10 December 2007
Dare to be Digital, the UK’s premier computer games design competition for students, received an early Christmas present today when its promoters Abertay University confirmed that it will increase its financial support for 2008.
The decision means that Dare to be Digital’s full-time organising team can now begin to source external contributions to a total budget of£1 million over the next two years.
The organisers are planning to almost double the number of student teams in 2008, and also increase the number of host centres across the UK and possibly overseas as well.
In 2007, a total of 12 teams containing 60 students competed in Dare to be Digital, at host centres in Dundee, Belfast and Guildford.
Abertay University also announced today that Dare ProtoPlay, the highly successful public showcase included for the first in the 2007 competition, will be repeated next year. The organising team are already looking for potential venues for an expanded ProtoPlay in 2008.
Paul Durrant, Dare to be Digital Director, highlighted three factors which have encouraged the organisers to think bigger and better for 2008:“Dare to be Digital teamed with up the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for the first time this year with the winners eligible for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.
“Secondly, indie documentary production company Wantok were commissioned by BBC Radio 4 to track the competition from start to finish. Their documentary, Game Academy, will be broadcast in prime morning slots in December.
“Finally, Dare to be Digital is also featured as a best practice example in the UKTI / BERR / TIGA report Playing for Keeps.
“These exciting achievements show that Dare to be Digital has come of age and is now attracting serious attention from throughout the industry and beyond. There has also been a very high level of interest in all of the teams from 2007 and in the IP they created, with several commercial negotiations underway.
“In addition, key hires of individual contestants have also been made by Free Radical, Codemasters, Rare, Microsoft China, Disney, Rockstar North, Realtime Worlds, Google London, TT Games, Her Majesty's Government Communications Centre, Natural Motion, Stainless Games, and FXLabs (India). One team has even set up its own new company– Threshold Interactive.
“That so many individuals are winning exciting jobs in the industry within days or weeks of the end of the competition speaks volumes for the calibre of the students and the value that employers place on the Dare experience.
“We now working on transferring the model into other sectors of the creative industries, and we are poised to scale up not only the contest itself but also Dare ProtoPlay into the definitive independent IP and talent showcase to consumers and industry as we reach critical mass over the next couple of years.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Dare to be Digital was first piloted among computer games students at Abertay in 1999. Since 2000, the competition has been run by a partnership of the University of Abertay Dundee, Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Dundee City. In 2007, Abertay decided to double the number of teams taking part and to run the competition in host centres in Belfast and Guildford as well as the original host centre in Dundee.
A total of 60 students in 12 teams took part in the 2007 contest, which also featured two other major innovations:
1) Dare ProtoPlay– a unique three-day public showcase staged as part of the Edinburgh Festival at which all 12 teams presented their games to an audience totalling 2,500;
2) an agreement with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to establish the BAFTA“Ones to Watch” Award
Dare to be Digital has established an enviable reputation for producing high-grade talent, which in turn attracts huge industry support. In 2007, the competition was sponsored by AMD, EA, London Development Agency, Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise Tayside, NCR, University of Abertay Dundee, Nesta, Channel 4, XNA, Xbox 360, Realtime Worlds, Scottish Enterprise, Dundee City Council, Digital Hub, Belfast City Council with the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme, Intertrade, Queen’s University, Disney Interactive Studios, Mirai, BBC Scotland and TIGA.
Dare ProtoPlay was also sponsored by AMD, Realtime Worlds and Scottish Enterprise.