• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £25k (excluding VAT) for five businesses to develop innovative commercial prototypes that meet the broad objectives we have set with our industry partners.

  • Programme: IC tomorrow

  • Award: Individual awards will be a maximum of £25k each excluding VAT

  • Opens: 02 Sep 2013, 09:00

  • Registration closes: No deadline

  • Closes: 16 Oct 2013, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4358

Digital innovation contest - Games


£125k* for digital innovation in the games sector 

IC tomorrow has launched the ‘Digital Innovation Contest - Games' contest to encourage digital innovation in the games sector. We are offering five businesses up to £25k* each to develop innovative commercial prototypes that meet the broad objectives we have set with our industry partners, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), Crytek UK, Intel, Google Chrome, ODEON Cinemas and Pinewood Studios.
We are looking for great ideas that address one of our five contest challenges. To apply, it is not necessary to have an existing app or service, or to be currently active in the games industry.
IC tomorrow will be awarding up to five successful businesses an award of up to £25k* for the development of a prototype service or application in each of the following categories: 
  • second-screen use in a game
  • open street map data 
  • new markets and perceptual computing 
  • wider games' distribution on mobile web 
  • games and cinema. 
Each successful applicant will retain their intellectual property, and will also: 
  • gain from exposure to a range of games industry partners 
  • be able to test their proposed application, product or service with a relevant industry partner 
  • be able to promote their solution via the IC tomorrow programme 
  • receive support in resolving delivery issues related to the proposed application or service.
Deadline for submissions: Wednesday 16 October 2013, at noon
*Individual awards will be a maximum of £25k each, excluding VAT. 

Application criteria

Proposed solutions should have the potential to appeal to a wider commercial market, and successful applicants will be expected to trial their proposed solutions with their respective industry partners for a minimum of three months. 
We welcome applications from agencies, but they need to have in mind a specific product, platform or service, even if it is only at the idea stage. We also welcome applications relating to fully formed concepts, but we can only fund applications that include an element that is novel and inventive, and will not make awards for work that has already been carried out or is already being funded. 


Partner: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 

As the number of consumers using portable devices for games continues to rise into the hundreds of millions, there is a commercial opportunity for game developers to use clever second-screen game mechanics/companion apps to enhance the content that users are experiencing.
The concept has been around for years, but there are very limited examples of second-screen use in games that have improved traditional console gaming experiences. 
This challenge therefore seeks the development of an innovative and original game application prototype that is split across two or more screens and/or is a unique and indispensable use of second-screen game mechanics. 
Successful solutions should address the following: 
  • real-time connectivity, with the second screen used at the same time as the primary device 
  • single player or multiplayer gaming. 
In addition, successful solutions could also consider: 
  • integrating additional control mechanisms such as game controllers, mouse or keyboard 
  • multiple screens that communicate with a single primary device 
  • second screen used as the primary game controller.


Partner: Crytek UK 

Procedurally generated content and worlds – generated algorithmically rather than manually – are much cheaper to scale than hand-authored work by artists. A key long-term goal for the games industry is the creation of procedurally generated content and open-world environments, which are then rendered in a game engine and could provide an opportunity for developers to save resources. 
Many games are modeled on real-world settings and locations, so the rise in availability of open street map data could provide interesting source material for this type of procedurally generated content. 
This challenge therefore seeks innovative digital applications that can help to more easily render open street map data in a game engine. 
Successful solutions should do the following: 


Partner: Intel 

The success of some motion-controlled devices in the games industry has shown that there is a big desire from consumers for intuitive games with natural user controls that provide a better user experience. There are commercial opportunities for developers building compelling games of this type, which could be deployed across a wider range of games. 
This challenge is to leverage a perceptual computing capability in a game to create a unique and immersive experience. Perceptual computing refers to the ability of devices to recognise such things as the user's gestures and speech. 
Successful solutions should address one or more of the following: 
  • speech recognition 
  • face tracking 
  • finger tracking 
  • object tracking.
In addition, successful solutions could also consider: 
  • an entertaining and engaging user experience using perceptual computing capabilities for a wider audience, for example, using hand gesture or finger tracking to interact with a game 
  • a game that is inclusive and accessible in design and has a wider appeal to users that may have physical disabilities or are elderly K games for educational purposes. 

The winning application will also be given a creative gesture camera to use for building their prototype. 


Partner: Google Chrome 

New technology can change the way mobile web games are shared and initiated between players. 
Typically, mobile web games are started by typing in a web address on a mobile device and shared by sending the address to friends.
More innovative ways to start games' sessions between users on the web will increase the potential for games to engage and attract players. 
This challenge seeks the development of a new service or new interaction that will encourage players to start their games' sessions with other users with as little effort as possible. 
Successful solutions should address the challenge by using one or more of the following mobile web interfaces: 
  • WebRTC (video and data sent peer-to-peer) 
  • NFC (near field communication where users can share URLs by touching phones) 
  • geo-location and device orientation 
  • camera access 
  • web audio for advanced audio manipulation. 


