IGF announces rules changes, excludes previous finalists from competition

The Independent Games Festival announced several changes for 2013, including the exclusion of previous finalists.

The Independent Games Festival has announced several significant changes for IGF 2013, including the exclusion of previous finalists, IGF chairman Brandon Boyer wrote on the official IGF blog.

"As you know, each year we take some time following the ceremony to consider how best to improve and evolve the Festival in preparation for the next," Boyer wrote. Reoccurring titles had begun to "tip the scales away from one of the Festival's core principles — to highlight new work from new and established developers alike.

"I believe that all parties involved both internally and externally would like to see the IGF as a yearly showcase of new and especially yet-unseen developments."

The exclusion rule — first announced in 2011 with the understanding that 2012 would be a "leeway year" — puts the onus on developers to submit their games when most appropriate. "Before you enter your game," Boyer wrote, "consider whether you believe this year is the right time for it to truly shine, because it may be its only chance."

Other changes include eliminating the discrete mobile category — also first announced in 2011 — because "mobile devices are now so ubiquitous that we believe they no longer need to rely on special recognition." The elimination affords "room to recognize more talent," and the IGF has increased the number of finalists from five to six in all remaining "traditional" categories.

The IGF has also increased the stipend for Student Showcase winners from $500 to $1,000 to "ease the burden of joining us at our yearly ceremony and on the floor of the IGF Pavilion."

The IGF will delay the beginning of the submissions period from mid-June to late July because of a "major upgrade" to its "entry and judging backend." Though Boyer didn't explain exactly what changes would be made to the judging process, it's possible that the festival will address the complaints that judges don't spend enough time with all entrants, which arose during this year's proceedings.

The October 17 deadline for main competition and October 31 deadline for the student competition remain unchanged.

Established in 1998, the Independent Games Festival takes place each year during the Game Developers Conference, which will be held in San Francisco from March 25th - March 29th, 2013.

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