The British Academy of Film and Television Arts said that it is adding a Social Network Game category to its GAME-sponsored British Academy Video Games Awards for 2011, as popularity of the segment increases.
"It is only right to recognize the hard work, fantastic creativity and great success being demonstrated in this new area of the industry," said BAFTA Video Game Committee chairman Ray Maguire. BAFTA said it aims to identify and reward "excellence and innovation" in the social game space.
There are over 500 million registered users on Facebook, and over half of those users play games like Zynga's Farmville
, which has around 60 million monthly active users, BAFTA organizers said.
The third annual GAME British Academy Video Games Awards take place on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at the London Hilton on Park Lane. Nominations will be announced on February 16.
BAFTA's announcement of a social game award category comes after the Gamasutra-affiliated Game Developers Conference introduced the Game Developers Choice Online Awards this month, which included a Best Social Network Game Award, among other categories. The original Game Developers Choice Awards also includes a social-game-related category.
Playdom's Social City won GDC Online's Best Social Network Game Award
earlier this month, and Zynga's Farmville won the Best New Social/Online Game category