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Press Releases
  Games For Change Festival Announces Microsoft as 2020 “G4C Industry Leadership†Award Recipient; Unveils 2020 Award Finalists
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06/11/2020
 


[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource Games Press.]

NEW YORK (June 11, 2020)Games For Change, the leading global advocate for the power of games as drivers of social impact, today announced the finalists for the 17th annual Games For Change Awards and revealed Microsoft as the 2020 “Games For Change Industry Leadership” Award recipient for consistently redefining the boundaries of technology, empowering an ever-diversifying audience, and exemplifying what it means to use technology for good. The Games For Change Awards will be streamed at 7:30 pm EDT on July 14, 2020, as part of the now-virtual, three-day Games For Change Festival, July 14 – 16.

This year’s awards are the most competitive in the Festival’s 17-year history – with over 200 game submissions across six categories: Best Gameplay, Most Innovative, Most Significant Impact, Best Learning Game, Best Student Game, and Best XR for Change. Game entries came from established AAA studios, indie developers, and university-level students, and exemplify this year’s Games For Change Festival themes of resilience, connectedness, and well-being. A juror panel representing 70 game developers, researchers, and experts in game design selected the finalists. Additionally, all finalists are eligible for the coveted “Game of the Year” award, and the public is invited to vote for their favorite game via the “G4C People’s Choice” award, presented by Facebook Gaming.

“As our Industry Leadership recipient, we celebrate Microsoft’s breadth of work to harness the transformative power of games and immersive media across education, mental health and accessibility to pave the way to a more inclusive video game world and affect real social change,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games For Change. “Congratulations to all of our award finalists. These games and developers represent some of the most remarkable and inspiring games and immersive experiences of the year, and we are truly honored to showcase them at our annual Festival.”

Games For Change recognizes Microsoft’s work in education, accessibility, mental health, and their support of independent developers. Microsoft Education continues to be a backbone for schools, especially during remote learning. Their partnership with UNICEF offers an expansion of the global learning platform, Passport Learning, to help children and youth affected by COVID-19 continue their education at home. Over the past decade, Minecraft: Education Edition has opened a pathway for the use of games in the classroom and HoloLens is redefining immersive education.

Microsoft has paved the way to a more inclusive world with the Adaptive Controller and its continued work with Accessibility for All. Additionally, Microsoft is an inspiration to the video game community for its support of independent developers through [email protected], and its work supporting mental health through Ninja Theory’s Hellblade and Project Insight.

“At Microsoft, we believe technology has a unique role to play as an agent of change and social good. Our core ambition is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more and we are humbled to be recognized by Games For Change for our work in education, immersive technologies and gaming,” said Phil Spencer, EVP Gaming at Microsoft.

 

“Within gaming, we believe the power of play goes beyond bringing people joy; it can enrich players’ lives, create meaningful relationships, foster empathy at scale, and provide fun and interactive ways to learn,” continued Spencer. “Gaming has the potential to mobilize positive change. It’s critical to us that Xbox is inclusive, welcoming and accessible to all.  We follow these guiding principles in everything we do and continue to look for ways to harness gaming for the betterment of society.”

The 2020 Game For Change Award finalists include:

Best Gameplay

●   Arise: A Simple Story from Piccolo Studio (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)

●   Dear Reader from Local No. 12 (iOS, Mac, Apple TV)

●   Mosaic from Krillbite Studio (PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS)

●   Sky: Children of the Light from thatgamecompany (iOS)

Most Innovative

●   Concrete Genie from Pixelopus (PlayStation 4)

●   Dreams from Media Molecule  (PlayStation 4)

●   Sea of Solitude from Jo-Mei (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)

●   Sky: Children of the Light from thatgamecompany (iOS)

Most Significant Impact

●   Eliza from Zachtronics (PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch)

●   Life is Strange 2 from DONTNOD Entertainment (PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)

●   Sea of Solitude from Jo-Mei (PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)

●   SweetXheart from Catt Small (Web/Online)

Best Learning Game

●   Funexpected Math from Funexpected LTD (iOS)

●   Mightier from Mightier (Android, iOS)

●   Rabbids Coding from Ubisoft (PC)

●   Sci-Ops: Global Defense from Plasma Games (Web/Online)

Best Student Game

●   Apollo from Team Apollo, University of Southern California (PC, Mac, Live Action)

●   Gamer Girl from RIT's School of Interactive Games and Media (Web/Online)

●   Plasticity from Plasticity Games, University of Southern California (PC)

●   Resilience from Sungrazer Studio, Drexel University (PC, Mac, Linux)

Best XR for Change

●   Bonfire from Baobab Studios (Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, PSVR)

●   Escape to the Future from Open Lab, Newcastle University (Digital Immersive Escape Game, 360 Projection)

●   Paper Beast from Pixel Reef (PSVR)

●   The Holy City from Nimrod Shanit (Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive)

The categories – Best Gameplay, Most Innovative, Most Significant Impact and Best Learning Game – are all eligible for the “G4C People’s Choice” award, presented by Facebook Gaming and decided by the public.

“Facebook Gaming is proud to sponsor Games For Change 2020, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of this year’s People’s Choice awards,” said Leo Olebe, Global Director, Games Partnerships at Facebook. “There are so many great titles to vote for, and the goal of Games For Change to empower game creators to make a difference in the world is needed now more than ever.”

About Games For Change

Since 2004, Games For Change (G4C) has been empowering game creators and innovators to drive real-world change, using games and immersive media that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. G4C partners with technology and gaming companies as well as nonprofits, foundations and government agencies, to run world class events, public arcades, design challenges and youth programs. G4C supports a global community of game developers working to use games to tackle real-world challenges, from humanitarian conflicts to climate change and education.

 

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For more information or to receive a Festival Press Pass:

Mabel Chung

Zebra Partners on behalf of Games For Change

[email protected]