Game BAFTAs skipping '08

Prestigious awards ceremony not taking place this year, committee member confirms "bigger and better ceremony" coming in March 2009.

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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts handed out its first video game awards during its regular March ceremony in 1998. In 2006 and 2007, the game BAFTAs were held in October instead, so as to coincide with the London Games Festival. This year, though, there won't be a 10th anniversary party--in fact, there isn't going to be a 2008 ceremony at all.

GameSpot UK has confirmed that the next BAFTA game awards will be held on March 10, 2009, instead of during this year's LGF in October, as had been widely expected. Tim Wapshott, journalist with The Times newspaper and a member of the BAFTA video games committee, told GSUK, "The awards are indeed going back to the early part of next year for a number of valid reasons, one of them being to improve the judging process to make sure these are the best and most democratic recognising the UK games industry."

He continued, "One spurious story [in the UK trade press], widely considered to merely be a rather tiresome windup, suggested that the awards 'may' happen next year. There's no doubt about it--they will happen next year. 'They'll be back,' as Arnie [Schwarzenegger] might say! Not only that, they'll be bigger and better than ever."

One likely reason for the move is that the new date will allow the full range of games released throughout 2008 to be judged. Controversy erupted in 2007 when only games received by BAFTA in a complete form by September 6 of that year were eligible, thus eliminating from the running such games as Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3.

Last year, the BAFTAs were held on October 23 at Battersea Evolution in London. Nintendo's Wii Sports won numerous awards, BioShock took Best Game, and God of War II and Crackdown nabbed two gongs each.

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