The 2014 Game Developer Choice Awards (GDCA) will honor co-founders Beck and Merrill of League of Legends creators Riot Games with the Pioneer Award. The award was voted on by the Game Developers Choice Advisory Committee, which includes game designers and industry veterans.
"The duo created Riot with the mission to be the most player-focused company in the world, and the Pioneer award is built upon the Staples Center-sized eSports growth and new community paradigms created by the company", the committee stated.
"Ultimately, that level of player engagement has earned League of Legends a remarkable level of commitment from players, who regularly spend more than a billion hours a month in the game as of March 2013. As President of Riot Games, Merrill has led development, publishing, people, and live operations on League of Legends, while Beck drives Riot's strategy and creative vision as CEO."
GDC co-organizer Simon Carless tells onGamers that the award has generally gone to much more historical pioneers in the past. Previous winners include Missle Command creator David "Dave" Theurer in 2012, Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov in 2007, and Valve founder Gabe Newell in 2010. Carless says this is one of the first times the award has been handed out to a newer company.
In late January Riot Games released impressive player statistics around League of Legends, including 27 million daily players, 67 million monthly players, and 7.5 million concurrent players at peak.
The 14th annual Game Developers Choice awards will take place on March 19th during the Game Developers Conference.