Submissions Dates & Fees
For 2023, you can apply to IndieCade Anywhere and Everywhere, our online Festival.
We offer submission fee assistance to a limited number of developers and creators in need of financial assistance – click HERE to learn more.
2023 Submission Deadlines:
- Regular Submissions
Open through April 10, 2023 at 11:59PM PDT (GMT -7)
- Late Submissions
April 10, 2023 – through May 31, 2023 at 11:59PM PDT (GMT -7)
Regular Rate + $25 late fee
IndieCade is an independent organization and our ultimate goal is to bring the eye of the industry & general public to your submission. All submission fees directly cover the costs associated with processing your submission and showcasing selected games.
What You Get For Submitting – All Games
Entries submitted to IndieCade by the listed deadlines receive the following benefits:
- All entries are reviewed by our jury and considered for IndieCade Festival 2023.
- All team members receive complimentary invitations to attend the Festival’s Developer Summit (IndieXchange).
- Opportunity to participate in our signature GameTasting (show-and-tell). Note: This is a first-come/ first-serve opportunity.
- Members: Along with other benefits, members at select tiers may also opt to receive written or personal feedback on your game submission. Become a member now.
Please also note that we do not guarantee that all games will be played, however at the very least – all games will be reviewed very carefully on their documentation. To learn more about documentation, please go HERE.
What You Get For Submitting – Accepted Games
In addition to the general benefits for submitting a game LISTED ABOVE, if you are accepted as a Finalist at IndieCade Festival or IndieCade Europe you will also receive:
- All selections are eligible for IndieCade’s Awards.
- VIP passes for your full team.
- PR game promotion, including pre and post event social releases and media outreach.
- Team members from all selections will be entered into the Festival’s Developer Summit (IndieXchange), including developer networking.
- Exclusive customized meetings with industry and fellow developers.
IndieCade welcomes work from across all genres and mediums, be they digital, tabletop, big and/or physical, performative, competitive, cooperative, experimental, experiential, or hybrids thereof. From works-in-progress to fully completed and/or released works on traditional platforms, on new platforms or on something from beyond our expectations – IndieCade welcomes innovation of all forms.
Independent Games, as defined by IndieCade, are works that receive funding via their own developers, private investors, crowdsourcing, grants, internal studio funding, or association with a university, school, or nonprofit institution. Submissions may be published or unpublished, but their development may not be fully funded by a publisher. Partial funding, marketing help, etc. are valid ways to have a relationship with a publisher while still being eligible for IndieCade. If you need assistance in determining your project’s eligibility status, please email email@example.com – we will be happy to help you figure it out.
Previous submissions to, or inclusion in, other festivals does not prevent eligibility in any way. Works which were previously submitted to IndieCade may be re-submitted provided they:
- Were not IndieCade Award winners in a previous IndieCade Festival
- Have undergone significant changes since last submitted
- While not required, we recommend that you provide a different name that clearly indicates a new version (e.g. Project Name 2.0 or Project Name 20XX version). This avoids confusion in the event jurors have previously played the original submission through IndieCade or elsewhere.
Disqualified games are eligible for resubmission provided all other submission requirements, including the above, have been met.
IndieCade has an inclusive submissions policy and invites entries of all game styles and genres to apply – including PC, console, browser-based, casual, puzzle, mobile, alternate-reality, big / physical games, installation-based games, mods (provided they conform to game engine licensing agreements), serious games, documentary games, activist games, art games, virtual worlds, “sandbox” games, and more!
We welcome submissions developed by individuals, small teams, large teams, artists, students, universities and schools, non-profit organizations and beyond. We also strongly encourage submissions from diverse creators of any nationality, ethnicity, culture, gender, orientation, age, or experience range. Diversity is encouraged. Innovation is celebrated. In order to help with this, we have a needs-based financial assistance you can apply to HERE. Staff will review your application and may decide to grant a coupon which you can use on the last page of the submission form and will discount the submission fee.
Discounts vary based off of individual circumstances. If you have applied to the financial assistance program, we recommend that you finish filling out your submission but wait to hear back on your financial assistance before paying and officially completing your submission. This assistance is ONLY for the submission fee and NOT travel assistance should you be selected to showcase at an event.
