The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will become one of the first major awards-giving bodies to recognise social gaming with its new Social Network Game category in the upcoming GAME British Academy Video Games Awards, presented in 2011.
The advent of new technology and the increase in access to high-speed internet has allowed video games companies to create new gaming platforms. Social networks such as Facebook have become popular examples of this new kind of game play: over half of the 500m registered Facebook users regularly play games on the network. One of the most well-known of these games is FarmVille, with over 60m monthly active users.
Social network games allow and encourage integration between players but typically do not demand a large commitment of time. Players tend to return to the games frequently for bite-sized chunks of entertainment allowing for a unique kind of game play.
The huge growth in downloaded games and games played over networks offers the opportunity for content owners to create original IP and deliver it to a global market via the internet. With its new category for Social Network Game, BAFTA is identifying and rewarding excellence and innovation in order to recognise and further encourage creativity in this area.
Ray Maguire, Chairman of BAFTAâ€™s Video Games Committee, said: â€œThe rise in popularity and sophistication of social media gaming has been meteoric. It is only right to recognise the hard work, fantastic creativity and great success being demonstrated in this new area of the industry. As a result, BAFTA is very proud to announce the new category of Social Network Game as part of the upcoming Awards.â€
The GAME British Academy Video Games Awards will take place on Wednesday 16 March at the London Hilton on Park Lane and, for the third year running, will be hosted by comedian and gamer Dara Oâ€™Briain. The nominations will be announced on Wednesday 16 February.Â The Awards will be streamed live for the first time at www.bafta.org