The 2021 Incubator
Since 2014, the NYU Game Center Incubator has helped transform small independent game projects into polished, launched games. With the help of our faculty as well as a dedicated group of industry advisors, the program provides time, space, guidance and resources to help set teams up for success. This year, the NYU Game Center Incubator is restructuring to increase support for a wider variety of games and a wider variety of end goals, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach to success. We want to connect teams to the support they need to launch games, start studios, and to build strong game communities.
The 2021 Incubator is a part-time program that runs over the course of a full year. The program runs remotely through May 2022, with all required events and curriculum taking place remotely and over Zoom, Slack, and other online platforms. Please see the table below for dates of required events. Community coworking hours will be determined in early June, by the teams selected for the program. More information is available on the 2021 Incubator Application page.
Participants of the 2021 Incubator receive:
- Funding – $10,000 per team/game
- Mentorship – A committed Executive Producer
- Workshops – 2 days of workshops with industry experts
- Community Coworking – Bi-weekly community coworking with other Incubator teams
- Public Showcase – A public showcase alongside other Incubator games in Spring 2022
- Advisory Board – One-on-one or small group meetings, pitch practice, playtesting, etc with Incubator Advisors throughout the year
We expect the following from participating teams:
- Attendance and participation in program workshops, events, & Community Coworking sessions (schedule below)
- Quarterly communication with Project Coordinator & Executive Producer
- Participation in public showcase at end of program
- Progress & financial reports submitted via email bi-annually (June 30th, December 30th)
- A revenue share on project income
Applications are now open for the 2021 NYU Game Center Incubator. Find the application and more information here. The application, due Wednesday, May 12 is now closed. Selected teams will be invited to pitch their projects on the evening of Thursday, May 27th to the Game Center Advisory Board.
Incubator History & Games
The pilot program of the NYU Game Center Incubator ran the summer of 2014 with a group of nine MFA graduates working across six games. The second cohort NYU Game Center Incubator expanded to include more projects from NYU undergraduates and PhDs and ran the summer of 2015. In its third year, with support from an Empire State Development Grant, the Incubator piloted an open-to-the-public program, where NYU graduates work alongside other talented developers from the wider community. See work from our third cohort of designers in 2016. The 2017 cohort of seven projects continued to mix students alongside local developers, and in 2018 we accepted 6 projects, four from NYU and two from the public. The 2019 cohort included 4 projects. We ran the program remotely with 4 teams in 2020 due to COVID.
Since the first cohort in 2014 the Incubator has generated a wide range of success stories. Softbody was backed by Indie Fund, and launched on PS4 in 2016. APE OUT was also backed by Indie Fund, and published by Devolver Digital, launching on PC and Nintendo Switch in 2018. Rewordable, The Splits, and Sumer all exceeded their Kickstarter goals. Beglitched won the Student Game IGF in 2016, in a year where 3 of 6 finalists, Circa Infinity and Ape Out, were also Finalists in the category. Incubator games have been PAX10 finalists, IndieCade winners, have had dozens of major and minor iOS features, and were written about in Kotaku, Killscreen, and much more.
Industry Partners & Advisory Board
The Incubator gives talented developers committed to experimental game design the context to address the marketing, legal, financial, and other production challenges of launching their artistic project. The program helps game makers develop the skills required to lead a successful career in games.
To provide these resources, we build genuine partnerships with individuals and organizations from the games industry. We collaborate with a group of carefully selected partners who work with the Game Center to develop the Incubator program and advise the teams. This group of volunteers includes representatives from technology companies and publishers, game designers, lawyers, consultants, journalists, and other game industry experts who will lend their expertise to help the developers launch successful games.
Together with our Industry Partners and Advisory Board, we’re creating a new context for cultivating innovative and groundbreaking games.
The Incubator aims to enable a productive meeting of art and commerce. We seek games that demonstrate artistic excellence and/or have potential for commercial success, but might not get the traction they need without the Incubator. To see this in practice, check out games from the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020 Incubator. To determine which projects are accepted into the Incubator, applicants present to members of the Advisory Board, who evaluate the games on the following criteria:
- Production Capability: Can this team clearly articulate goals for their game and do they have a plan to achieve them? Can this team get the game from its current state into a completed project?
- Innovation: Does this game have an interesting/experimental/innovative mechanic, story, or style that could benefit from time in the Incubator?
- Community Contribution: Will this team thrive in and contribute to a collaborative coworking environment?
The NYU Game Center and the Incubator are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and safe space for applicants and participants. We welcome and highly encourage designers and developers from all backgrounds to apply.