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About the Independent Games Festival

Please note: this information refers to GDC 2016, check back for updates.


The UBM Tech Game Network (producers of, and the Game Developers Conference) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers. Just as the Sundance Film Festival benefits the independent film community, the IGF creates a similar event for independent game developers in addition to the student population of game developers.

Located at the Moscone Center at the Game Developers Conference, and open to any members of the public or game professionals who have passes with access to the Expo Floor, the IGF Pavilion showcases every single finalist for this year's Festival in playable form. Game submissions are also browsable on the official IGF site before and during GDC. Members of the development team for each IGF finalist are on hand to discuss and demonstrate the title and talk to top game publishers and distributors attending the show.

The IGF Awards will take place on Wednesday, March 16, at the Game Developers Conference, with thousands watching the awards presentation before the Game Developers Choice Awards are presented. In its 18th year, the IGF has given away hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes and major recognition to innovative and independently created video games from all over the world.

GDC Ballroom, West Hall, Street Level
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
6:30-8:30 pm

Expo Floor

March 16 - March 18, 2016


March 14 - March 15, 2016

IGF Contest Overview

IGF Competition
The main IGF Competition will give out eight major awards:

  • Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($30,000)
  • Excellence in Audio ($3,000)
  • Excellence in Design ($3,000)
  • Excellence in Narrative ($3,000)
  • Excellence in Visual Art ($3,000)
  • Nuovo Award ($5,000)
  • Best Student Game ($3,000)
  • Audience Award ($3,000)
There are six specifically named finalists for each award, with the exception of the Nuovo Award, which has eight finalists. All finalists will be invited to the IGF award ceremony at GDC 2016, and will have their games showcased at the IGF Pavilion. The IGF Audience Award will be voted from the finalists in all other categories.

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Key IGF Dates & Deadlines

For more information on key IGF dates and deadlines, please visit the IGF Website

  • Jul. 31, 2015
  • Oct. 26, 2015
  • Early Jan., 2016
  • Mar. 14 - 18, 2016
  • Mar. 14 - 15, 2016
  • Mar. 16 - 18, 2016
  • Mar. 16, 2016
  • Submissions are Open
  • IGF Competition Submission Deadline
  • IGF Competition Finalists Announced
  • Game Developers Conference 2016
  • Independent Games Summit @ GDC
  • IGF Pavilion @ GDC
  • IGF Awards Ceremony (Winners Announced!)