The association for developers in the North East, Codeworks GameHorizon, is hosting a games-based talent competition at next month's Animex festival.

GameHorizon starts talent hunt

Taking place on February 7th as part of the two-day games and animation event, Game Academy will mimic the formats of TV shows Dragon’s Den and Fame Academy, inviting local start-up companies and graduates to pitch concepts in a live situation to a panel of industry judges. The day’s best pitch wins a £1,000 mentoring package to develop their career or business objectives, free membership to GameHorizon, a Sony PSP and bundle of Codemasters games.

Carri Cunliffe, manager of GameHorizon, says: “As creative industries minister Shaun Woodward recognised recently, getting a break in the games industry is tough, and graduates and new companies need all the help they can get to succeed.

“Through events like this one, GameHorizon is seeking to give these companies and individuals valuable experience of making a real pitch in front of a panel of some of the industry’s biggest names.”

GameHorizon has enticed a board of UK development execs to judge the event. These are Codemasters’ Pete O’Donnell,Tom O’Connor from SCEE, Darren Jobling of Eutechnyx and Tony Parkes from Midway Studios – Newcastle.

O’Donnell, who is acquisitions and developer relations manager at Codemasters, commented: "As the UK’s longest established independent developer/publisher, we believe it’s vital to continue to develop and nurture new ideas and companies as they emerge at grass roots level. For this reason I’m more than happy to offer my experience, from both a development and publishing perspective, to help steer the contestants in the right direction.

"Initiatives like this one from GameHorizon benefit both the start up companies and global publishers, such as ourselves, by ensuring the quality of concepts being pitched by new industry entrants are up to scratch."

The organisers are hoping that the Game Academy event discovers another upcoming industry star – last year’s inaugural version event was won by a final year student at the University of Teesside who used the prize of mentoring support to help set up his own business, Babel Digital, a developer focused on computer games for education, training and creative learning.

More information on the event, including details on how to register for participation, can be found here.

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