|Game Developers Choice Awards|
|Awarded for||Outstanding game developers and games|
|Presented by||Game Developers Conference|
|First awarded||March 24, 2001|
The Game Developers Choice Awards are awards annually presented at the Game Developers Conference for outstanding game developers and games. Introduced in 2001, the Game Developers Choice Awards were preceded by the Spotlight Awards, which were presented from 1997 to 1999.
Nominations are accepted from registered gamasutra.com users, confirmed to be game developers, and from the advisory board. Once the nomination process is complete, the advisory board identifies five finalists for each regular category.
The recipients of the Lifetime Achievement, Pioneer (formerly known as First Penguin) and Maverick awards are selected by the advisory board. For the other awards, a vote open to all those who participated in the nomination process chooses a recipient from each category's finalists.
Note: Events held for awards are held early in the following year. Winners are listed first and highlighted in bold.
The Game of the Year Award recognizes the overall best game released during the previous calendar year, as interpreted by the members of the Game Developers Conference.
|2000||The Sims||Life simulation||Mac OS, Microsoft Windows||Maxis|
|2001||Grand Theft Auto III||Action-adventure||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2||DMA Design|
|2002||Metroid Prime||Action-adventure||GameCube||Retro Studios|
|2003||Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic||Role-playing||Microsoft Windows, Xbox||BioWare|
|2004||Half-Life 2||First-person shooter||Microsoft Windows||Valve Corporation|
|2005||Shadow of the Colossus||Action-adventure||PlayStation 2||Team Ico|
|2006||Gears of War||Third-person shooter||Xbox 360||Epic Games|
|2007||Portal||Puzzle-platformer||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Valve Corporation|
|2008||Fallout 3||Action role-playing||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Bethesda Game Studios|
|2009||Uncharted 2: Among Thieves||Action-adventure||PlayStation 3||Naughty Dog|
|2010||Red Dead Redemption||Action-adventure||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Rockstar San Diego|
|2011||The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim||Action role-playing||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360||Bethesda Game Studios|
|2013||The Last of Us||Action-adventure||PlayStation 3||Naughty Dog|
|2014||Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor||Action-adventure||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One||Monolith Productions|
|2015||The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||Action role-playing||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||CD Projekt Red|
|2016||Overwatch||First-person shooter||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Blizzard Entertainment|
|2017||The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild||Adventure game||Nintendo Switch, Wii U||Nintendo|
Best Audio award recognizes the overall excellence of audio in a game, including sound effects, musical composition, sound design and orchestration.
The Best Debut Award recognizes the best game from any development studio which released its first publicly available title during the calendar year. This was formerly known as the New Studio of the Year Award. In years prior to 2008, the award was awarded to the studio name, as opposed to the game title.
Best Design award recognizes the overall excellence of design in a game, including gameplay, mechanics, puzzles, play balancing and scenarios.
Best Mobile/Handheld Game Award recognizes the overall best game commercially released on any handheld platform.
The Innovation Award recognizes games that demonstrate innovation and push the boundaries of games as an expressive medium. Multiple awards are given each year.
Best Narrative award recognizes the quality of writing in a game, including story, plot construction, dialogue and branching narratives.
Best Technology award recognizes the overall excellence of technology in a game, including graphics programming, artificial intelligence, networking and physics.
Best Visual Art award recognizes the overall excellence of visual art in a game, including animation, modeling, art direction and textures.
These awards are voted by the audience for best game of that year.
Known as the First Penguin award until 2007, the Pioneer Award celebrates individuals who developed a breakthrough technology, game concept or gameplay design.
GDC had announced their intention to award Nolan Bushnell (co-founder of Atari) the 2017 Pioneer Award. However, after several people asked the GDC to reconsider this in light of documented sexist activities in Bushnell's past in light of the current #MeToo movement, GDC opted to not award the Pioneer Award and instead "will dedicate this year's award to honor the pioneering and unheard voices of the past".
The Ambassador Award is given to individuals within or outside the industry who helped video games "advance to a better place." It replaced the IGDA Award for Community Contribution after 2008.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the achievements of a developer who has impacted games and game development.
The following award categories have been retired or replaced with a different focus.
Best Downloadable Game Award recognizes the overall best game released on console or PC platforms specifically and solely for digital download - with an emphasis on smaller, more 'casual'-friendly titles.
The Character Design award recognizes the overall excellence of non-licensed character design in a game, including originality, character arc and emotional depth.
The IGDA Award for Community Contribution recognized developers for significant efforts "building community, sharing knowledge, speaking on behalf of developers and/or contributing to the art form of game development". The Ambassador Award replaced it after 2007.
The Maverick Award recognizes the current achievements of a developer who exhibits independence in thought and action while experimenting with alternate/emerging forms of digital games.