Research meets gaming: AI GameDev for scientists and start-ups

August 9, 2021

Cyber Valley, Square Enix, and IT-Farm launch Europe’s first research-driven competition to enhance game technology

The games publisher Square Enix, the venture capital firm IT-Farm, and Cyber Valley are launching AI GameDev, a competition for start-ups and scientists who think their ideas could contribute to, or whose work focuses on, developing the most exciting artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for the entertainment and gaming industry.

AI GameDev is Europe’s first competition that aims to facilitate technology and knowledge transfer from European AI research to the many possible applications in game development. “AI can help improve video games in many ways, for instance by creating better, more realistic virtual environments or scenarios”, says Michael J. Black, Director of the Perceiving Systems department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and Cyber Valley speaker. “We want to make the full potential of the European AI research and start-up scene visible and reward the best ideas.”

The event partners have launched the website, where start-ups and AI researchers can submit their ideas by September 26, 2021 in the form of a pitch deck, a video, or a scientific paper. The application process will officially start on August 11, 2021. The best ten ideas will be selected for the competition, and their creators will be given the opportunity to present their concepts at an award ceremony on December 2, 2021. While Cyber Valley will honor the most promising scientific performance, IT-Farm will present the Audience Award. The Main Award will go to the most innovative AI solution. Sponsored by Square Enix, the prize includes a trip to Tokyo, Japan.

“In the realm of gaming, AI technologies show great promise and could potentially lead to fundamental changes in terms of game design,” says Youichiro Miyake, Lead AI Researcher at Square Enix Co., Ltd. “Combining AI technologies with game design is the key to the future of digital games. I hope many young people and new companies will rise to this challenge.”

Shinya Kasuga, Partner at IT-Farm Corporation, says: “Gaming and interactive entertainment are the frontier markets for technologies that capture, model, discover, enhance, and render the interaction between human beings and the world. It’s all about the ‘world’. The automotive sector, smart cities, healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, education, and many other large sectors are now leveraging gaming and entertainment technologies to innovate their core business. In the AI GameDev contest, we are truly excited to meet with and support the AI entrepreneurs who are addressing the world’s major challenges.”

For more information on the awards, the benefits, the application process, and the timelines, please go to


About Square Enix Co., Ltd.:

Square Enix Co., Ltd. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX®, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content around the world. The Square Enix group of companies includes a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: FINAL FANTASY®, which has sold over 161 million units worldwide; and DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 82 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 82 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. Square Enix Co., Ltd. is a Japan-based, wholly owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

About IT-Farm:

IT-Farm, a founding member of Cyber Valley Investor Network, is a Venture Capital based in Tokyo and San Jose, supporting 100+ international startups over 20+ years through mentorship, business development, and investment. Its core investment targets are among early-stage disruptive tech startups in AI, entertainment, mobility, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, construction, fintech, proptech, and any deep-techs across the world without geographic limitation.

About Cyber Valley:

Cyber Valley is Europe’s largest research consortium in the field of artificial intelligence with partners from science and industry. The state of Baden-Württemberg, the Max Planck Society with the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, the Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen, as well as Amazon, BMW AG, Daimler AG, IAV GmbH, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, and ZF Friedrichshafen AG are the founding partners of this initiative. Moreover, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has joined Cyber Valley as a partner. Cyber Valley also receives support from the Christian Bürkert Foundation, the Gips-Schüle Foundation, the Vector Foundation, and the Carl Zeiss Foundation.


This image shows Melanie Minderjahn

Melanie Minderjahn


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