The 2020 Incubator is now accepting applications!
The purpose of the NYU Game Center Incubator is to bridge experimental work with the realities of the marketplace. The Incubator gives promising games time, space, guidance, and resources to maximize opportunities for success. The Incubator is suitable for a wide range of projects, from free to play iOS games to console releases to tabletop games. Applications are open until 5/4. The application is here.
We will host an information session via live stream on Thursday, 4/16 at 5:30PM. At this information session, the Incubator Director will review the structure and history of the Incubator and answer questions. RSVP to the remote info session here.
Thanks to continued support from New York State’s Empire State Development program, the Game Center continues to offer seats in the Incubator to game developers outside NYU. We invite and encourage applications from folks with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences.
New for the 2020 cohort, we will provide a $25,000 follow-on funding grant to at least one project whose team is composed of one or more developers from under-represented demographics. More information about this opportunity is available below on this page. The Bigglesworth Family Foundation is the source of the funding for this exciting new initiative. The Foundation supports programs and projects that help create systemic change by strengthening the capacity of non-profit organizations and addressing delivery system and historic challenges.
RESPONSE TO COVID-19
As of early April, we are unable to predict how we will conduct the Incubator. Our goal is to run an in-person program, but we will only do so if we are permitted by Government and University authorities and we are entirely confident it is safe to do so. If we cannot run the program in-person, we’re assessing remote approaches that would enable access to the core resources. As events progress, we’ll post updates here and on our social media channels confirming if the Incubator will be in-person, or if we’ll be able to run a remote alternative. Applications will proceed as normal. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
HOW DOES THE INCUBATOR WORK?
Once accepted into the Incubator, developers are provided a structure to address the marketing, legal, financial, and other business challenges of launching a successful commercial game. The Game Center fosters partnerships with publishers, technology companies, experienced developers, lawyers, journalists, and other industry experts who guide the Incubator participants towards their launch goal. Through a combination of curriculum development, events programming, production assistance, and financial support, the goal of the Incubator is to bring to market innovative work that might not otherwise get there.
The Incubator will run from 6/1 – 8/28 with a public showcase on 9/3. Each core team member will be provided an $8,000 stipend to cover their cost of living. Each game will also receive dedicated mentorship time from the Advisory Board members, Game Center faculty, and other local NYC-based game developers. As part of joining the Incubator, core team members must commit to working full-time (~40 hours/week) on the project for the duration of the Incubator at the NYU Game Center (if in-person gatherings are possible at that time). The project may include additional developers in any working arrangement at the discretion of the team. The only stipulation on team composition is each stipend-earning developer must work full-time on the game.
WHO IS IT FOR?
The Incubator is not an extension of the Game Center’s academic programs, nor is it configured as a teaching environment. It is a launchpad for commercial games that provides a stipend, free working space, and access to highly experienced game developer mentors. We are looking for projects that have the potential to find a market that suits them, staffed by developers who have a strong passion to see their game thriving out in the world. We expect to find and fuel projects that will launch or enter into a formal, funded development cycle (e.g. publisher or crowdfunded) within a reasonable window after Incubator.
Games may be on any platform, and they may be digital or non-digital. To get a sense of the games we’ve worked with over the past 5 years, you can see games selected in previous years here. In order to maximize the range of people who have the opportunity to join the Incubator, we broadly define the kinds of games we accept. We recognize that this broad definition can be ambiguous, so if you have any questions about eligibility, please reach out to us at email@example.com and we’re happy to advise.
The Incubator is about developing and executing a launch strategy, meaning it is not suitable for games that are in the pre-production, prototype, proof of concept, or alpha phase. We’re looking for innovative projects that would benefit from a focused push to maximize their opportunity for commercial success. For example, we can support a project that plans to launch a Kickstarter on the last day of the Incubator with the goal of funding another year of development. We can also support a project that plans to launch their game on the last day of the Incubator. These example cases are united by a clear sense of what needs to occur in order for them to launch. A game with interesting mechanics or a compelling narrative but large remaining questions about the nature of the game would not be a fit for this cohort.
We aim to assist a diversity of game styles and game makers. If you are unsure if your game is appropriate for the Incubator, contact the Incubator Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
FOLLOW-ON FUNDING FOR THE 2020 COHORT
We know that entrepreneurship is a risky venture, so we set up the Incubator to give developers more runway before they confront the full pressure of the market. But we recognize that the Incubator lasts a relatively short period of time and most games that participate in the Incubator are unlikely to be generating income immediately after the Incubator ends. This period of time between the end of the Incubator and the securing of additional funding can be tenuous.
With the additional support from the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, we will provide a $25,000 follow-on funding grant to at least one project whose team is composed of one or more developers from under-represented demographics. This funding will help them bridge the gap between a completed game and a commercial launch of that game. We believe this funding will better position these developers for entrepreneurship by increasing the likelihood that they will launch a commercially successful game.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
To apply, complete the online application by 5/4. Projects will be selected by the Incubator Advisory Board with guidance from the Game Center Faculty and Staff. Online applications will be reviewed first, then a small subset of the online applications will be invited to pitch via video conference on the evening of 5/12. Applications will be evaluated along three vectors: Commercial potential, production feasibility, and innovation.
Commercial Potential: Can this game be a product that financially supports the developer(s)?
Production Feasibility: Can the developer(s) bring the game from its current place to a launched product?
Innovation: The Incubator is most interested in games that don’t have obvious existing market fit. Is this the kind of interesting/experimental/innovative game that could benefit from the Incubator?