Exciting New Skillz Categories for GDWC 2023

The winter season of the Game Developer World Championship (GDWC) is live!

In addition to sponsoring the Mobile Award category, Skillz is proud to introduce two special categories for the winter GDWC: Skillz Real-Time Award (games with any real-time gameplay) and Skillz Classic Award (games without real-time gameplay, where scores are compared after completion). These two special Skillz categories offer incredible prizes for the winners:

  • A Skillz publishing deal guaranteeing a minimum User Acquisition (UA) spend. In each category, the grand prize winner will receive a publishing agreement providing $100,000 of UA spend, while the four runners-up will receive agreements for $25,000 of UA spend. If players love and respond well to these games, Skillz may allocate additional funds. Successful games could get as much as $5,000,000 in UA!
  • Skillz team support to help make sure they’re successful on the platform. This will include help from the Skillz Developer Success and User Acquisition teams, who will be tracking closely on the metrics for their games to help drive their success. Skillz has been helping developers in the skill-based competition game space since our founding in 2012, and we’re excited to work with all the winners on making their games successful.

GDWC submissions will be accepted through 11:59:59 PM UTC+2 on December 31st, 2023.

What is the difference between Skillz Real-Time and Skillz Classic?

  • Skillz Classic games are ones in which each player plays the same game, and their scores are compared once play is complete (also called “play-and-compare”).
  • Skillz Real-Time games are those where players are actively in a session together, competing in real-time. If your game also has play-and-compare, that would be what we call a “hybrid” game, and it’s in this category.

Skillz has new features for building Real-Time games!

To make it easier to build a real-time game on Skillz platform, we’ve released two features:

  1. Skillz Photon Quantum Unity package:Photon Quantum is a high-performance deterministic framework for online multiplayer games made with Unity. The Skillz Photon Quantum Package is designed to make it easy for game developers to integrate a Photon Quantum game with Skillz by handling Skillz-specific integration points, such as: a) using the Skillz-provided matchmakerMatchID to create and join the Photon room, b) displaying the player connection info in the Lobby scene, c) submitting scores, and d) handling disconnects. You can follow our documentation to get a step-by-step guidance on this integration.
  2. Pre-configured real-time tournament templates: We have provided pre-configured real-time tournament templates in the developer console to reduce your dependency on Skillz to get tournaments set up for your real-time only game. To help your game reach the level of player concurrency needed, Skillz starts you off with an “Early Access” tournament template that has open-matchmaking (i.e. no skill check for matchmaking) and gives players back the Z entry fee used to play. Z is the free virtual currency Skillz provides players in all games, so that they can try them out, risk-free. Once a game has enough players to support matching with skill, Skillz replaces the “Early Access” Template with a Z3/Z5 (where each player puts up three Z to play, and the winner gets five Z) tournament, and begins fairness testing. Skillz then adds cash templates once your game passes the fairness test and meets all the Prize-Enablement requirements. You can follow our documentation to get step-by-step guidance on setting up real-time tournaments.

Skill-based, Fairness, and player liquidity for a game:

All entries for the Skillz Real-Time Award and Skillz Classic Award must be skill-based and pass the Skillz fairness test.

Skill-based: Skillz has developed a model to identify if a game is skill-based or chance-based. Games on the Skillz platform can only be enabled for real money play if they are determined to be skill-based. Full details can be found in the legality of skill-based gaming section in the developer documentation.

Fairness: Skillz is fully committed to ensuring that all competitive matches are fair, without providing an advantage to one player over another. Skillz’s patented algorithm makes sure games are predominantly skill-based by evaluating the results across all play, by all players. To help make sure you’re set up well to pass the fairness test, Skillz provides the Skillz Random feature (refer to the developer docs to learn more). Once your game has around 1,000 games completed in a single type of tournament, the algorithm will provide a score validating whether the game is indeed fair. To learn more about passing the fairness test you can refer to the developer docs.

For real-time gameplay, Skillz provides an “Early Access” model where players are matched regardless of their skill-level and get back the Z entry fee they spent on a competition, so there’s zero risk for players to try out your game at that stage. Once you have enough players, Skillz will then enable tournaments where matchmaking will use the player’s skill level, and where players can win Z from each other. Then, once the game has passed the fairness test and some basic quality metrics, tournaments that let players challenge each other for cash will be enabled. And since games in Skillz must be fair, once your game is out of “Early Access”, there need to be enough players available for matchmaking using player skill to be successful quickly.

Whether you’re building for Skillz Real-Time or Skillz Classic, be sure to leverage your player community and social networks to get people excited about your games!

Skillz resources:

  1. Skillz Developer Community on Discord: Interact with Skillz and the broader community of developers to share ideas and ask for insight to solve problems. We are hosting weekly AMA sessions throughout the GDWC competition every Wednesday from 9:00 am to 9:30 am PST. Our Dev-success team will be available live during the AMA to answer your questions and help you succeed.
  2. Developer Docs: One-stop location for all developer documentation needs
  3. API references: List of all Skillz APIs
  4. Skillz Quantum Unity Package: Quantum is one networking framework used for building real-time multiplayer games. The package handles Skillz specific integration points to make it easy to integrate Quantum into your game project.
  5. YouTube Tutorials: Video tutorials to help integrate the Skillz SDK into your game and set up standard gameplay requirements.
  6. Prize Enablement Requirements: Requirements to enable cash tournaments in your games.

Feel free to reach out to integrations@skillz.com in case you have any questions – we’re happy to help!