The 14th annual Independent Games Festival is to include a new prize that guarantees its honouree a Xbox Live Arcade publishing contract.
The ‘XBLA Prize’ will run alongside various other vote-based awards handed out at the competition’s ceremony in San Francisco on March 7th.
Both Microsoft and a separate jury will build a shortlist for this year’s inaugural prize. The winner receives a publishing deal for Xbox Live Arcade, plus options for Windows Phone and PC, as well as various funding opportunities.
UBM, organiser of the Independent Games Festival, said the Microsoft prize is a “first-party” contract – though it is not known to which extent the winner will be tied to Xbox and Windows exclusivity.
The award is opt-in, UBM said.
IGF, which for more than a decade has championed leading lights in game development, will hand over about $60,000 in cash prizes on the awards night.
The event runs alongside the 26th edition of GDC which runs from March 5th to 9th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.