Take a quick trip over to the official website for the 2010 Vortex Game Conference and Competition and it still says that the event is scheduled to start one week from tomorrow on October 27th. The event features talks with game industry insiders and networking opportunities for prospective game designers, but the main draw of Vortex is the competition. The competition element is a chance for emerging game designers and developers to pitch their ideas to a panel of game industry leaders.
However, a recent email to staff at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (where the event was to be held) has stated that the Oct. 27 date for the conference/competition has been cancelled. If true, it would be unfortunate but unsurprising. The alleged cancellation could be due to something as simple as low enrollment, but it should be noted that there has been controversy surrounding the event in recent days. Between allegations of impropriety at last year’s competition, and objection to the steep price of registration amongst prospective competitors (from $99 – $335), it wouldn’t be shocking to us that the event’s organizers decided to throw in the towel.
No word on whether the events scheduled for November 9th, 18th 2010 and February 2011 are still happening. We will update you when more information becomes available.
Update: An announcement was made this morning on the Vortex Competition website announcing that the competition portion of the event has been postponed until a later date.
We have decided, after meeting with our board and leaders in the video game industry, to reschedule Boot Camp to after the Vortex-DIG event in order to create the most dynamic experience possible for participants and speakers. DIG London will now include a Vortex pre-qualifying Competition round. By focusing activity in the early 2011 timeframe, we will have the time needed to ensure the highest calibre of entries and to make this the best Vortex event yet.The new schedule and dates will be announced shortly.
In addition, Ryan Creighton from Untold Entertainment followed up on the allegations of impropriety at last year’s Vortex. Creighton believes that a team based out of the United Kingdom was awarded the top Vortex prize, in violation of the rules of the competition. Vortex Conference and Competition states that it is designed to foster Canadian game designers and developers. A requirement of the competition is that members of a competing team must be (the majority) Canadian. The City of Toronto, the Ontario Media Development Corporation and other sponsors provide funding to Vortex under the assumption that they are helping to support local game talent. If Creighton’s claims prove to be true, the event’s organizers may have some explaining to do. You can read Ryan’s piece here.