Independent Games Festival Chairman Brandon Boyer has stepped down. In a letter published on the IGF website, he passes the role of Chairman over to Kelly Wallick, the original creator of the Indie Megabooth. Wallick will be handling the IGF for 2016 and beyond, as well as instituting new changes in the way the IGF is run.
Wallick will be reducing the entrance fee from $95 to $75 for the main competition entrants of the IGF. If you think this is an upgrade, keep in mind that the main entrant fee will be offset by raising the student entrant fee from $0 to $25.
In her first letter to the community as the new IGF Chairman, Wallick states…
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to continue Brandon’s position as chairperson for the IGF.”
[…] “I intend to continue moving the indie game community forward in a way that promotes positivity, rewards creativity and inspires future developers, while working with both the IGF and the Indie MEGABOOTH”
Things came to a head with the Indie-Fensible videos from Camera Lady back on September 1st, 2014, where a series of exposés highlighted numerous sex and cronyism scandals that Boyer was involved in. This resulted in the IGF and PR firm Silverstring Media issuing responses about the allegations, denying charges of wrongdoing.
However, following the claims of the IGF being involved with flagitious activity, former games journalist Allistair Pinsof also claimed that things didn’t seem right with Boyer and some of the other awards events he hosted within the gaming industry. Pinsof made these claims in an interview that took place on Techraptor back on February 4th, 2015. Kotaku did a follow-up on the interview and attempted to dismiss any wrongdoing on behalf of Boyer and the IGF. Although, on February 6th, 2015 after being presented with more information about the corruption charges, they did state that they would further investigate the claims of corruption, but never followed through with anything else.
Pinsof and others called for a thorough investigation into the IGF. Gamers had previously submitted complaints to the SEC and FTC about potentially rigged competitions, which is a violation of state law in California.
This was all further exacerbated within the gaming community after various developers complained about the way the IGF judging process was handled, which included notable names in the indie scene such as Edmund McMillen from Super Meat Boy, who opined that the incestuous nature of the indie scene was out of hand, as documented in a podcast and transcribed on Kotaku in Action.
According to leaked logs, in an attempt to keep this information suppressed some Reddit moderators actively abetted in covering up and censoring any posts outside of Kotaku in Action that highlighted the corruption of the IGF.
Back on April 16th, 2015 David Auerbach from Slate had previously predicted that IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer, along with IGDA executive Kate Edwards, would be stepping down within 18 months.
— Jasperge107 (@Jasperge107) August 1, 2015
It appears Auerbach hit the nail on the head regarding the former IGF chairman.
Moreover, this may not be the end of the former GJP member and IGF Chairman. Boyer states in his farewell letter that he has new initiatives planned and that he enjoyed his five years running the IGF…
“It has been, as they say, a privilege and an honor for me to serve you all here for the past five years, and I’m super thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with our staff, our judges & jurors who volunteer so much of their time to make the festival happen every year, and the developers who create all the amazing experiences we’re here to celebrate.”
Whether or not this will mean the IGF will head into a new direction that better represents indie developers and steers away from any charges of potential corruption remains to be seen. For now, the IGF will be in the hands of Kelly Wallick as one chapter closes and a new one opens. I’m sure the executives at UBM are hoping that this new chapter contains fewer news stories headlined with the words “corruption” and “allegations”, and focuses more on the indie titles featured in the IGF.