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GameStop cancels this year's Indie Game Challenge, future unclear

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The Indie Game Challenge is on hiatus and will not be held during DICE 2013, a representative from IGC sponsor GameStop revealed to Polygon.

"The 2012 - 13 Indie Game Challenge (IGC) will be on hiatus while we take time to analyze ways to promote and celebrate the independent game movement," GameStop's media relations manager Wendy Dominguez confirmed via email. "We have been committed and continue to be committed to supporting the independent game developer community.

"Post-DICE 2013 we will have more to share."

Announced in 2009 as a partnership between GameStop, The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, the first competition took place in 2010 during the AIAS-sponsored DICE (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) summit.

"The 2012 - 13 Indie Game Challenge (IGC) will be on hiatus while we take time to analyze ways to promote and celebrate the independent game movement."

Ten finalists vied for $250,000 in prizes during the most recent IGC, which was held during DICE in Feb. 2012. Eyebrow Interactive won the $100,000 grand prize for its puzzler Closure, DigiPen's Nitronic Rush won the Gamer’s Choice Award and Ty Taylor and Mario Castaneda's The Bridge won for Achievement in Art Direction and Achievement in Gameplay. Empty Clip Studios' Symphony won for Technical Achievement and also received the first-ever GameStop PC Digital Download award.

Earlier this year, Polygon spoke with Steve Nix, general manager of digital distribution for GameStop and the man behind the IGC's GameStop PC Digital Download Award. Nix told Polygon that the award grew from a desire to do more than sponsor the contest. The company wanted to help promote the winners through its retail stores and newsletters.

"I wanted to see the games and get hands on with them," he told Polygon at DICE. "Everyone came in and brought their laptops and I played as much as I could. I also wanted to know as much about the team as possible and what inspired them."

We've reached out to GameStop and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences for further details about the future of the awards and what presence, if any, indies will have at DICE 2013.