Utah is fast becoming known for a vibrant digital media and entertainment industry. The state is at the forefront of the industry with a digital media pipeline of developing innovative technologies, attracting new businesses and promoting world-class education. This innovation combined with Utah’s robust entrepreneurial spirit creates the ideal environment for 2013 Utah Game Wars competition.

The competition leverages the digital media pipeline that has produced some of the best innovations in 3D animation, compression technology, and game design in the world. In addition to these innovations, the pipeline has been strengthened as Utah has become home to digital media giants. Companies such as Adobe, Electronic Arts and Smart Bomb Interactive see locating within the state as a huge opportunity to expand and develop their business. The attraction to the state is fueled by Utah’s top universities and entrepreneurs who are driving innovation in the field, such as the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program (EAE) program. The EAE program was recently ranked the number one undergraduate and second best graduate program for gaming design by the Princeton Review.

“The goal of Utah Game Wars is to stimulate creativity and job creation in the exceptionally high-paying digital media and gaming industry that was recently highlighted in Governor Herbert’s keynote address at the 2013 Utah Economic Summit,” said Ryan Angus, associate director of USTAR’s Central Region technology outreach office. “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 competition, a Concept to Company contest, focuses on new game development driven by innovators and entrepreneurs. Entries to the competition can enter into one of two categories: unreleased (not yet distributed) or released (distributed) mobile, console, or computer games. The competition is open to Utah residents, students, and small businesses with under $5 million in annual revenues. The goal is to help further develop the state’s digital media pipeline while spurring creativity and innovation.

Entries must include a short highlight video of the game being played. Eight finalists will be selected in June. The finalist’s games will be judged by representatives from major local game studios based on potential commercial appeal. The best unreleased and released games will be awarded cash prizes of $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Entries may be submitted until midnight on May 31, 2013. For more information about Game Wars or to enter the competition visit: http://www.concepttocompany.org/current-contests/gaming13

The contest is organized and hosted by Grow Utah Ventures, Utah Valley University, UVU Business Resource Center, and Zions Bank. Sponsors of the contest include the Utah Science and Technology initiative (USTAR), and the Digital Media UCAP project. Many industry experts and game developers will also contribute their time and resources.

The Concept to Company competitions are ongoing entrepreneur contests held in various regions across the State of Utah. 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 $450,000 has been awarded to nearly 30 entrepreneurs amongst 12 different contests.