Microsoft Set Up Annual 'XBLA Prize' at 2011 IGF

Lee Bradley

Microsoft are offering one entry in next year's Independent Games Festival the chance to win a place in the Xbox Live Arcade, along with full publisher support. The competition, which Microsoft intend to turn into an annual fixture at the IGF, will be called the 'XBLA Prize.'

Working with a jury of independent game developers, MS will put together a shortlist before deciding on the winner, who will then get the opportunity to get their game out across all Live-supported platforms, from XBLA and Windows Phone to Windows itself.

All necessary QA, usability and production assistance will also be provided, as well as funding to help complete the game, if needed. It's quite the prize. "Since it was founded in the mid-1970s, Microsoft has always been passionate about independent development and developers," said Microsoft's exec Ted Woolsey over on Gamasutra.

"Back before Xbox, Xbox Live and Kinect, back before Office, Windows, and even DOS, Microsoft's first products were programming tools for developers. We continue to respect and admire the work our developer-partners produce, and one of our main goals as a company is to empower people - consumers and developers - to realise their dreams through our technology."

To that end, MS currently invests in excess of $20 million dollars a year to help fund XBLA games, says Woolsey.

"With our business increasing year over year we consider this a smart investment in the ecosystem, and another way we support the independent development community. In that spirit, we're very excited about our multi-year sponsorship of the Independent Games Festival. The IGF has a deservedly great reputation for work it's done with independent games and developers."

The Independent Games Festival has a history of supporting some of the most innovative, interesting and just plain fun games in the industry. Minecraft, Limbo, Machinarium and Braid have all been recognised. Next year's event runs from 5th to 9th March.

[Cheers, Eurogamer]

  • Sure is a nice thing to do. Can't wait to see who wins!
  • Awesome!
  • This is really good news. Its nice of Microsoft to reward deserving people for their efforts. I can't wait to see what pops up in 2012s indie scene.
  • "Microsoft are offering" just doesnt sound right when I read it. Sounds like it should be "is" but Microsoft itself is a corporation of people therefore making it plural but also the corporation itself is ONE thing(just made up of many things) but anyways I'm ranting. Feels like it should be "is" though. On the subject there are some impressive Arcade titles out there. Hopefully the right winner is crowned!
  • I love indie games and love how much MS supports them. Keep it coming!
  • That is a MARVELOUS idea ! Well done Microsoft !
  • why just one? some indie games are better then xbla games
  • @4 - Brilliant, I feel the weight upon my shoulders is now lifted upon reading that.
  • This type of thing is SO good for the industry. Not only will those developers get the recognition they deserve, but now they have an even better incentive to make a quality games.
  • Considering this is the reason why games like The Dishwasher are even on XBLA, I'm insanely excited to see what this turns out.
  • Indie marketplace is a place where you can find lots of awesome stuff (decay series, lumi, revolver360...), so im really happy to see MS supporting that. Well done MS !
  • One can only wish for the impossible game as a XBLA game :P
  • More Indie Games need to be turned into full XBLA games. Maybe we'll get less crap like War of the Worlds.
  • Awesome! I've been praying that MS would do something like this.
  • Sure they invest shitload of money. With prices hiking up %5-$10 more for single Arcade game each year, it won't be long before we will be paying almost as much as for a full retail game. Leave it to MS turn everythng into profit.
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