The third annual Indie Game Challenge is afoot! Between now and October 3, 2011, independent game developers can submit a working copy of their games (and a pitch video) to compete for $250,000 worth of prizes.
Sponsored by The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, The Guildhall at SMU, and GameStop, the Indie Game Challenge’s selected finalists will also receive something coveted by most independent developers everywhere: serious marketing exposure.
The grand prize-winning developer will receive $100,000, and selected finalists will also have their pitch-videos "promoted on GameStop.com and GameStop TV where they will be seen by millions of people and be eligible for additional prize money and People's Choice Award voting." As if that's not enough, members of each finalist team will be flown to the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, and "have an opportunity to showcase their games to top publishers in the video game industry set up by the IGC."
In 2011, the $100,000 grand prize awards went to developer Playdead for their moody platformer LIMBO in the "Professional" indie category, and Inertia by Team Hermes (from The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University) won the $100,000 grand prize for best "Non-professional" indie. Both games are currently available for download on Xbox Live Arcade.
To further put the quality of titles showcased by the Indie Game Challenge in perspective, last years winners were in the great company of other finalists like Solace (One Man Down), Monaco: What's Yours is Mine (Pocketwatch Studios), Fortix 2 (Nemesys Games), and Hazard: The Journey of Life (Alexander Bruce). The previous year, Cogs (Lazy 8 Studios) and Gear (Team 3) took away the professional and non-professional grand prizes, respectively.
Finalists will be announced in January 2012, followed by an Indie Game Challenge Awards ceremony in February. The submission fee is $100 per title, which is used to cover administrative costs, with any remaining funds to be "used to fund scholarships for video game design/development students." Details on how to enter a game for consideration can be found here.