The second annual awards ceremony, held during GDC Online, will honor the achievements of the creators and operators of online video games that launched within the last 12 months in North America, covering large-scale MMOs, free-to-play titles, growing social network games and more.
The awards recognize achievement in online games across 12 categories, including excellence in visual arts, online game design, live games, technology, audio and community.
The inaugural Awards, held in Austin at GDC Online 2010, honored Riot's standout online combat title League of Legends with five awards, including Best New Online Game.
Other recipients included CCP's EVE Online for Best Live Game, MUD co-creator Richard Bartle for the Online Game Legend award, and Origin and Electronic Arts' classic MMO title Ultima Online as the first Hall of Fame inductee. Full video of the ceremony is now available via GDC Vault.
Nominations for the Choice Online Awards are now open, and all game professionals with a free Gamasutra user account are welcome to submit their picks for the awards. Additional information, as well as the nomination submission page, is available at the official Choice Online Awards website.
Finalists and winners for the Game Developers Choice Online Awards will be selected by the International Choice Award Network's (ICAN) online division. The ICAN Online is comprised of 400 specially picked leading game industry creators from the foremost online game companies.
The full list of categories for the second annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards include the following:
The Best Online Visual Arts Award recognizes the overall excellence of visual art in an online game, including, but not limited to, art direction, animation, modeling, character design, and so on.
The Best Online Technology Award recognizes the overall excellence of technology in an online game, including, but not limited to, online networked infrastructure, persistent world coding, graphics/3D programming, and more.
The Best Online Game Design Award honors the overall excellence of design in an online game. This category recognizes the best social-specific gameplay mechanics, quest design, and other major game design elements.
The Best Audio for an Online Game Award recognizes the overall excellence of audio in an online game, including, but not limited to, sound effects, musical composition, sound design, orchestration, and more.
The Audience Award honors the audiences' favorite game. For this award, members of the public vote on their favorite game from the Game Developers Choice Online finalists.
The Best Social Network Game Award recognizes the best game that launched on a social network, such as Facebook or MySpace, honoring the most outstanding title in terms of overall depth, execution and quality.
The Best Live Game Award recognizes the best currently-operating online game. Nominees in this category distinguish themselves by releasing exceptional new content through expansion packs, patches, or other updates in the 12 months to May 2011, and maintain a vibrant player community, high-quality community management and network operation during that period.
The Best New Online Game Award recognizes excellence in any online-specific game, including MMOs, free to play titles and social network games
The Community Relations Award honors the currently-operating online game that provides the highest quality community feedback and experience, including customer support, forum moderation and leadership, weblog and information updates, real-life events, and other community outreach.
The Online Innovation Award honors one particular online game that shows key aspects of innovation in the fast-expanding online games space -- a title that pushes the game design and social boundaries of how we play video games online against others.
The Online Games Legend Award recognizes the career and achievements of a developer who has made an indelible impact on the craft of online game development.
The Hall of Fame Award recognizes a specific online game that has resulted in the long-term advancement of the medium, pioneering major shifts in online game development and games as a whole.
More information about the second annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards is available at the official GDC Online Awards website. GDC Online takes place in Austin, Texas from October 10-13, 2011. Information about sessions and registration is available at the conference's official website.