Partner: ODEON Cinemas and Pinewood Studios

Cinema needs to retain its relevancy in an age where watching digital content on personal computing devices is increasingly popular. The idea of cinema audiences playing ‘massively multiplayer online games' on their smartphones and on the big screen has been explored, but there are limited examples of success in this area. 
This challenge therefore seeks a digital game or application prototype that encourages audience attendance in the cinema either in the 20 minutes of pre-screening before the film starts or when screens are not being used to show films. 
Successful solutions could consider: 
  • massively multiplayer online games on the mobile web that involve interaction between individuals in the cinema audience and the big screen 
  • digital applications that allow the cinema audience to interact with on-screen content before the screening of a film. 
The successful applicant may be able to trial their prototype at ODEON cinemas and also in the largest preview theatre in the UK, Theatre 7 at Pinewood Studios. 
More information about each of these challenges can be found at: https://connect.innovateuk.org/ web/digital-innovation-contest-games 
To enter, you should clearly indicate the specific challenge you are addressing. You may address more than one challenge, across different themes, with different solutions. However, we will not consider the same solution in relation to multiple challenges. If your solution applies to more than one of these challenges, consider carefully which it would fit best. 
We will only fund one solution from a single company in any given contest; so while you may submit multiple entries across different challenge categories, you can only be selected as a finalist to progress in one category. Please consider carefully, therefore, the categories you wish to apply for. 
If we get two proposals from you with the same name we will assess the last one we received. If you have multiple ‘Digital Innovation Contest – Games' applications or services, please use a different proposal name for each one. 
For further information on the challenges and criteria please see the application guidance document. 

Who can apply?

To apply for an award as part of the ‘Digital Innovation Contest – Games', you will need to meet the following criteria. You must: 
  • propose a prototype solution that responds to one of the specific challenges and shows sufficient innovation and wider commercial potential 
  • have a clear idea of the revenue-earning potential of your proposed solution, and the business model that it fits. 
We accept applications from UK-based companies as well as applications from companies based in the EU: please see the application guidance for further information.

How does the contest work?

The contest is a two-stage procurement process.

Stage one

Stage one opens on Monday 2 September 2013. You must apply via the web before noon on Wednesday 16 October 2013
  1. Register and apply at https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/digital-innovation-contest-games
  2. Once registered, you will have access to the online application form and application guidance document. 
  3. Download the ‘application guidance document' and read before preparing your application, which involves making a two-minute video submission and completing an online application form. 
  4. Answer the questions on the online application form offline (consult the ‘application guidance document' for clarification) so you are ready to complete the online application form in one attempt. 
  5. Produce your video submission (using a webcam is acceptable) and upload it to any video provider such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Please ensure that your privacy setting is ‘public'. If you would like to submit a private video, please contact support@ictomorrow.co.uk before making your application. 
  6. Complete the online application form, including the link to your video, before noon on Wednesday 16 October 2013
Please note: your video should remain accessible until the end of the contest process on Wednesday 13 November 2013. 
Video entries by previously successful IC tomorrow contest applicants have included a mix of pitching to camera, animations and example footage of the application, product or service, and have clearly highlighted how their idea meets the brief. It is also important to provide details of the level of innovation in the application, product or service, and how it might be commercialised after the trial period. 
We expect to choose up to 15 finalists from this stage to go through to stage two. 

Stage two 

Stage two will involve a panel session held on Wednesday 13 November 2013
Successful stage-two finalists will be required to take part in a 10-minute presentation and Q&A session with a panel, whose members will include representatives from 
IC tomorrow and the relevant challenge partners. 
The panel will decide which applications to choose, up to a maximum of five. 

Key dates

  • Contest opens: Monday 2 September 2013 
  • Briefing event: Thursday 19 September 2013 
  • Closing date for submissions: Wednesday 16 October 2013 noon
  • Finalists notified: Friday 1 November 2013 
  • Practice pitch sessions at IC tomorrow office: From 4 to 8 November 2013 
  • Final panel session: Wednesday 13 November 2013 
  • Prototype trials launched: Autumn 2014 

More information

Apply now! 

Register interest and get news and information relating to this contest at: https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/digital-innovation-contest-games 
IMPORTANT: Do not leave your submission until the last minute. Technical problems do occur and late submissions will not be accepted. 

Need help? 

If you need help applying contact the IC tomorrow team: 
Helpline: 0300 321 4358 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) 
Disclaimer: By providing your video and (non-personal) application data for contest entry you are consenting to its use for promotion by IC tomorrow.