1st Annual GAME DEVELOPERS CHOICE ONLINE AWARDS ANNOUNCE ONLINE GAME LEGEND, HALL OF FAME RECIPIENTS

SAN FRANCISCO– August 12, 2010– Game Developers Conference Online organizers have announced Richard Bartle as the recipient of the first ever Online Game Legend Award and Ultima Online as the first Hall of Fame game, as part of the Game Developers Choice Online Awards taking place October 7, 2010 at GDC Online in Austin -- recognizing landmark titles and deeply influential figures in the vibrant online gaming world.

These special awards were picked, after open nominations from the online game community, by the distinguished GDC Online Advisory Board– including game industry veterans Playfish's Sebastien De Halleux, Schell Games’ Sheri Graner Ray, and Nexon's Min Kim.

Organizers will be awarding the Online Game Legend award to Dr. Richard Bartle, co-creator of the original MUD (Multi-User Dungeon), the seminal virtual world credited with pioneering online games over 30 years ago.

Bartle, who worked with fellow MUD programmer Roy Trubshaw at the UK’s Essex University starting in 1978, was responsible for greatly extending, fleshing out and popularizing the text-based multiplayer game, in which players logged onto a mainframe, socialized with one another, fought enemies and formed lasting friendships and relationships.

After commercializing MUD in the 1980s, Bartle continues to consult in the game industry and teach at Essex University as a Visiting Professor. His research on player personalities types in online games–‘achievers, explorers, socializers and killers’, has led to the popular online‘Bartle Test’, and the influence of both his actions and theories in the online game industry have been profound and long-lasting.

In association with his acceptance of the Online Game Legend award, Dr. Bartle will also be presenting a special talk on his work at GDC Online. The lecture, titled The History of The Multi-User Dungeon, will see him sharing his unique perspective and hands-on experience with the next generation of online game developers.

Choice Online Awards organizers have also announced that Electronic Arts’ Ultima Online, the Origin-created game that is now the longest continually running massively multiplayer online game in history, will be honored with the first ever Hall of Fame award for online games.

The persistent world installment for the seminal Ultima game franchise, which launched on September 25th, 1997, has now been operating for almost 14 years– and was a key part of the wave of late 1990s subscription-based MMOs which brought the genre to much wider attention.

Some of Ultima Online’s most important features included in-game events affecting the entire lore of the world, progressive features for their time such as item crafting and persistent player housing. Continued upgrades of in-game content and even game engine have helped to keep the game fresh for players, some of which have subscribed continuously for over a decade.

In honor of the game’s induction, the Hall of Fame award will be accepted on stage by key members of Ultima Online’s original development team: Rich Vogel, Launch Producer, Starr Long, Associate Producer, and Raph Koster, Lead Designer. Joining them will be Eugene Evans, GM of BioWare Mythic, the current home of Ultima Online within Electronic Arts, who will introduce key team members from the game’s development history.

In celebration GDC Online will present a special lecture, Then and Now: Ultima Online Over Time. The lecture will be co-presented by Rich Vogel, currently at BioWare Austin and the original producer of Ultima Online, and Calvin Crowner, the current Ultima Online game producer. The duo will talk about the history of the title, contrast their work on the game throughout its history, and provide anecdotes and specific takeaway from many years of work.

Both of the above awards will be presented at the Choice Online Awards ceremony taking place on the evening of Thursday, October 7th during GDC Online (formerly GDC Austin) in Austin, Texas. Additional finalists will be announced in the near future.

More information about the Game Developers Choice Online Awards is available at the official website for the GDC Online awards, www.GDCOnlineAwards.com. GDC Online takes place in Austin, Texas from October 5-8, 2010. Information about sessions and registration is available at www.GDCOnline.com.

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