How The Jurying Process Works


Your entry will pass through several reviewers whose input is taken into consideration when determining whether or not your entry should be accepted into an IndieCade showcase. While the input of some jurors is weighted more, any juror can contest the decision of another, in which case your entry will be further evaluated by others. This evaluation process happens on a rolling basis but a final decision for the Festival is not delivered until later in the year in order to give late submissions an equal chance of acceptance.

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Part 1: Evaluating Your Game

The jury evaluation period for entries occurs on a rolling basis from the opening of submissions to September. Jurors are assigned entries based on the technical platforms they have available for evaluations and their proficiencies. Jurors are asked to abstain from reviewing entries with which they have a conflict of interest. When a juror abstains or cancels their participation, the entry is assigned to a new juror. All entries are evaluated by the jury committee.

Documentation of your submission (gameplay videos, artistic statement, screenshots, etc.) is now more important than ever as it is vital for the jury committee to understand your submission. Please read the DOCUMENTATION section for tips about submitting your game since the documentation is a crucial element to the success of your submission. All entries are reviewed first by their documentation and then move on to either community jurying or a committee jurying phase where they are played. Community jurying will also suggest games into the committee jurying phase. All entries are reviewed first through documentation and then those games marked for the next round of review will move on to a more in-depth phase where they may be played. Please note that we do not guarantee that all games will be played, however all games will be reviewed on their documentation at least. To learn more about documentation, please go HERE.

For some Special Format entries one of the following may occur:

  • The entry may be assigned to one of our Jury Hubs; these are locations where jurors come together to test local multiplayer, special-format, or tabletop entries and staff will reach out to you with the address of the Hub if you need to mail materials in. If we do not receive a physical or digital copy of your entry to provide to a Jury Hub (if applicable), you risk disqualification.
  • If you have listed events in which your entry has been or will be exhibited, we may assign jurors attending these events to your entry.
  • If your entry is site-specific or performative, we may contact jurors and ask them to visit the installation or performance - or we may contact you with a request to provide a demo of your entry to local jurors.
  • If your entry can be mailed in, IndieCade staff will contact you after you have submitted your online entry form. We will provide you with an address to mail your entry to as well as a date your entry must be postmarked by (risking disqualification otherwise). We may contact you after a submission deadline.
  • If we are unable to do any of the above, we will contact individuals (with your assistance) who have already played your entry and are able to provide a non-biased review of it.
  • If we are unable to do any of the above, we will review the entry purely based off of documentation.

If your entry is, in any way, unusual or unique (which we strongly encourage), we will work with you to assure it is properly juried. In order to do this, we need your help and cooperation by being responsive to email & phone communications from our Jury team. Due to the scale and complexity of this process, we occasionally have significant challenges getting a game properly juried. If at any time you have concerns about the jurying of your submission, please contact us immediately via

Part 2: Finalist Selection Process

At the close of the jurying cycle, the IndieCade Jury Committee - which includes our Jury Chairs, Festival Director, and Festival Chair - analyzes an entry’s submission materials and considers reviewers’ input in order to select our Finalists. Each entrant into the Festival is hand selected after multiple rounds of curation. Finalists are selected each year from the pool of submissions.

Please note: Due to the highly competitive nature of our submissions process and the many wonderful applications we receive, it is possible to receive high praise from the jurors recommending inclusion in the Festival, and still not be selected as a Finalist. This is because we receive more juror recommendations than we can accommodate. 

Part 3: E3 Showcase Selection Process

For consideration for IndieCade's E3 Showcase in 2020, games can be submitted during our early submissions period (Jan 15 - Feb 15). When you submit during this period, you can choose to have your submission considered for IndieCade Festival (US) as well for a small add-on fee. IndieCade Europe submission are not yet open. When they open it will be announced on our website and twitter. IF YOU HAVE ALREADY submitted PRIOR to that announcement, you will be contacted to see if you would like to have your game considered for EU as well (you will only be charged the add-on fee).

For those games that are invited to the Showcase, a booth fee will be required from each team in order to help cover the large convention overhead. For more questions about this or anything else related to E3, please email

Part 4: Finalist Acceptance Notices

If an applicant is accepted as a Finalist, they will receive an email from the IndieCade staff which will initiate communications with our Games Manager. They will assist applicants with all the logistics regarding preparing your entry and team for their IndieCade event.

Acceptance includes two VIP Passes and, if accepted to IndieCade Festival (US), IndieXchange invitations for the applicant team. IndieCade only charges a booth fee for the IndieCade Showcase @ E3 (in years in which IndieCade attends), and does not charge for booth space for any other event. We ask that developers bring their own equipment, but will make every effort to provide equipment if a team is unable to, with priority given to international developers traveling from afar. Additional passes may be obtained via special request, based on availability. Accepted applicants may also receive a speaking invitation from our IndieCade Festival Conference Committee.

If an entry is accepted as a Finalist, we ask that applicants have one team member available to attend the IndieCade event they are chosen for. If a team member is not available to attend the event, we ask that a representative be sent. Our experience has shown that an entry’s exhibition experience is greatly enhanced by the presence of one of its creators or a representative. However, we understand travel arrangements could be difficult to secure and we would be happy to work with applicants who may not be able to find someone to represent their work and field attending media.

Part 5: Rejection Notices

Applicants will receive a rejection notice and the form to RSVP to IndieXchange, our pre-Festival developer and artist summits at IndieCade Festival. Every applicant is eligible to receive at least two tickets for their team to IXC.

Part 6: Awards

IndieCade Red Carpet Awards: The IndieCade Red Carpet Awards presents innovation-based awards each year at the IndieCade Festival. All Finalist games are eligible for awards in any category. To determine award recipients, all Finalist submissions are reviewed by each member of the Jury Committee who discuss and consider the scores and comments provided by jurors and reviewers. They then determine which Finalist entries should be nominated for each award category. As with regular jurors, the Jury Committee must recuse themselves from discussing any entries to which they may have a relationship (e.g. financial stake, friendship, co-worker, student).

This process takes place over a month-long period via a series of remote meetings in which each Finalist entry is discussed in-depth. During this process, the Jury Committee crafts short statements that detail the reasons each entry is selected as a nominee in a given category, as well as notes on why each of the award-selected games will receive their award.

IndieCade Choice Awards: All Finalists are also eligible for the IndieCade Choice Awards - a series of awards determined via public votes from Festival attendees, media, the IndieCade Jury, and fellow developers of Finalist entries. These votes are collected throughout IndieCade Festival and IndieCade Europe. Votes are carefully monitored and only one vote per person is allowed. The winners of the IndieCade Choice Awards are announced at the end of the event. The Choice Awards exist in both the Festival and IndieCade Europe.

Part 7: IndieCade East

IndieCade East is another event where games from our submissions system may be eligible. IndieCade does not take game submissions specifically for East. Games shown at East are hand-curated selections of entries featured at past IndieCade events. Finalists and Official Selections of IndieCade Festival are often considered for these curations. IndieCade East is not scheduled for 2020.

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