SAGA encourages students to commercialize their games
Skövde aims to be a leading European gaming hub. One important key to achieving this ambitious goal is the game development students, who contribute to new game ideas, new companies and to provide the industry with expertise. Skövde Municipality supports young game developers by annually awarding the Skövde Academic Game Award (SAGA).
Skövde aims to be a leading European gaming hub, supported by the University of Skövde, Skövde Municipality and the Västra Götaland region. For 20 years, games from Skövde have made an impact not only in Sweden but also worldwide. What started as two educational programs with 40 students at the University of Skövde has now grown to twelve programs with 600 students each year. What was initially a solitary game startup in 2004 has now become a thriving game incubator and community with companies that have delivered world-class games.
Commercialize games and establish studios in Skövde
An important key to achieving these ambitious goals is the game development students, who contribute to new game ideas, new companies and to provide the industry with expertise. Skövde Municipality supports the city’s investment in the gaming industry and in young game developers by annually awarding the Skövde Academic Game Award (SAGA-ward) since 2013. The award encourages students to commercialize their games and establish studios in Skövde, contributing to the city’s position in the game industry.
“We have seen that the SAGA-award has fostered talent retention in the industry, with previous winners continuing their careers in Skövde”, says Louise Hallberg, talent Attraction Manager at Skövde Municipality and part of the SAGA-award jury.
Prize check for the award winner
The winner receives a 20,000 SEK prize check intended to support the opportunity to continue working on the game idea and encourage students to commercialize their games and to start their own studio in Skövde. A jury comprising representatives from the University, Municipality, Science Park Skövde and the gaming industry evaluates nominated games.
“Anyone can apply and be nominated for the award, both teams and individuals. However, there are defined criteria’s that must be met”, Louise explains.
The award criteria require nominees to be students pursuing Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees at The University of Skövde, and their games should be produced during or in close connection with their studies. The nominated games are based on the knowledge that the students have acquired during their time at the university, for example, programming, AI, graphics, animation, design, game writing, sound, and music.
Applicants submit gameplay videos and promotional materials for the jury to review.
Three finalists are selected and playtested
The jury selects three finalists and playtests these games while assessing them based on quality and functionality, commercial potential, and the appeal to the target audience.
“In general, the jury will focus on the team’s ability this year. In this way, we believe that the level of ambition will increase”, Louise continues.
Finalists showcase their games at the Sweden Game Conference, October 25-26, where the winner is announced and awarded on stage in festive manner.
Want to apply? Follow this link: https://forms.gle/xM126BqCXYoEtrRL6
Some of the previous winners
”Creaky Stairs” SAGA 2016: After graduation the team established the studio “Angry Demon Studio” in Skövde with their third game release on the horizon. Angry Demon Studio | A Horror Game Studio
”Stellar Transports” SAGA 2019: One of the game developers from Stellar Transports now hired at Wishfully Studios, known for their successful release of “Planet of Lana”. Wishfully Studios
” Die, Recompile” SAGA 2020: The members of the former studio “Skamvrå” have now founded Skövde based studio Ember Paw with release of their game “Odinfall summer 2023. EmberPaw (@EmberPawGames) / Twitter