Billboard Honors Pixar’s Jobs, EyeToy, BioWare

The first annual Billboard Digital Entertainment Conference and Awards concluded on Friday, Nov. 5 with an awards gala dinner held at UCLA’s Covel Center in Los Angeles on November 5. One of the evening’s big winners was Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs, who was named Visionary of the Year over HDNet chairman Mark Cuban, Real Networks chairman/CEO Rob Glaser and Game Designer Will Wright (SimCity and The Sims).

Game Innovation of the Year went to the Eyetoy PlayStation peripheral created by Dr. Richard Marks and Sony Computer Entertainment America. Also nominated were Activision’s Doom 3, the Nintendo DS handheld gaming unit and Qualcomm’s Brew programming language.

BioWare Corp. earned the distinction of Game Developer of the Year. With such titles to its credit as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights and Jade Empire, the studio swiped the title from fellow hopefuls Pandemic Studios, Ubisoft Montreal and Electronics Arts’ Maxis.

NCSoft’s City of Heroes took PC or Console Game of the Year, edging out, Lucas Arts and BioWare Corp.’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. City of Heroes was also named Multiplayer Game of the Year over Sony Computer Entertainment America’s Socom II: U.S. Navy Seals, Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, and Atari’s Unreal Tournament 2004 for PC.

Handheld Game of the Year was awarded to Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance title, Mario & Luigi: Super Star Saga. The field of finalists included Astro Boy: Omega Factor (GBA) from Sega, Jamdat Bowling 2 from Jamdat Mobile and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time from Gameloft.

Link from Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda took Best Character in a Game, trumping characters from Vivendi Universal Games’ The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow and Activision’s True Crime: Streets of LA.

The title of Web/Downloadable Game of the Year was bestowed upon Shroomz: Quest for Puppy from Game Trust Inc., which ran against Chappelle’s Show Skate Bored Game from Comedy Central, Feeding Frenzy from Sprout Games LLC and Jewel Quest from iWin Inc.

Rounding out the gaming categories was Best Use of Sound in a Game, which went to True Crime: Streets of LA. The title beat out fellow Activision nominees DOOM 3 and Tony Hawk’s Underground, as well as Electronic Arts’ Freedom Fighters.

On the film side, Best Use of Technology in a Feature Film or Film-related Project was awarded to the Disney blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Also in the running were the Sony Pictures Imageworks projects Spider-Man 2 and The Polar Express and the official website for Paramount Pictures’ Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, created by Blitz DS Games.

A full list of winners and more information on the Billboard Digital Entertainment Conference and Awards can be fond at www.digitalentertainmentawards.com.