Game-makers score with Telefilm

Round two of the Great Canadian Video Game Search hands cheques to four titles at opening of the ICE conference in Toronto

Four video game companies got the green light and $250,000 each from Telefilm Canada on Wednesday, closing the first full day of the ICE 2007 conference in Toronto.

Cheques went to Big Blue Bubble from London, ON for its Hobby Shop project, Cerebral Vortex Games in St. Catharine’s, ON for Ambush! Trivia, MindHabits of Montreal for MindHabits Trainer and Vancouver’s Hothead Games for Swarm. The winners — finalists in the Great Canadian Video Game Search — will go on to create playable prototypes of their games and compete for an additional $500,000, to be announced in September.

‘The level of talent and entrepreneurship shown by Canadian independent game developers has been nothing short of amazing. We believe these four Round 2 winners best meet the criteria of the Competition, and we are excited to see how their prospects will progress over the next several months,’ said Telefilm exec director Wayne Clarkson in a statement.

Gaming is just one hot button topic at ICE, a two-day conference organized by the New Media Business Alliance that has drawn more than 400 delegates and speakers from the creative and business sides of North American new media.

In his keynote speech Wednesday morning, Canadian sci-fi author and furturist Robert Sawyer took attendees on a trip to the not-so-distant future, where he predicted a blurring of the line between the online and offline worlds, and the further rise of streaming media, within the next five years.

Sawyer says the most interesting challenge of the next 10 years will be the role played by online content creators in the industry’s monetization. Branding, he suggests, will drive consumers from new products such as an online video or games to older products and increase overall brand loyalty.

‘New things drive always the sales of older things,’ said Sawyer.