Established last year, Make the Game, conceived for creators of browser and social games, offers a substantial prize fund of €1 million to its chosen winner, divided across an advance royalty payment and advertising budget in Computec’s print and online titles.
The annual competition is organised by German media company Computec, which hopes to raise the profile of developers left behind by publishers.
“As we all know, there are many, many talented developers out there – and many of them are not satisfied how things went in the past with most of their products,” says Computec COO Hans Ippisch of the company’s motivation to establish the competition.
“Major publishers took the major share of the revenues if their game was a success. Or they ignored their game completely, even though they have signed a contract.
"Or they just didn’t have the money for a reasonable marketing campaign, when they tried to start on their own as an independent publisher.
"That’s where we come in. We have direct access to millions of gamers and can support developers financially.”
To be more precise, through the advertising element of the prize fund, the Make the Game winners will see their project exposed to some eight million readers globally; a fact that served as a significant boon to last year’s victors, German studio SlipShift, which triumphed with browser strategy title Reborn Horizon (main picture).
“Reborn Horizon marked a phenomenal start of Make the Game,” states Ippisch. “It’s a brilliant game that attracted nearly 50,000 users during its open beta phase since October 2011.”
Ippisch adds that Make the Game is open to studios of every size, from microstudios and newcomers to established games production houses with vast headcounts.
In February 2012 Reborn Horizon was launched under the new name Reborn Empire, and is being published internationally by Trip Hawkins’ operation Digital Chocolate.
“Receiving the Make the Game award last year has been a huge surprise for us,” says SlipShift communications manager Sascha Ahlers of his employer’s win in 2011.
“Honestly, we almost forgot about our application, but winning the contest gave us the opportunity to establish a cooperation with the well-known German company Computec Media.
“Since then, they have been taking care of all marketing, PR, and community management matters for our game.”
Additionally, Computec aids the winner in securing new business partners, and serves to help the victorious studio tap into new international markets.
“Besides improving the perception of our company we subsequently adapted the competences of SlipShift,” says Ahlers of working with Computec after the win, before offering some advice for 2012 entrants.
“In the beginning one should bank on established game structures,” he advises.
“Coming up with your own, unprecedented ideas is a good thing, but the most successful games are the ones that use existing ideas and refine them with fresh elements.
"As soon as you are established on the market you will be given more freedom for realising your very own ideas.”
The winner’s prize itself is divided into two distinct amounts; €250,000 as a non-refundable advanced royalty payment, and €750,000 of advertising budget to be used with Computec titles.
The Make the Game jury consists of Computec representatives, and names from across the games industry including Havok’s VP of international development Felix Röken.
Interested parties have until April 16th this year to register at the contest’s website.
The winner as selected by the jury – who confer in July – will be announced at the Gamescom event, which runs from August 15th to August 19th this year.