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PGDA announces Judges & submissions for Talent Award 2023

12 Jun 2023

International Austrian game developers judge 12 promising student projects

The core idea of the newly introduced Austrian wide talent award focusing on students & scholars projects is “For Austria from Austria”. Unnoticed from a broad media publicity several local universities and secondary schools have established well received curriculums for game developers in the last 15 years, offering high quality education that opens a lot of opportunities for a national, but also international career.

Hence the idea to invite successful Austrian game developers who made an impressive international career at AAA studios or large publishers around the world, to look back to our beloved local scene and evaluate the next generation of Austrian developers, on their brink to a successful career in games.

PGDA is very proud and honored to present the judges for the Talent Award 2023, who are willing to offer a bit of their spare time to judge the very impressive range of submitted projects.

Andy Schmoll
Andy Schmoll Peter Wutzl Severin Ecker
Game Director – Ubisoft Toronto Director of Business Development Europe – Smilegate Principal Engine Programmer – formerly at Io-Interactive, currently between jobs

We are extremely happy that Andy, Peter, and Severin agreed to form the team of judges for this year’s talent award. Furthermore, we are proud to offer cross-continental collaboration within three different countries, a mirror of our industry today, as the majority of us work with different time zones and teams around the world.

All three judges have more than 15 years of experience each and worked in different kinds of organizational structures, from indie to AAA studios. Part of their day-to-day job is to evaluate projects and teams, but also help individuals to find their way in the sometimes not too easy game development industry. Mentoring and supporting talents comes naturally to all three of them, so who would be better suited to assess the creativity, quality, but also commercial viability of the submitted projects in order to crown the first winner of the PGDA Talent Award!

We received twelve projects in total from the following schools and university who all offer exceptional educational opportunities for aspiring game developers:

  • HTL (higher technical education institute) Spengergasse
  • University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna
  • University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Hagenberg
  • University of Applied Sciences Salzburg

All projects represent the variety but also diversity of today’s industry, covering rich and immersive experiences within different genres, and aiming at various distribution platforms.

So, while mainstream and decision makers are not even clearly aware that games are made in Austria, the submission of these twelve excellent projects proofs otherwise. All student endeavors are showing a very strong sign of life of our local scene, providing a glimpse of the available skillset and creative experience Austria has to offer in a leading global industry.

Please stay tuned to learn which of the twelve teams made it on the shortlist and will get the opportunity to present their projects to a large audience at the LevelUp Festival in Salzburg on July 1st and July 2nd.

The winner will be announced on Sunday July 2nd, 4pm at the main stage of the festival.

Andy, Peter, and Severin currently enjoy playing the submitted projects and evaluate the accompanying documents to make their call for the shortlist based on the following criteria:

  1. Build/playable version of the game
  2. Pitch Deck
  3. Trailer & Screenshots
  4. PR-Factsheet
  5. Commercial potential
  6. Comprehensive presentation as well as interaction of all assets

Award Ceremony

These comprehensive criteria require an according reward which PGDA is proudly offering. The Talent Award winner team will receive the following prizes:

  • The winning team gets a booth at gamescom in Cologne in August 2023
    • This booth will be part of the WKO “Gemeinschaftsstand”
    • This price has a monetary value of EUR 2.400.-
    • Sponsored by Bongfish, Mi’pu’mi Games, PGDA, Rarebyte, stillalive studios & Zeppelin Studio
  • The winning team gets a 12-month mentoring program supported by established studios and local senior developers across all disciplines
    • This will help the team to shape their project and take the first steps in a possible commercial future

Thanks for your attention and stay tuned for more information to come soon!

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