YEREVAN—A video game developers’ competition and trade show kicked off on Friday in Yerevan, Armenia, for its fourth year in a row, attracting hundreds of spectators, competitors, and investors. Entitled “Open Play,” the event is a competition for developers of computer and mobile games and is organized by a tech industry advocacy group, Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE), and by Orange Armenia.
The objective of the event is to develop the computer and mobile games market in Armenia, UITE says. The competition is a step in promoting a conducive business environment for game developers and for the tech industry in general, and to advance a “Made in Armenia” brand of software that will ultimately compete in the international scene.
UITE also says it aims to help discover young talent in Armenia and to support and motivate developers to continue advancing in the field of video game development.
“In 2011, when we organized the championship for the first time, 25 projects participated in the competition. In 2012, the number of games reached 40; and in 2013, the number of participating projects was 50,” said Karen Vardanyan, Executive Director of UITE. “‘Fast Food’ – the winning game in 2013 – has been downloaded by 100,000 users so far. That goes to show that the championship is progressing and that we can set and fulfill more ambitious goals for 2014.”
Vardanyan added that the organizers of the event anticipate a 30 percent increase in the number of participants in 2014.
“We are happy to be working with the UITE for the fourth consecutive year in bringing to life many new and interesting ideas and projects,” said Orange Armenia’s project manager for the event Lilith Martirosyan. “The Open Play championship has already become a tradition, and the number of participants, which has increased year by year, proves that the market for computer and mobile games is indeed a dynamically developing one; one that has great potential in Armenia.”
Harutyun Hambardzumyan, General Director of SoftConstruct Co., which is a co-sponsor of the event this year, said his company values the event and hopes that it will shed more light on the video game development industry in Armenia.
Open Play will be comprised of four stages, in which developers will compete and improve their games with the help of a jury. After the last stage, final iterations of participants’ games will be presented to visitors during the event’s Game Expo.
Participating developers will compete for prizes in eight categories, including Best Game, Best Design, Most Popular, and Most Innovative. The total amount of prize money equals to 3 million dram ($7217).
Open Play does not discriminate against participants on any basis of age, project type, or technical abilities. Developers who wish to participate can register at the event website.