepreneur contests held in various regions across the State of Utah. Organized by the non-profit Grow Utah Ventures, the main objectives of the contests are to encourage and support Utah’s entrepreneurial innovators with the intent of helping them bring concepts to the marketplace. Competitions are held in all regions of the state with each competition focusing on the unique entrepreneurial strengths of that region. To date, over $6200,000 in cash and services have been awarded and nearly 90 entrepreneurs helped across 12 different contests