The Develop Industry Excellence Awards return on Wednesday, July 30th. But what are the categories, how does anyone win and who won last time? Read on to find outâ?¦

How to win a Develop Award

It’s that time of year again, when the games development sector decides who has performed to the best of their ability the past year, be that in terms of IP creation, product quality, or general business smarts.

Now in their sixth year, the Develop Industry Excellence Awards once again take place in Brighton at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, on the evening of July 30th.

While there are a number of awards in this industry, the Develop Awards are the only peer-voted prizes for UK and European games developers which focus purely on creativity, teamwork, and inspiring innovation. Not marketing. Not hype.

500 development execs attended last year’s event, which is a key sign about how important the Awards are – ultimately, they belong to the industry, recognising the people who work in it. Your team, your studio, or your game – or your rivals’ – could win. Plus, the prizes are always collected on the night by the people they reward, giving them their deserved moment in the spotlight.

So don’t miss this opportunity to get involved. There are 17 awards this year, so take a close look. Read through at the awards for each category – and a handy FAQ at the end should answer any remaining questions. Then get lobbying…


Best New IP

What’s eligible?
Any UK or European studio-made IP that has introduced a new property to games consoles, portable devices or PC in the past year.

[img :247]Previous winners
2007: MotorStorm (Evolution/SCEE)
2006: Console IP – Buzz! (Relentless/Sony External Development)
PC IP – Fahrenheit (Quantic Dream)
2005: Far Cry (Crytek)

Best Use of a Licence

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European studio that has introduced a quality game, regardless of platform, based on an external property in the past year.

[img :263]Previous winners
2007: Traveler’s Tales (Lego Star Wars II)
2006: Ubisoft France (King Kong)
2005: Traveller’s Tales (Lego Star Wars)

Visual Arts

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European studio or design/art outsourcing firm that has demonstrated impressive graphical and design work in the games or gaming content it has produced and released during the past year.

[img :253]Previous winners
2007: Rare (Viva Piñata)
2006: Criterion (Burnout Revenge/Black) (BEST ART & AUDIO)
2005: Criterion (Burnout 3: Takedown) (BEST ART & AUDIO)
2004: Ubisoft (Beyond Good & Evil/XIII) (BEST ART & AUDIO)

Audio Accomplishment

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European studio, or company working in the audio space, that has shown pitch-perfect audio design and sound production skills in its output during the past year. Use of licensed and original tracks will also be taken into account.

[img :254]Previous winners
2007: FreeStyle (B-Boy)
2006: Criterion (Burnout Revenge/Black) (BEST ART & AUDIO)
2005: Criterion (Burnout 3: Takedown) (BEST ART & AUDIO)
2004: Ubisoft (Beyond Good & Evil/XIII) (BEST ART & AUDIO)

Publishing Hero

Who’s eligible?
Any games publisher from any country, including outside Europe, that has supported the UK and European games development industry during the past year via the publishing, co-development and/or funding of new games.

[img :251]Previous winners
2007: Sega
2006: SCEE
2005: SCi
2004: Microsoft


Games:Edu New Talent Award

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European studio, company or organisation which has helped improve the quality of new talent entering the games industry, be that via initiatives, competitions, partnerships with other companies in the industry or training.

This is a new award for 2008 added to acknowledge the closer ties between games industry and educators and the schemes put in place by developers to continually improve the industry via education and collaboration.

Technical Innovation

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European studio or company that has demonstrated impressive technical or creative innovation in its games released during the past year.

[img :259]Previous winners
2007: Realtime Worlds (Crackdown)
2006: Relentless/Sony External Development (Buzz!)
2005: Morpheme (Bluetooth Biplanes)
2004: SCEE (EyeToy/SingStar)

Tools Provider

Who’s eligible?
Any company, of any nationality, that has released middleware during the past year enhancing or supporting the work of UK or European games development teams. Extra weight is given to new tools or significant version upgrades.

[img :262]Previous winners
2007: Havok
2006: NaturalMotion
2005: Havok
2004: Criterion

Services & Outsourcing

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European company that offers outsourcing or other core games services supporting the world’s games developers, such as testing, localisation, design, programming, bespoke character art, audio and the like.

[img :252]Previous winners
2007: Babel Media
2006: Side UK
2005: Babel Media
2004: Audiomotion

Recruitment Company

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European company working in the field of recruitment and human resources that has successfully served the needs and demands of the European development community over the past year.

[img :261]Previous winners
2007: Datascope
2006: OPM
2005: Datascope
2004: Aardvark Swift


Best Independent Studio

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European games development company, which is not owned or managed by a publisher, working on any available game platform. Lobbying studios should have had some significant output in the last 12 months.

[img :248]Previous winners
2007: Traveller’s Tales
2006: Traveller’s Tales
2005: Traveller’s Tales
2004: Crytek

Best New UK/European Studio

Who’s eligible?
Any new UK or European studio which has had its first game commercially released – either via retail or digital distribution – during the eligibility period. Companies don’t need to have been founded during that period, however.

[img :249]Previous winners
2007: Realtime Worlds
2006: BigBig
2005: Juice Games
2004: Swordfish Studios

Best In-house Studio

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European publisher-owned games development company or in-house games development resource – including those acquired in the past year – working on any available
game platform.

[img :258]Previous winners
2007: Ubisoft France
2006: Criterion
2005: Rockstar North
2004: Ubisoft France

Mobile Games Studio

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European games development company creating and/or producing games for mobile devices and platforms. Lobbying studios should have had some significant output in the last 12 months.

[img :256]Previous winners
2007: Rockstar Leeds (as Handheld developer)
2006: Gameloft
2005: Morpheme
2004: IOMO

Business Development

Who’s eligible?
Any UK or European studio that has, in the last 12 months, improved its business significantly in the past year as proven by acquisitions, investments and/or steps to improve its output, efficiency and commercial performance.

[img :255]Last year’s winner
2007: Blitz


Development Legend

Who’s eligible?
Any individual who has made a significant impact on games development ­– in a commercial, creative or technological sense – during their lifetime. The winner will have created significant game/games or managed/established leading company/companies.

[img :260]Previous winners
2007: Ian Hetherington
2006: Charles Cecil
2005: David Braben
2004: Peter Molyneux

Grand Prix

Who’s eligible?
This is a special award from Develop, bestowed upon a European individual or company in recognition of outstanding achievements in games over the past 12 months. The candidate is decided after soundings from the industry.

[img :257]Previous winners
2007: Sony Computer Entertainment
2006: Bizarre Creations
2005: Creative Assembly
2004: Sony London Studios


When are the awards?
Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.

How can my company enter?
Simple. Send a short text pitch to Develop’s editor at

Give us a bit of history and highlight your company’s key achievements ­– and tell us what awards you want to be considered for. But don’t go into masses of detail. We know the industry well – and have probably heard of you.

When is the deadline?
May 15th

What’s the judging process?
When the nominations are all in, they are appraised by the Develop editorial team. The team then decides upon a shortlist of five or six nominees for each award. Profiles of the shortlisted companies are then sent out (as a PDF) to a judging panel of almost 100 industry executives chosen by the magazine. The judges then disclose their first choices. Those with the most votes win.

How much is it to attend?
£1,975 + VAT – Table (seats ten)
£199 + VAT – Individual seats
For details of table sales and other ticket enquiries contact:

Can I sponsor the event?
There are a number of excellent promotional possibilities at the event. Contact:

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