Following a tough industry assessment process, 57 applications from across the UK were whittled down to six successful projects which demonstrated exceptional business potential.
The companies benefiting from the first round of funding are: 14 Principles, Bookmarked Games, Dry Ice Studios, FluffyLogic, Setgo and Triple B Games.
All now receive£25,000, as well as business development support and access to the Prototype Fund’s‘talent pool’ of skilled students and graduates.
Budding digital entrepreneurs are also being strongly encouraged to apply for the second round of funding, which closes on Friday 29th April. All information about applying is available at http://prototypefund.abertay.ac.uk
Jeremiah Alexander of Bookmarked Games, which aims to help childhood development through imaginative play, said: "Abertay University's investment fund has made a critical difference. It means we can develop the game prototype to a point where we're in a much stronger position to secure further investment, negotiate a better deal for our company and our staff, and to maintain the vision for what we want our game to bring to children and their families.
"The fund also looks set to be a great launch pad for talented graduates to develop their skills and keep them in the UK. This is vital for the future of the country's games industry. We're taking on four graduates through the fund and so are fully committed to ensuring this project helps launch their careers in this sector."
Ana Kronschnabl of FluffyLogic, which is produced a social game based on growing, feeding and breeding animals in your own zoo, added: "We are really looking forward to having the chance to develop our own intellectual property.
“We believe‘Ur Zoo’ will enable us to involve our fan-base in a way previously not possible, as well as allowing players to create some of the most unbelievable species so far undiscovered by mankind!"
Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said:“There has been a very high level of interest in the Prototype Fund and the project has already been cited as an excellent example of targeted support in the recent Scottish Affairs Committee report on the games industry.
“As well as allowing young companies the opportunity to develop a working prototype to secure further investment, the fund will also provide a fantastic opportunity for students and graduates to develop their skills by working on the successful projects.”
He added:“However, we still recognise there are many challenges facing games development start-ups, particularly with self-funded operations which may not have sufficient working capital to apply in the first place.
“We are continuing to work on a follow-on investment fund and are making good progress with that, as well as looking at ways to provide support to graduate start-up businesses pre-application."
Independent commercial analysis of the short-listed applications was conducted by Games Investor Consulting, an independent games research and strategy consulting business with over 15 years’ industry experience.
Nick Gibson, founder and Director of Games Investor Consulting, said:“All investment decisions require a serious level of expert scrutiny to fully assess the chances of business success.
“Games industry entrepreneurs face tough challenges throughout every step of their projects’ lives. Abertay University’s Prototype Fund has therefore sought to evaluate not only the quality of the prototype proposals but also their long-term commercial potential as finished products and launched services.”
He added:“The first round of funding produced a broad array of prototype proposals. We want to receive an even broader array for the second round and encourage new applicants to be bold and innovative, to think seriously about future technologies and market trends, and not simply propose their version of Angry Birds or CityVille.
“This industry is in a perpetual state of flux driven by a constant flow of innovation and new ideas. Abertay University’s Prototype Fund is a fantastic opportunity for developers to try out new games product and service ideas that anticipate future market demand, or even look to create new niche markets that no one else has yet considered.”
The Abertay University Prototype Fund is financially backed by three partners: the European Regional Development Fund, the UK Government (administered by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), and Abertay University.
The fund is based at Abertay University and is open to applications from new and young small and medium-sized enterprises across Britain.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
Scottish Affairs Committee's Video Games Industry in Scotland report ( http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmscotaf/500/50008.htm) concluded:
14. The£5 million prototype scheme, to be run by Abertay University, is an excellent example of support targeted towards a priority issue for the video games industry. We expect the Government to monitor the progress of the scheme, and if it is successful, to explain how it intends to ensure that it can be replicated nationwide. (Paragraph 74)
ABOUT THE COMPANIES
- 14 Principles provides tools, training, and consultancy to make teams more effective. For years, running game projects has been about the wrong thing: cliff-edge releases, go big or go home, large teams, and large budgets.
Our lightweight, delivery-focussed approach draws upon lean and agile practices. It’s ideally suited to small game development teams looking to bring brave, creative ideas to market without betting the farm.
- Bookmarked Games aims to develop fun and educational digital games for families to play together.
We believe that while games have been a central part of family and community interaction for thousands of years, some of that interaction has been lost in recent decades. Newer technologies and games platforms have the potential to not only restore those connections but to greatly enhance them.
- Dry Ice Studios’ first title will be a side-scrolling adventure distributed via digital download. Solid game play and high production quality are very important factors and we plan to keep our development team small and focused.
- FluffyLogic is really excited about its gallop into social gaming in the form of its latest game 'Ur Zoo' (working title). The game will involve growing, feeding and breeding your very own animals in your very own zoo.
- Setgo is a software development studio creating game content and technology for open, connected and social platforms. People play our games online, either through their browser or via social networks such as Facebook and hi5.
Setgo was formed in early 2010 by three experienced industry professionals with over 50 years’ experience of game development between them. We’re based in Liverpool, in the North West of England. Our first game, Castaways, sees the player stranded on a mysterious island, where they must survive, prosper and maybe even escape.
- Triple B Games is an indie developer based in Dundee. Founded in 2007 we have released five titles on the Xbox 360’s Indie Games channel: Fitba, a particularly Scottish football game; Inside Lacrosse’s CL2010, the first Lacrosse game on the Xbox 360; NLL 2010, the first officially licensed Lacrosse title; College Lacrosse 2011; and Zombiez 8 My Cookiez, a toonified twin stick shooter.
ABOUT THE PROTOTYPE FUND
The project aims to create 30 new companies, provide important support to another 80 existing smaller businesses, and create up to 400 new jobs. An additional 300 students, graduates and professionals will have their skills developed through working on successfully funded projects.
Students and graduates can register now for work experience as part of the Talent Pool at http://prototypefund.abertay.ac.uk
Abertay University launched the world’s first ever computer games degree in 1997. This postgraduate Master’s course was followed by a complementary undergraduate course, and later by specialist courses in production management and game applications development.
Abertay has the highest number of Skillset accreditations for computer games courses (four out of ten across the UK) as well as holding full Skillset Media Academy status, a recognition of the important industry skills that are developed on our courses.
ABOUT GAMES INVESTOR CONSULTING
Specialising in the business of games, GIC has provided strategy, research and financial consulting services for over 70 games, media and finance companies including SCEE, Jagex, Turner, Endemol and the BBC.
With 15 consecutive years’ experience, GIC is one of the industry's most trusted sources for games market intelligence, and advises companies on how to maximise their commercial returns from all corners of the ever-changing games market.