Many have been anticipating this year’s letter from the IGF Chairman, Brandon Boyer, as it was evident that some vital changes were needed to how some of the festival’s systems worked. Controversy arose when Fez won the Grand Prize this year and all the monetary benefits for doing so, despite having picked up a $2,500 for being the winner of the Excellence of Visual Art prize in 2008. The argument was pretty obvious – there are many other indie games in need of the money so why should a single game pick up two lots when so many others are deserving of it?
As was outlined in last year’s letter the changes to the rules regarding finalist re-submissions, which were clearly needed after IGF 2012, will now be going into place. This means that previous IGF finalists are not allowed to re-enter the same game in the years following. Due to this, you should now consider when you submit your game, for if it is submitted early and becomes a finalist but doesn’t win due to not being polished (let’s just say), then you’ll kick yourself as you can’t enter that game when it is finished.
More controversy was met with IGF 2012 as it seemed that the games were not being judged equally, with some games not even being played. Again, it was clear that some changes needed to take place in how the IGF operates. This has been acknowledged by making some major upgrades to the judging process which has caused the opening date for submissions to be later this year. They will now be open in July but the deadline will remain the same at October 17th for the Main Competition and October 31st for Student. We’re not sure what these changes are but hopefully it means that the process gives every game an equal chance – perhaps a public vote will be integrated somehow?
Other points are that the IGF Mobile category has been abolished, with the reasons being that mobile games have become so integral to the industry now they don’t need special treatment. The number of finalists in each category has risen from five to six to make up for the loss of the Mobile category. Lastly, the winner of the Student category will win $1,000 rather than the previous $500 amount.
So, what you should be doing now is preparing your games for submission – the deadline hasn’t changed remember! Look out for futher information on IGF 2013 over on the official website.