2012 Game Developers Choice Online Awards To Honor 'Online Game Legend' Raph Koster And Inaugurate Blizzard Entertainment's World Of Warcraft® Into Hall Of Fame Awards Will be Presented at a Ceremony on October 10 during GDC Online

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Organizers of the Game Developers Conference® Online (GDC Online) have revealed that Raph Koster, a key industry veteran behind the prodigious massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, will be honored with the Online Game Legend Award at the third annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards. Blizzard Entertainment's influential World of Warcraft® MMORPG will be inducted into the Choice Online Awards Hall of Fame during the ceremony, taking place Wednesday, October 10 at GDC Online in Austin, Texas. The special awards categories recognize developers and titles that have had significant impact in the world of online games.

Raph Koster has led a prolific career. As the lead designer on Ultima Online and the creative director on Star Wars Galaxies, his contributions helped lay the foundation for the many massively multiplayer games that followed. Koster's professional credits span nearly every facet of game development, including writing, art, soundtrack music, programming and design.

Raph Koster is considered a thought leader, as a frequent lecturer and published author on topics of game design, community management, storytelling and ethics in game development. His A Theory of Fun, published in 2004, is considered seminal by educators and members of the art game movement, as well as being one of the most popular books ever written about games.

In his youth, Koster taught himself programming on an Atari 8-bit computer that he used to create the first game he ever sold, to a fellow classmate. His early professional years include work on the award-winning multi-user dungeon LegendMUD, which he later parlayed into a position as lead designer on the seminal MMORPG Ultima Online. Koster's varied interests in writing, art and graphic design served him well when he joined Sony Online Entertainment in the role of creative director on Star Wars Galaxies, a game praised for its lush graphics, authentic movie-based soundtrack, expansive in-game world, customization options and sophisticated gameplay mechanics.

After serving as chief creative officer at Sony Online Entertainment, Koster established his own firm, Metaplace, a software platform developer for social worlds and the company behind popular Facebook games Island Life and My Vineyard. In 2010, Metaplace was acquired by Disney Interactive Media Group's online social development arm, Playdom, where Koster currently serves as vice president of creative design.

This year's Choice Online Awards Hall of Fame inductee, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft, was released in November 2004, 10 years after the launch of the company's venerable Warcraft franchise (1994's Warcraft®: Orcs & Humans). Now regarded as a legacy in its own right, the game has dominated the MMORPG landscape, setting the standard for countless other games in the genre.

With its focus on delivering a polished player experience, World of Warcraft propelled MMORPGs into the mainstream. The game offered the community a reprieve from long load times and steep learning curves, which only made the colorful graphics, engaging gameplay, exciting quests and raids and immersive world more impressive.

As the title nears its eighth anniversary, World of Warcraft remains one of the top-rated PC games of all time and continues to thrive globally with a massive and passionate subscriber base.  With three released expansion packs since launch and a fourth, Mists of Pandaria, around the corner, World of Warcraft is one of the most profitable and popular entertainment franchises in history, a pop culture fixture that is sure to transcend generations. Members of the Blizzard Entertainment World of Warcraft team will be on stage to accept the Hall of Fame award.

More information about the 2012 Game Developers Choice Online Awards is available at the official website for the GDC Online awards, www.GDCOnlineAwards.com. GDC Online takes place at the Austin Convention Center, October 9-11, 2012. More information about sessions and registration is available at www.GDCOnline.com.

About the UBM TechWeb Game Network
A core provider of essential information to the professional game industry, the UBM TechWeb Game Network offers market-defining content, and drives community through its award winning lineup of print, online, event and research products and services. These include the Game Developers Conference®, the Webby Award-winning Gamasutra.com and network of sites, the Game Advertising Online ad network, the Game Developers Conference® Online, the Game Developers Conference™ Europe, the Game Developers Conference™ China, Game Developer Magazine, the Game Career Seminars and GameCareerGuide.com, the Independent Games Festival and Summit, and the Game Developers Choice Awards. Visit www.jointhegamenetwork.com

About UBM TechWeb
UBM TechWeb, the global leader in technology media and professional information, enables people and organizations to harness the transformative power of technology. Through its three core businesses – media solutions, marketing services and paid content – UBM TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed brands and media applications in the technology market. More than 14.5 million business and technology professionals (CIOs and IT managers, Web & Digital professionals, Software Developers, Government decision makers, and Telecom providers) actively engage in UBM TechWeb's communities and information resources monthly. UBM TechWeb brands includes: global face-to-face events such as Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat and Enterprise Connect; award-winning online resources such as InformationWeek, Light Reading, and Network Computing; and market-leading magazines InformationWeek, Wall Street & Technology, and Advanced Trading. UBM TechWeb is a UBM plc company, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.  Visit: www.ubmtechweb.com

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment's track record includes fourteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.

CONTACT: Teresa Tyndorf
fortyseven communications
(323) 658-1200
teresa@fortyseven.com

Rich McCarthy / Sandra Lew
UBM TechWeb Game Network
(415) 947-6280 / (415) 947-6232
rich.mccarthy@ubm.com / sandra.lew@ubm.com

SOURCE UBM TechWeb Game Network



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