Capcom vs. AIAS, Round Two

Last year, many gamers and industry members were surprised when the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences released its yearly list of gaming award nominations for 2005 and Capcom's highly praised Resident Evil 4 (PS2, GCN) was nowhere to be found. "Thank God for Capcom [not entering]. We're probably going to pick up some awards tonight," joked David Jaffe, designer of SCE Santa Monica's God of War, which indeed went on to win seven awards on twelve nominations. It turned out that Capcom had declined to join the AIAS--and pay its corporate membership dues--and meaning its games were not eligible for the ballot. AIAS voters wrote-in the game in high numbers but Capcom was informed the votes could not be counted without its membership.

Cash-strapped publisher Majesco was unable to join, leaving Double Fine's acclaimed Psychonauts (PS2, Xbox, PC) out of the running. For the larger Capcom, however, it appears to be a matter of principle as much as anything else. This year two well received Capcom games were missing from the 10th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, its own Dead Rising (X360) and Clover Studio's Okami (PS2), the latter in particular a frequent recipient of awards from various publications.

This year, Capcom has posted a frank, full-length reply to the AIAS' methods via its forums, originally sent to GameSpot. Calling the awards "of dubious merit, at best," Capcom asked whether its company, "really [needs] to pay tens of thousands of dollars in order to present awards to our own games?"

"Again, from the AIAS webpage, their awards are supposedly about 'Recognizing the best games of 2006.' Evidently, they meant, the best games that paid to be recognized. As a company, we find ourselves questioning the value or credibility of awards that seem to honor developers for their creative work, when the truth is that their marketing departments have to pay to obtain consideration," reads the statement, which went on to add that were indeed many "fantastic" nominated games from member companies on the list of nominees.

In closing, the statement reads, "Capcom Entertainment would like to thank the gamers who have made Dead Rising and Okami so successful, the media who were similarly moved by the creativity and innovation found within the games and the teams at Capcom and Clover Studios who poured their outstanding passion, talent and creative energies into both ground-breaking games (coincidently, all things supposedly recognized by the Interactive Achievement Awards)."

In it story on the matter, GameSpot learned from AIAS representatives that in addition to Capcom and Majesco, publishers Eidos and Tecmo are not paying members; no games from the four publishers have been nominated for awards in the past three years. Apparently, the membership requirement is long standing AIAS policy but has only been enforced for the last few award shows. An AIAS representative noted that it contacted Capcom in advance soliciting membership, but the publisher declined.

The 10th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards will be presented on February 8, 2007, during the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas.