Microsoft's Imagine Cup finals kick off in Australia

Microsoft's tenth Imagine Cup technology design competition kicked off in Sydney, Australia today as thousands of student finalists from around the world descended on the city to show off their technological innovations.

Microsoft's tenth Imagine Cup technology design competition kicked off in Sydney, Australia today as hundreds of student finalists from around the world descended on the city to show off their technological innovations.

The competition, now in its tenth consecutive year, aims to push students in the fields of game design, software design, and software development by challenging them to find solutions to real world problems using technology. This year 106 teams from 75 countries have created projects inspired by the Imagine Cup theme: "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems". Previous themes have included "Imagine a world where smart technology makes everyday life easier", and "Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment."

Microsoft's corporate vice president, Walid Abu-Hadba, said on the first day of the competition: "We started with a small idea in 2003: that students matter.

"The Imagine Cup is all about the students. It's not about Microsoft. It's not about the technology. I've been with Microsoft for 21 years and when I finished college and I was about to start out, the hardest thing as a software developer wasn't getting an idea about what to create. The hardest thing was your ability to bring that to market, your ability as an entrepreneur to sell your idea.

"You don't have to be in the Silicon Valley to be a successful entrepreneur. We want to give students the opportunity, no matter where they are, whether they're in Sydney or Indonesia or Africa, we want to give them the opportunity and the platform to succeed and to monetize their thinking."

"The Imagine Cup is all about the students. It's not about Microsoft. It's not about the technology."

Over the next five days, the teams will have to give presentations on the projects they've developed, respond to feedback from judges, refine their games, and convince the judges that their game exemplifies the Imagine Cup theme without compromising on entertainment.

The game design competition is the biggest it has ever been this year, with 20 teams making it through to the finals. The competition is divided into Xbox/Windows and mobile development, both of which encourage students to develop a game that is not only entertaining but illustrates the Imagine Cup 2012 theme.

Polygon will be at the Imagine Cup over the next few days to follow the progress of the competitors and feature the games that make it through to the final round. Below are the list of finalists who have made it to Australia to compete in the finals.

Visit these pages to check out the finalists for the Xbox/Windows and the mobile game development competitions.

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