BAFTA today announced that Gabe Newell is to be awarded an Academy Fellowship at the 2013 British Academy Games Awards this March 5th. The Fellowship is the highest honour in BAFTA's arsenal, their most prestigious tool for letting someone know they're the bee's knees. Previous gaming Fellows include Will Wright, Peter Molyneux and Notch.
Newell's inclusion is certainly deserved. Harvey Elliott, Chair of BAFTA's Games Committee, states, "Gabe's contribution to the industry is unique, and he is very different to many others that BAFTA could recognise. As well as enjoying great critical and commercial success with phenomenally popular franchises such as Portal and Half-Life, his work in giving back to the games industry through developing and showcasing other games makers has been outstanding." There's also that Steam thing that's proven quite popular.
"It is an honor for myself and everyone at Valve to be presented such an award by one of the world's most respected and recognised organisations," said Newell. "Valve owes a tremendous thanks to many in the UK – to those who have played our games, to the great support of the UK press, and to UK-based creative contributors such as Garry Newman. I look forward to accepting this prestigious honor on behalf of everyone in our community."
BAFTA started handing out Fellowships for achievement in video games in 2007. Why is Newell only now being acknowledged? What event from the past twelve months could have prompted the award? My god... could it be?
Or it's the history of critically acclaimed games and the innovative strides in digital distribution. I'll let you be the judge.
The full list of BAFTA Games Award nominations is available