The 2009 Develop Awards return on Wednesday, July 15th. But what are the categories, how does anyone win and who won last time? Read on to find outâ?¦

How you could 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 seventh year, the Develop Industry Excellence Awards once again take place in Brighton at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, on the evening of July 15th.

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.

Well over 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

Who’s Eligible?

Any UK or European studio-made IP that has introduced a new wholly originaly property to games consoles, portable devices or home computer games platforms in the past year.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Lost Winds (Frontier Developments)[img :584]

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 or IP

Who’s Eligible?
Any UK or European studio that has introduced a quality game, regardless of platform, based on an external property it does not own or did not create – licensed or otherwise – in the past year.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Lego Indiana Jones (Traveller’s Tales)[img :585]

Previous Winners
2007: Lego Star Wars II (Traveller’s Tales)
2006: King Kong (Ubisoft France)
2005: Lego Star Wars (Traveller’s Tales)

Visual Arts

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

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Rockstar North (Grand Theft Auto IV)[img :586]

Previous Winners (Best Art & Audio)
2007: Rare (Viva Piñata)

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.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Rockstar North (Grand Theft Auto IV)[img :587]

Previous Winners
2007: FreeStyle (B-Boy)

Publishing Hero

Who’s Eligible?
Any games publisher or platform-holder 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.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Nintendo[img :588]

Previous Winners
2007: Sega
2006: SCEE
2005: SCi
2004: Microsoft


Technical Innovation

Who’s Eligible?
Any UK or European studio or company that has demonstrated impressive technical innovation in any field including – but not limited to – online, user-generated content or graphics in its recent releases.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: NaturalMotion/Image Metrics (GTA IV)[img :589]

Previous Winners
2007: Realtime Worlds (Crackdown)
2006: Relentless/Sony External Developments (Buzz!)
2005: Morpheme (Bluetooth Biplanes)
2004: SCEE (EyeToy/SingStar)

Best Tools Provider

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

Last Year’s Winner

2008: Epic Games[img :590]

Previous Winners
2007: Havok
2006: NaturalMotion
2005: Havok
2004: Criterion

Creative Outsourcing

Who’s Eligible?
Returning for its second year, this award acknowledges businesses or contractors who have helped inform the creative side of a studio’s work in areas such as audio, art or writing.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Richard Jacques Studio[img :591]


Who’s Eligible?
Any UK or European company that provides core games services or functions supporting the world’s games developers in fields such as testing, localisation, quality assurance, motion capture and
the like.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Babel Media[img :592]

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 during the last 12 months.

Last Year’s Winner

2008: OPM[img :593]

Previous Winners

2007: Datascope
2006: OPM
2005: Datascope
2004: Aardvark Swift


Best New 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.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Doublesix[img :583]

Previous Winners
2007: Realtime Worlds
2006: BigBig
2005: Juice Games

Business Development

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

Last Year’s Winner

2008: Realtime Worlds[img :582]

Previous Winners
2007: Blitz

Best Handheld Games Studio

Who’s Eligible?
Any UK or European games development company creating and/or producing games for mobile devices and/or handheld games platforms, such as iPhone or Nintendo DS. Lobbying studios should have had some significant output in the last 12 months.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Idealworks 3D[img :581]

Previous Winners

2007: Rockstar Leeds
2006: Gameloft
2005: Morpheme
2004: IOMO

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.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Splash Damage[img :580]

Previous Winners
2007: Traveller’s Tales
2006: Traveller’s Tales
2005: Traveller’s Tales
2004: Crytek

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 recently – working on any currently available game platform with game(s) released in the past year.

Last Year’s Winner
2008: Rockstar North[img :579]

Previous Winners
2007: Ubisoft France
2006: Criterion
2005: Rockstar North
2004: Ubisoft France


Development Legend

Who’s Eligible?

After a year off in 2008, this award returns for 2009. The winner, chosen by Develop, is an individual who has made a significant impact on games development ­– in a commercial, creative or technological sense – during their lifetime.

Previous Winner
2007: Ian Hetherington[img :578]

Other Previous Winners
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.

Last Year’s Winner

2008: Rockstar Games[img :577]

Previous Winners
2007: Sony Computer Entertainment
2006: Bizarre Creations
2005: Creative Assembly
2004: Sony London Studios


When are the awards?
Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.

How can my company enter?

Simple. Send a short pitch as a Word document to Develop’s editor-in-chief 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.

What’s the eligibility period?
For those awards criteria based on released products, please note that to be eligible titles must have been released somewhere in the world by July 15th.

When is the deadline?

May 13th

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 for each award. 

Profiles of the shortlisted companies are then sent out (as a PDF) to a judging panel of 100 industry executives chosen by the magazine team. The judges then confidentially disclose their 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 for more information on how you can get involved.

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