Gaming incubator welcomes “crazy talented” first cohort

A new Montreal-based gaming incubator and go-to-market accelerator has welcomed its first group of game development teams ready to push the boundaries of video gaming in Canada.

Execution Labs describes itself as a “first-of-its kind, hybrid game incubator and go-to-market accelerator” and its goal is to help independent game developers produce games and bring them to market by partnering them with experienced developers. There’s an office in San Francisco as well as the Montreal base, and it has backing from BDC Venture Capital, Real Ventures, and White Star Capital.

The first cohort of five independent game teams was announced by Execution Labs Wednesday, and will now begin working to create and launch their own games and then spin out into startup game studios. All the spots were filled just eight weeks after the initial cal for applications.Many of the developers already have gaming experience with developers such as EA, Playdom, IUGO and Ludia, and are looking to break out on their own.

“We were blown away by the number of talented, highly experienced teams who applied to the program, and we couldn’t be happier with the teams we’ve selected,” said Alex Normand, Execution Labs co-founder and head of production, in a statement. “We evaluated the applications based on the team first and the game concept second, since success is mostly about the team’s ability to execute.”

In a sign of where the game market is going, all the teams are developing phone and tablet-based games, and are targeting the mid-core and hardcore audiences.

The inaugural five members are:

* Monreal’s Crankshaft Mobile, which is developing a Rogue-like top-down brawler.
* Montreal’s Pixel Crucible, which is building a hybrid adventure/management fantasy game.
* Toronto’s Lightning Rod Games, which planning a mid-core “evil genius” game that mixes Flight Control and Plants vs. Zombies.
* Montreal’s Miscellaneum, which is developing The Firemasters, a 3D side scrolling action game where you play each member of a four-person firefighting team on Mars.
* Vancouver’s Imaginary Games, which is creating a Tim Burtonesque social card game about a mysterious graveyard carnival.

The five cohort members will each receive seed funding, shared office space, development tools and mentoring. After game launch, they’ll also get marketing funding and support with customer acquisition and business operation.

Concept art from Imaginary Games, a member of the first Execution Labs cohort .

Source | Execution Labs

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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