February Mobile App Development Report

9 Mar
2017

February is the shortest month, but it was filled with app development on two very different apps. The first part of the month was dedicated to more work on my educational finance app. I continued to research, gather, and organize information for the database. I’m more than halfway complete with the information portion of the app and it’s A LOT of data. I just looked at it to see how much I’ve done and what’s remaining, and its pretty daunting on both spectrums of complete & incomplete. One of the things I worked on in February for this app was gathering terms and dispersing those terms throughout the app for an Acronyms section. I initially thought it would be a quick thing to do, but with the mass amount of data in this app along with how varied I want it to be proved that to be an incorrect assumption. After I complete the Acronyms section I’m going to jump into another vast portion of data that’s been organized and finish the additional add-ins to make it more varied as well.

Working with financial terms across multiple spreadsheets for my finance app in OpenOffice

During the second half of February I decided to take a break from the finance app and work on a new soundboard app. I already had the idea of this soundboard app in my mind and on a list of app ideas that I have so the idea wasn’t new but this is the first time I’ve dedicated more than a few moments on it. The only part of this app that I had worked on before besides the overall concept was background graphics. So I picked up from where I left off before and finished the backgrounds for the app first. I then started making a list of what kind sound categories I wanted within the app, and then I went further by listing specific sounds within those categories.

Then after that I jumped into the main part of a soundboard app, the sounds! I gathered some sounds from public domain resources to edit and incorporate and I also recorded several new sounds. With some of the sounds I gathered I ended up doing so much editing to them that they turned out sounding like something completely different. This situation ended up happening often due to my audio experimentation and general curiosity, but it’s been neat to discover what sounds can evolve into after various editing, mixing, & etc. So far I’ve been working mainly in Garageband with the audio and that will continue to be the main program that I use for audio. It’s a great program overall, its included with Apple computers so I’ve been using it for years, and it’s been getting the job done for my main audio tool so I’ll continue with it. 

Using pedals to make fire sound effects in Garageband

During the first week of March I worked on giving one of my apps a retro 8-bit makeover. Since this is the February post I won’t go into much detail on this now, but this reskinned app will be getting a standalone release in March across all platforms that the original app is currently on. After finishing that app I’ll jump back in the soundboard app and/or the finance app I wrote about above. Until next time ∞

January Mobile App Development Report

18 Feb
2017

Whoa, so I almost forgot to write a report on what I worked on in January. For the first half of January I mostly worked on writing the big App Development & Design in 2016 Overview post, and making a banner for it. I like to write those yearly posts to kind of wrap up the previous year in app development land, and look back on what happened and how it’s going to impact the new year. I also like to write it to give viewers a sense of how much work, time, and effort goes into my apps and also remind myself of that, which I can also use to better organize things for future endeavors. I also like looking at download numbers and seeing overall which apps received the most downloads & etc. It’s also nice to look to see which apps received customer reviews. The trend continues that most people who download my apps don’t leave reviews so I don’t look out for them much, but it is nice and a bit reassuring that the majority of reviews that I do get are positive. My goal is to continue to create unique great apps that I want to make that are within my skill realm, and try to make sure they provide a great experience for users, whether it be through education, entertainment, fun, or tranquility.

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Working on the promotional banner for my Development & Design in 2016 Overview post

Throughout the month I also continued to work on gathering, reviewing, and organizing information for my finance app. I’m trying to somehow condense the information but not take away too much from how vast the app is in regards to how much varied information it contains. When it’s complete it’s going to have thousands of lines of information within it without needing any sort of internet connection. I’m hoping to delve into the design of the app in March and publish it in April or May. After that I might jump into my next relaxation app. I’ve also been thinking about doing a different graphical design(aka reskinning) to one of my previous apps so I may mess around with that first. Until next time ∞

App Development & Design in 2016 Overview | 8-Bit Avrin Apps

27 Jan
2017

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2016 was the first year since releasing my first app in 2011 that I didn’t release a new app. Instead, most of my app development time was spent working on updates, some major and some minor. I began the year finishing the big update to Ultra Fortune Ball, which was the first app that I ever developed and released. The other major updates I worked on and released were for Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard, Professor Piggy Bank, Quiz of Medicine, Motivational Quotes to Inspire, Chinatown Fortune Cookie, and my suite of Word Owls Word Search apps. I also released somewhat minor updates for several other apps which included; Saving Bunnies, 8-Bit Eagle Smash, Zompy Jumpy, Detective Deep, Strike the Goal, & Jumbo Egg Hunt.

