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Capcom vs. AIAS, Round Two

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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.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 29, 2007 8:32 AM

    People would be surprised at how many "awards" are paid for. From what I understand things like JD Power are all done with entry fees. I know that a lot of "best employer" awards are usually selected from entries and info sent in by companies. So, yeah it kind of sucks, but it's not uncommon.

    • reply
      January 29, 2007 8:36 AM

      Yeah. However, it's nice that the Game Developers Choice Awards are funded by GDC, IGDA memberships, and other CMP ventures, but do not require publisher memberships for nominations, whereas the AIAS awards are require fees and are not funded by general AIAS memberships and the D.I.C.E. Summit.

      • reply
        January 29, 2007 8:38 AM

        Also, for what it's worth I feel that the Game Developers Choice Awards is by far the most valid and worthwhile industry award show. The voting and nominations panels are made up largely of developers, they always have great industry figures as presenters at the show, and their nominations and awards are always very well deserved without always being the 100% obvious choice like many shows.

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