Representatives from advertising-supported online publisher Zango have announced the official launch of the company’s Game Playmakaz Contest for independent game developers. The winning submission will be awarded a $50,000 game development contract with the company, and finalist submissions will also be considered for Zango licensing agreements.
Zango is accepting entries through July 31, 2005 and the winning game will be announced on October 27, during the Austin Game Conference in Austin, Texas.
Game experts Mark Long, from Seattle-based Zombie Studios and Paul Steed, author of books on creating and modeling characters for video games, are slated to judge finalists based on overall design, creativity, fun factor, playability, stability, size, music and sound, and will make the final selection. All game entries will be played and tested by an in-house Zango Games team, and 12 finalists will be chosen for review by the judges.
Game developers can access contest rules and the contest application form at the Zango booth, March 9-11 during the Game Developers Conference at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco. Contest rules are also available at partner.zango.com
In addition, Gamasutra spoke to Todd Sawicki, Sr. Director of Marketing and Charles Balas, Sr. Producer about the company's profile and its intentions. Founded in 1999, the company started out as being associated with 180 Solutions, a somewhat controversial, sometimes 'adware'-related firm which has come under fire
for issues related to its installable ad software.
The company explains that it makes money by "delivering permission-based client-side keyword-targeted advertisements" - in reality, this means that when you install a Zango game, you can play it at any time, but you will also install the Zango advertising client.
This then pops up browser windows (in Internet Explorer) and paid advertisements at any time you use your computer, relevant to queries you make in your web browser. Therefore, Zango games act as an incentive to persuade people to install the advertising client, a practice that isn't yet universally accepted in the game industry.
Nonetheless, the Zango representatives explained that a major title licensed with their software could make a six-figure sum over the course of a year, and they were also negotiating with major publishers in order to acquire some of their smaller, older titles to release on Zango, which is now apparently one of the top 20 sites for downloadable games.