Works-in-progress are permitted and encouraged, but make sure that you do not have any bugs that would prevent reviewers from assessing the work or progressing through your submission.
All game content and copyrighted material must be fully owned by the designers / developers of the entry; if outside material is used, legal permission must be secured or your game will be disqualified.
If you plan to submit a work that is on a non-standard game operating system (e.g. Atari, custom hardware), please plan to submit review hardware or host a scheduled evaluation of your entry. If your non-standard entry is chosen as a Finalist, also plan to have a representative on-site during your designated event to be responsible for installation, or to supply hardware with the game fully installed. If your submission can not be reviewed or displayed, it will be DISQUALIFIED.
How To Submit
Step 1 – Complete the Online Entry Form
Complete the online entry form and be sure to include the following information:
- Contact information (please ensure the email & phone contacts entered are accurate, active, and frequently monitored as to not miss communications from our Jury team. We often communicate via a mailing list so make sure firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com do not go to your Spam folder).
- Technical contact who is available to respond to troubleshooting and support requests via email within 24 hours.
- Agree to our TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
Step 2 – Submit the Online Entry Form and Pay for Your Entry Processing
At the end of the submission form, you will select the event(s) you are applying for, submit your completed online application, and pay the submission processing fee. If you are interested in the IndieCade Submission Fee Assistance program, you must apply and wait for your acceptance notice before you submit your entry. More information about the Submission Fee Assistance can be found HERE.
IMPORTANT: Only completed, paid submissions will be considered. Be sure to complete and pay for your application prior to your submission period deadline. Unpaid submissions will not be marked as complete and will not be eligible for review or inclusion at any IndieCade events.
Unlike prior years, please note that you will not be able to edit your submission application once you have pressed the submit button and paid your fees. There is some leniency in the case of broken links or expired download codes, and IndieCade staff will contact you if your submission form has such. If you are selected to showcase, you will have the opportunity to update information that will appear on the website and promotional materials, as well as show your latest work or build.
Step 3 – How We Review Your Work
The most important part of your submission is your DOCUMENTATION and not necessarily the build of your game. Documentation is important in deciding how your entry is reviewed. All entries must provide a working build of their game along with their online application. How one does so depends on the type of submission.
IndieCade reserves the right to disqualify entries if any of the submission requirements are not met. Disqualified entries will not receive a submission refund. Grounds for disqualification are:
- The entry does not meet the eligibility requirements listed HERE.
- For digital games: Jurors are unable to access a working version of the game. If our reviewers cannot play your submission for technical reasons, they will contact the person listed under the technical support contact. If we do not receive a response within 48 hours of a plan on how to get your submission reviewed, it risks disqualification. This is why it’s extremely important to include a reachable technical contact with your submission and to respond in a prompt fashion to inquiries from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note, although we cannot guarantee that a submission is played in the first round of jurying, it is often true that the juror will do their utmost to play the game as well as review documentation and so access to this is important. It is almost always true that jurors play the submissions in subsequent rounds of review.
Please also note that we do not refund fees for games that are disqualified.
IndieCade is a small, independently-run organization which relies on submission fees to maintain and administer our jurying process. However, we do provide full and reduced submission fee assistance to developers who would not otherwise be able to afford our submission fees. We are also delighted to receive contributions to this scholarship fund. Learn more about the program and how to apply HERE. Please note that the scholarships are only for the submissions processing fee and not for any related travel or expenses.
What Submission Fees Are Used For
IndieCade is an independent organization and we rely on submission processing fees to support the following:
- Software development of the jury system: Our jury system has been painstakingly and iteratively developed over the past ten years to create the best possible experience for developers and jurors, and to accommodate the widest range of innovative submissions. The bulk of our fees go directly to the software development team responsible for creating this system.
- Server costs: Direct fees associated with maintaining secure servers.
- Submission processing fees: Direct fees charged by our payment system, as well as occasional fees for expanding our resources to ensure all submitted games receive a fair review.
- Staff and special handling: A small portion of our submission fees assist in the handling of incoming physical or special-format entries. For instance, in 2015 we received over 250 board game and special circumstances submissions. Each one of these must be physically logged and tracked at our offices by staff members and volunteers.