The Toronto, Ontario-based McLuhan Festival of the Future announced the launch of this year's The Vortex Competition, which revolves around aspiring game entrepreneurs and companies across Canada.
A judging panel will review submitted concepts and prototypes of games in two respective categories. The competition, now in its fifth year and open to entrants across Canada, will take place on November 4 and 5. Judges for Vortex 2009 include software entrepreneur and star of the TV show Shark Tank Kevin O'Leary, Ubisoft Canada CEO Yannis Mallat, GameTap founder Blake Lewin, and game columnist and TV personality Marc Saltzman.
"We have a very big hub of video game developers involved in the competition," said Val Dooley, founder of Toots Capital in a phone call. She's helping organize the competition, which has strong representation from major Canadian cities Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto. "Some of the people [in past Vortex Competitions] have developed companies that are very successful," she added.
The official Vortex website described the competition
format as a fast and snappy pitch-based event meant to keep entrants on their toes: "During two days of competition each participant will have a 30 minute session before a judging panel. In the first 10 minutes they will make their pitch. This will be followed immediately by 20 minutes of discussion and review with the panel."
Vortex's website continued, "Two winners will be selected from each category each day of the competition. The four finalists will face off at the end of the second day, November 5, 2009 at the Semi-Finals. Here, each Semi-Finalist will have the opportunity to make a 10-minute pitch to a panel of internationally renowned judges."
The deadline for submissions is October 23. Winners will be eligible for cash prizes and opportunities to give their games commercial exposure "through a wide variety of channels," event organizer said.
Also part of Vortex is a networking and education event called the Vortex Boot Camp, which takes place October 7-8. Boot Camp will include sessions relating to business, legal, marketing, finance, and other relevant aspects of the video games business. Presenters include venture capital professionals, financiers, and government funding bodies.
Registration for both the Boot Camp and competition is available at Vortex's website
. Important dates are below.
Deadline for Boot Camp Registration: Oct 5
Boot Camp & Networking Reception: Oct 7-8
Deadline for Competition Submissions: Oct 23
Announcement of Contenders: Oct 29
Competition & Awards Gala: Nov 4-5