Why The Webby Awards Added 17 Game Categories This Year

An interview with the awards manager about the evolution of The Webby

It’s been more than 20 years since The Webby Awards launched to celebrate excellence on the Internet. Since that first year of awards, games have been winning Webbys. But 2018 will be the first year where games aren’t just included, they get their own robust selection of categories.

“We’ve been honoring games for years and years and years in both mobile and website,” Claire Graves, managing director of The Webby Awards, tells Glixel. “It’s such a big industry we wanted to do it and do it right. This year, we decided to go at it and go at it the right way.”

That meant going to people inside the game industry, putting together a panel and discussing what categories made the most sense. “We made friends with the guys at the ESA and they have been very helpful about what we should honor and how,” Graves says.

The result is the new games section which includes nine general categories and eight features categories.

The general categories are Action, Best Multiplayer/Competitive Game, Family & Kids, Public Service & Activism, Puzzle, Social Impact, Sports, Strategy/Simulation and World & Trivia. Each of those have a one sentence description. For instance, Public Service & Activism are games that promote awareness around an issue or support a particular societal cause.

The features categories are Best Art Direction, Best Game Design, Best Music/Sound Design, Best Use of Augmented Reality, Best User Experience, Best Visual Design, Best Writing and Technical Achievement. They too each have descriptions.

The deadline for submissions for all Webby Awards was recently extended to January 26th. The judges for Games includes an eclectic mix of developers and researchers. People like Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail, Niantic’s John Hanke, former White House Office of Science and Technology Policy analyst Constance Steinkuehler and author Amy Jo Kim. Glixel is also a media partner for The Webby Awards this year.

The decision to include a full-blown gaming category in The Webby Awards is just the latest stage of the constantly evolving awards. “We started with websites and as the Internet has changed we’ve sort of grown with it,” Graves says. “We started video about 20 years ago, we’ve added social, mobile, last year we added podcasts. This year our new thing is games.”

And next year, she says, it’s likely that The Webby Awards will be adding an award for the Internet of things. “The Webby Awards are about celebrating the best of the internet, the internet across the whole spectrum,” she says. “And the Internet is constantly evolving.”

This year, the show is on track to have about 10 percent more entries than last year and Graves says they’re on track with what they’ve been expecting for games.

This year’s award ceremony, which happens on May 14, will include a “dedicated moment for games,” Graves says.

But those who do make it up on stage will still have to stick to The Webby’s famous five-word-limit speech.

That’s not a lot of ...