Tentacle Zone

Payload Studios launches games incubator for underrepresented developers

British developer Payload Studios has launched a new inclusion initiative, and is calling for up to eight early-stage game developers from underrepresented groups to apply to its new Tentacle Zone Incubator programme.

With support of partners Tonic Games, Green Man Gaming and Creative England’s Creative Enterprise, the incubator will offer sponsored places for founders from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the games industry. These groups include, but are not limited to, POC, lower socioeconomic backgrounds, LGBTQ+, people from underrepresented genders (cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary), disabilities and neurodiversities.

“Making workplaces and the industry more inclusive is not an overnight task, but the more we learn about diversity and inclusion, the more we realise that we should and can, be taking action to challenge the inequity in the games industry” said Russell Clarke, co-founder and CEO of Payload Studios and Nisha Valand, programme director of Tentacle Zone Workspace in a statement.

“We are delighted to be working closely with our partners Creative England’s Creative Enterprise, Tonic Games, Green Man Gaming, Ukie and the University of Greenwich as well as those industry professionals who have signed up to help deliver our new incubator programme. At Payload, we have always valued the benefits of being part of a strong community of game developers and we hope that via our Tentacle Zone platform and the learnings from our Game On initiative so far, we can help drive positive change by supporting early stage founders from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.”

Successful applicants will benefit from peer-to-peer learning with more established studios, as well as mentoring and tutoring from a diverse group of industry experts in five key areas, across a four month business support programme:

  1. Soft skills sessions – confidence, public speaking, networking
  2. Business planning; preparing your studio for the future
  3. Production, design and development
  4. Marketing and PR
  5. Funding and finance

The incubator’s academic partner, the University of Greenwich, has been chosen due to the institution’s “strong understanding of the social barriers facing students in game development, especially from underrepresented groups.”

Applications are open from January 13 – February 24, 2021.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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