GDC Online Awards Opens Nominations For Top Social, Free-To-Play, MMO Titles

The Game Developers Conference Online (GDC Online, formerly GDC Austin) in Austin, Texas has opened nominations for the second annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards through June 30, 2011.

The Game Developers Choice Online Awards are produced by the UBM TechWeb Game Network and recognize the rich history, technical excellence, and continued innovation in the accomplished arena of online games. The awards ceremony takes place the evening of October 12, during the four-day conference in Austin, Texas.

The awards ceremony honors the achievements of the creators and operators of online video games -- from large-scale MMOs and free-to-play titles to growing social network games -- that launched between June 1st, 2010 and May 31st, 2011 in North America.

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, saw Riot's standout "multiplayer online battle arena" title League of Legends lead the winners with five awards, including Best New Online Game -- full video of the ceremony is available via GDC Vault.

Other recipients from last year included CCP, which received the Best Live Game award for EVE Online, MUD co-creator Richard Bartle as the Online Game Legend recipient, and Origin and Electronic Arts' seminal MMO title Ultima Online as the first Hall of Fame inductee.

The Choice Online Awards continue to celebrate the long history of online game development with the special Online Games Legend award recognizing an online game trailblazer that has made an everlasting impact in online game development and the Hall of Fame award honoring a game that has left a lifelong impact on the online games space. Additionally, the worldwide community of online game players and makers will have the opportunity to designate their favorite online game in the returning Audience Award category.

New for 2011 is the Online Innovation Award. This 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.

Initial information, including the submission page for nominations is available at the official GDC Online Awards website -- all game development professionals holding a Gamasutra user account are open to put forth their picks for the awards.

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 reception from the game development and player communities to the first Game Developers Choice Online Awards was tremendous last year, and it was immediately evident that this awards ceremony was celebrating under-recognized achievements within online games," says Izora de Lillard, Event Director of GDC Online. "We're excited to see which games and developers the community chooses to nominate our second year in Austin at GDC Online."

The full list of categories for the second annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards include the following:

Regular Awards

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.

Special Awards

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.

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