Organizers of the 20th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the premier accolades for peer recognition celebrating the industry’s top games, studios and developers, have revealed that Kate Edwards, former head of the International Game Developers Association and current Global Game Jam executive director, will receive the Ambassador Award for helping video games advance to a better place through advocacy and action.
Kate is particularly known for evangelizing the game community worldwide - both via speaking & mentoring at a multitude of game industry events yearly - and helping new and diverse initiatives across the entire worldwide community. Her open and caring nature in connecting people across a multitude of important game communities makes her a natural choice for the Ambassador Award.
Kate’s route into the video game industry was an unconventional one. Beginning with her academic background in geography and cartography, she leveraged that expertise in her past role as a geopolitical strategist for Microsoft on the company’s virtual earth technology and Encarta World Atlas project.
Following her 13 years at Microsoft, she founded and serves as the CEO of Geogrify (formerly Englobe) where she consults on many game and non-game projects for BioWare, Google, Amazon, Facebook, LEGO and many other companies, helping provide them with key insights into content culturalization, allowing for games that smartly navigate cultural divides and bring about culturally relevant experiences for players and users around the world.
Kate’s responsibilities expanded further as she served as the Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) from 2012 to 2017, and she currently serves as a board member of video game mental health non-profit Take This. As the executive director of the Global Game Jam starting in 2019, Kate is now helping facilitate the innovative “game jam” non-profit that spans over 850 sites in 113 countries around the world.
With a career touching on geography, writing and corporate strategy, Kate has earned accolades across the games industry, including being named as one of the “10 Most Powerful Women” in the industry in 2013 by Fortune Magazine, in 2014 she was named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of their six “People of the Year.” In 2018, she was honored with Reboot Develop’s annual Hero Award and also presented with IndieCade’s annual Game Changer Award, and in 2019 she was presented with a Special Award from GameRome for her ongoing service to the global game industry.
“The true ambassadors of the games industry are those figures who have helped progress the state of games to embrace more players, and Kate has done that by bridging cultural divides and connecting people across diverse game communities,” said Katie Stern, general manager of the Game Developers Conference. “Kate has always been an incredible evangelist to the game community itself, both through her work with the IGDA and now Global Game Jam, as well as her culturalization work, and we’re so happy to give her this award.”
The recipients of the Ambassador Award are chosen by the Game Developers Choice Special Awards Jury, which includes notable game industry leaders Frank Cifaldi (The Video Game History Foundation), Ed Fries (1Up Ventures), Tracy Fullerton (USC Games), Raph Koster (Playable Worlds) and Erin Robinson (Guerrilla Games).
The organizers of the Game Developers Choice Awards will soon be announcing the recipient of the Pioneer Award, which honors breakthrough tech and game design milestones. The Ambassador and Pioneer Awards will be presented during the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony, taking place on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 at 6:30pm at the San Francisco Moscone Center during the 2020 Game Developers Conference, and in conjunction with the Independent Games Festival. The ceremonies are available to attend for all GDC 2020 pass-holders and will be viewable live on the GDC Twitch channel.
For more information about the 20th annual Game Developers Choice Awards, visit the Game Developers Choice Awards website. For more details on the Game Developers Conference, please visit the GDC’s official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook and Twitter.