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BAFTA’s Third Arm Goes To Games

The growing importance of videogames to entertainment culture has been recognized by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which has elevated the sector to become an equal to those for Film and Television. Champions of the moving image, BAFTA seeks to reward artistic and creative innovation within videogames, as one of the principal contemporary art forms.

This newly defined status means The British Academy Video Games Awards will become an even more valued award in this arena. The British Academy Video Games Awards move to October 2006 to be positioned as the climax to London Games Week, a new set of major industry and consumer events set to be a highlight of the European gaming calendar.

The changes have been driven by a newly formed BAFTA Games committee of high-level representatives from the largest and most influential publishers, developers, middleware companies and trade associations, including ELSPA, TIGA and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

The committee is led by Paul Jackson, vp/md northern region, Electronic Arts, who comments that BAFTAs move to give videogames equal status with film and television reflects games contribution to artistic innovation and new forms of story-telling. The organization is perfectly positioned to cross-fertilize opportunities, set benchmarks for measurement and champion creative standards to encourage new and compelling interactive experiences.

Ray Maguire, svp of Sony Computer Ent., echoed his sentiments, "It is great to be associated with a body that has been rewarding creative excellence for decades. For the creativity and artistry that is so prevalent in our business to be recognized in parity with other more accepted visual arts, says to me that interactivity has finally come of age."

BAFTAs chairman, Duncan Kenworthy, says, Videogames constitute a hugely significant new, moving image art form that sits alongside film and television in its power to entertain and educate, and the Academy is determined to encourage its development. The British Academy Video Games Awards are a key part of our strategy to define, articulate and reward excellence in the sector, to the benefit of those who create games and those who play them.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. BAFTA is best known for its film and television awards, but the Academy has also been recognizing the best in videogames since 1997. The BAFTA Video Games Awards give the creative and technical specialists the recognition they deserve; it is their craft that has made the Games business the fastest growing form of entertainment today.

London Games Festival is a week long cultural and business celebration of computer and videogames, reflecting their influence and importance as central to modern culture and entertainment. Created by industry bodies ELSPA and TIGA in partnership with the London Development Agency and the British Academy of Film and Television, it will provide a week of both trade and consumer events in the capital. These include the London Games Summit, the Content Market and the prestigious British Academy Video Games Awards. Many more events are being added to the festival, which begins on October 2, 2006.

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