Spatial launches Wolves Den Game Jam as a kind of Shark Tank for game startups



Spatial announced it is creating the Wolves Den Game Jam with a kind of Shark Tank-style show with gaming celebrities Ice-T, Cliff Bleszinski, Welyn, and Barji as judges.

Eager to get more game developers on its spatial platform, the New York company said that starting Monday on March 11 it will start taking submissions from budding game developers. The prize pool is $15,000.

The judging panel for this unique Youtube game contest includes high-profile personalities from both the corporate and indie gaming industry, as well as notable figures from the world of music and video.

The star-studded judging panel comprises Ice-T, renowned musician, rapper, and actor; Cliff Bleszinski, co-creator of Gears of War and a veteran video game designer with a 25-year legacy; Barji, an indie game developer and YouTube sensation with over 190,000 subscribers; and Welyn, a gaming influencer known as the “Survival King” with over two million YouTube subscribers.

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“I love the show Shark Tank and I have enough experience in the videogame industry to give my two cents on ideas,” said Bleszinski, whose latest effort is a comic book called Scrapper, in a message to GamesBeat. “Plus, I’m a fan of devs trying to make their own stuff and, hopefully, strike it rich.”

Spatial wants to position itself as the “Youtube for gamers.” The Wolves Den contest will be a platform to champion indie developers by connecting them with new and upcoming talent. The contest, hosted on itch.io, challenges developers to create Unity demos under the theme “Survival Revival”‘ blending survival with another genre of their choice.

Anand Agarawala, CEO and Co-founder at Spatial, said in a statement, “We’re fast becoming the Youtube for gamers, giving a platform to champion indie game developers who are not just making games but crafting entire universes on Spatial. We’re building a community-driven platform to democratize the gaming industry, where fans can discover the best games, offer feedback and be part of a community to elevate the creators they love. This activation is beyond just creating games — it marks an opportunity to catapult upcoming talent into the limelight, uniting creativity, support, and innovation, and where gamers truly have the power to contribute to the success of deserving titles and shape the future of online gaming media and entertainment.”

Gianna Valentina, director of global partnerships at Spatial, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company has been working on the show since last year as part of its original game jam series.

“Spatial is evolving to be almost like YouTube. What YouTube did for video creators is really what we want to do for game creators on the platform,” Valentina said. “We are always cheering for the undiscovered talent, that raw gem that maybe just hasn’t gotten a shot at finding their community. There are so many talented developers and creators around the world.”

Valentina added, “We found amazing partners. It takes to develop concepts like this. You really want to find something that’s going to resonate with the community. We want to give developers the right chance to build the best games.”

How the contest works

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Spatial is launching a Shark Tank-style show with gaming celebrities as judges.

The contest unfolds in two episodes. The top 25 projects, voted by the itch.io community, will be narrowed down to eight semi-finalists by the Spatial team. These semi-finalists will pitch their games on the first episode, with the Wolves selecting four finalists. The chosen developers will then have 30 days to transform their demo into a fully playable game for testing on the second episode.

The Wolves, comprising the judging panel, will crown a winner in May, with cash prizes totaling $15,000 up for grabs. The winning game will also have the opportunity to become the headline game on Spatial, receiving full engineering, art, design, and marketing support.

Ice-T, known for his multi-faceted career spanning music, acting, and now gaming, stated that the event is a freeing opportunity for budding game developers to create something they are truly passionate about.

“We really hope that this can be something where we can bring in other judges from the gaming industry inspire other developers and communities to band together over time,” Valentina said.

March 22 deadline

Aside from judging the entries, the judges will provide mentorship and help connect the entrants with the game community, Valentina said.

“They can connect them with the community and give them a chance to tell their story on why they created their game. We think that authenticity is really important, especially as an artist when you’re building your game, and sometimes developers don’t get a voice,” Valentina said.

I noted that the judges didn’t seem all to be warm and fuzzy types. Valentina noted, “It’s a little bit of a bootcamp. We have a balance of both the player perspective and developer perspective. They were so inspired by the thought of being able to give back and find undiscovered talent. It’s an honor they wanted to join us on this mission.”

All told, developers will have about six weeks to make their games during the course of the contest.

Spatial’s Wolves Den marks a novel approach to bring together industry veterans, influencers, and aspiring developers in a collaborative environment, fostering creativity and community engagement. The submission deadline is March 22.

“This event is a freeing opportunity for budding game developers to create something they’re truly passionate about. It gives them the ability to build something truly great, while feeling a part of a huge community of like-minded developers.” said Barji, in a statement.

Developers can create multiplayer or single-player games as they wish. Spatial will do the porting to the web or mobile devices for the devs.

“Spatial is such an open canvas, especially with our C sharp integration. They really have creative autonomy, but they do have to stick to the Survival Revival themes,” Valentina said. “It has to be a survivor game. After that, it’s really up to their imagination.”

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