DICE 2010

Activision Co-Founder David Crane To Receive AIAS's First Pioneer AwardDavid Crane is a legend. Not only did he co-founded a little mom-and-pop operation named Activision, he also designed Pitfall!, A Boy and His Blob, Decathlon, and countless other acclaimed titles during his more than 30 years in the industry.

It’s no surprise then that the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has decided to bestow upon Crane its first ever Pioneer Award, which, as AIAS president Joseph Olin explained in an stament, "recognizes contributions made by the original men and women whose efforts helped to create the interactive entertainment industry that we know today.”

Crane will receive the award during the 13th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards during DICE Summit 2010 on February 18. That same night, fellow industry giant Mark Cerny will be inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame. Now that's a show.

Just in case you missed it, G4tv.com did an awesome video interview with Mr. Crane last year that you need to watch if you care at all about the history of video games. Educate yourselves after the break.

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DICE 2010

D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit goes down in Las Vegas February 17-19, and as always there are a slew of big name gaming types scheduled to be in attendance for talks, discussions, chats, and other various forms of speech-based expression.

Today, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences announced several additional speakers who will be offering up their thoughts on the state of the industry and the medium during the event. The newest additions to the attendee’s list are (officially) as follows:

  • John Schappert, chief operating officer Electronic Arts, founder of Tiburon Studios and with EA for 17 years; he left to run Microsoft’s Live software division for 2 years, returning this past July.
  • Joe Madureira & David Adams, co-founders of Vigil Games, a legendary comic artist and technical guru joined forces in 2005 to create their groundbreaking company, which has released Darksiders and has the highly anticipated MMO in development, Warhammer 40,000. Their topic is "From Pencils to Pixels: the Journey of Creating Original IP For Consoles.”
  • Randy Pitchford, chief executive officer & president, Gearbox Games, one of the founders of the company who has produced and directed many best selling games, including the popular 2009 release Borderlands, as well as the Half Life titles and the Brothers In Arms series, will speak on “The Gearbox Software Story: past, Present & Future.”
  • Greg Short & Geoffrey Zatkin, CEO and COO respectively, Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, will speak on “Forces at Play: Examining What Has Really Been Impacting the Videogame Industry, and What It Means Going Forward.”

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The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 13th Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awards. The big winner in terms of nominations: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The PS3 exclusive title was nominated for 15 awards, and there are only 27 categories all together, so Drake could walk home with more than half of the awards at the show. Assassin's Creed II was nominated for 10 awards, and Modern Warfare 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum each were nominated nine times.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to take place during the D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit 2010, on February 18 at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, with comedian, actor and gamer Jay Mohr returning for his fifth year as host.

While there are some choices on the full list of nominees I take issue with, overall, it actually seems pretty solid, and interesting.

Click the cut for the nominees in some of the major categories.

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Bobby KotickThe Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences announced today that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will provide the keynote speech at the D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) summit on February 18.

Kotick is a sometimes controversial figure in gaming, as much for his outspoken style for his take-no-prisoners corporate strategies, so it should be an interesting speech.

“Bobby Kotick has believed in the power of interactive entertainment his entire career,” said Joseph Olin, president of the AIAS. "Activision Blizzard is home to some of the most talented developers in our industry and we are thrilled to have Bobby's insight on how great games are built upon great talent."

The insider-gaming industry has often taken Kotick to task for his statements (IE: "The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."), but the mainstream business world regards Kotick with admiration. He took a bankrupt company, Activision, and turned it into the most successful video game publishing company on earth. Sure, that involved publishing a lot of sequels, but it's hard, if not impossible, to argue with the guy's results. Where other companies seem to be having a very hard time lately, Activision/Blizzard is doing amazingly well.

What do you think about Kotick, Activision and the D.I.C.E. choice?

In any case, we'll be at D.I.C.E., bringing you all the news that's fit to post about the event.

Indie Game Challenge Judges Chosen

It's award-season, folks, and today the judging panel was announced for the Indie Game Challenge sponsored by Southern Methodist University, The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, and GameStop. The judges will honor outstanding indie games by choosing 12 finalists for the prize.  Overall, more than $350,000 in cash and scholarships will be awarded, as will a chance to meet with industry professionals at the D.I.C.E. conference in February.

The 40 member volunteer panel is made up up of professionals from all corners of the game industry, including Danny Bilson, executive vice president Core Games, THQ; Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago, co-founders of thatgamecompany and creators of Flow and FlowerKyle Gabler, co-founder and creative director of 2D Boy, Rod Ferguson, executive producer, Epic Games, Alex Seropian, vice president creative development, Disney Interactive, Mike Hogan, GameStop’s senior vice president of marketing, Mathew Lee Johnson, senior producer for PopCap Games, Roger Hector, senior vice president product development, Namco Bandai, Tina Kowalewski, director of external development, Sony Computer Entertainment America, as well as representatives from publishers and developers including Microsoft, Capcom, Harmonix, Volition, Insomniac, id Software, Zipper Interactive and Vigil Games. 

In short: heavy hitters.

Over 250 games were submitted to the contest, and will be culled down to 12 finalists to be announced on January 25th. Winners will be picked at D.I.C.E 2010, on Feb. 19, and each finalist team will receive the chance to pitch game ideas to top publishers like EA, Capcom, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and more.

Check out the official site for more details.

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