Award Categories

These award categories focus on rewarding and recognizing innovation and excellence in the art of making online games. Please refer to the Rules & Regulations for details on the nomination/voting process, eligibility and so on.

Unless otherwise noted, eligible titles are persistent online video games which were initially released in Beta or full version between June 1, 2011 – May 31, 2012 in North America.


Online Game Legend
Award recognizes the career and achievements of one particular creator who has made an indelible impact on the craft of online game development.

GDC Online Awards Hall of Fame
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.

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.

Audience Award
honors the favorite game of the worldwide online game community. Members of the public will be able to vote on their favorite currently operating online game, with options from the Game Developers Choice Online finalists and beyond.

Best Online Visual Arts
Award recognizes the overall excellence of visual art in online games including, but not limited to, character and animation design, interface design, and 2D or 3D art creation and direction of all kinds.

Best 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 original launch of this game is not limited to any time frame.

Best Online Technology
Award recognizes the overall excellence of technology in an online game. This includes excellence in complexity of network infrastructure, persistent world coding, graphics technology, artificial intelligence, or any other elements.

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 in the space.

Best Audio for an Online Game
Award recognizes the overall excellence of audio in an online game including sound effects, musical composition, and overall sound design for an online title.

Best New Online Game
Award recognizes excellence in any online-specific game, including MMOs, free to play titles and social network games.

Best Live Game
Award recognizes the best currently-operating online game -- distinguishing itself by releasing exceptional new content through expansion packs, patches, or other updates, as well as a vibrant player community, high-quality community management and network operation during that period.

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.

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