I really like working on new apps, but I also really like improving my older apps especially when the updates are voluntary. A few of the minor updates I did were mainly because of the new Apple App Store Review Guidelines but all of the other ones were updates that I wanted to work on and made exclusive time for. I like having the ability and authority of providing users with free improvements that can enhance their experience. Some of my most downloaded apps received great updates in 2016 so it feels good knowing that thousands and thousands of people out there are using better versions of my apps. As a creator, improving something that you’ve created is also just an overall great feeling too.

When I began developing apps it was just a hobby. However, as I started to get better and release more apps my download numbers increased which resulted in more income. Now I’m not rich and money still isn’t the main reason why I develop apps, but it is nice getting additional income from a creative endeavor. So this year with Apple iAds dissolving I decided to take a more serious look at monetization with my free apps and try different ad networks. After researching, implementing, testing, and viewing results I decided to go with Google Admob as my main ad provider and then Chartboost and Revmob as secondary ad providers. I had an issue were Admob wasn’t working well enough on my Amazon apps so I decided to use Chartboost as my main ad network with Revmob as secondary for those. Anyways that’s enough talk about monetization.

Below I’ll list my top downloaded apps and top countries that downloaded my apps. After that I’ll write a summary of what I worked on each month and what I plan on working on in 2017 and upload some images of some consumer app reviews I received in 2016.

 

Top 5 Free Downloads

  1. Quiz of Medicine
  2. Ultra Fortune Ball
  3. Motivational Quotes to Inspire
  4. Zompy Jumpy
  5. Chinatown Fortune Cookie

 

Top 5 Paid Downloads

  1. Professor Piggy Bank
  2. RX Quiz of Pharmacy
  3. Ultra Retro Game Soundboard
  4. Word Owl’s Word Search – First Grade
  5. Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard

 

Top 5 Countries for Downloads

  1. United States
  2. Mexico
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Canada
  5. Australia

 

Broad summaries of what I worked on each month….

January: Worked on and finished the big update for Ultra Fortune Ball.

February: Worked on screenshots and promo graphics for Ultra Fortune Ball. Worked on and finished an update for Quiz of Medicine. Tested and implemented new ad networks….this also continued off & on throughout the year with some of my other free apps.

March: Ported a free version of Ultra Fortune Ball to the Amazon App Store. Did a lot of work on the major Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard update. Started working on an Easter edition of Word Owl’s Word Search….haven’t worked on it since though….no sure I’m going to continue due to lack of time and other projects.

April: Finished the update to Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard and put together new screenshots for it. Worked on an update for Chinatown Fortune Cookie.

May: Continued working on the Chinatown Fortune Cookie update. Started working on the big Professor Piggy Bank update. Created a new main promo image for Ultra Soccer Match Soundboard.

June: Continued working on the updates for Professor Piggy Bank. Finished the update to Chinatown Fortune Cookie. Started working on an update for Motivational Quotes to Inspire.

July: Worked on and finished app updates for Motivational Quotes to Inspire & Saving Bunnies. Ported Savings Bunnies to the Google Play and Amazon app stores.

August: Worked on & finished updates for 8-Bit Eagle Smash, Professor Piggy Bank, Quiz of Medicine, Ultra Fortune Ball, & Zompy Jumpy. Started working on a new Finance app.

September: Worked on & finished updates for Word Owl’s Word Search Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grades, Christmas, & Halloween editions. Did a small increment of work on the Finance app.

October: Worked on gathering more data for the finance app. Updated some of my free apps on Amazon to change ad network providers. Continued working on the finance app.

November: Continued work on the finance app. Worked on and finished minor updates to Detective Deep & Strike the Goal on iOS because of Apple new review guidelines. Ported Word Owl’s Word Search 1st Grade & Christmas editions to Google Play.

December: Made a promo gameplay video for Word Owl’s Word Search Christmas Edition. Worked on and finished an update for Jumbo Egg Hunt on iOS due to the new Apple review guidelines. Continued researching and organizing data for my finance app.

In 2017 I plan on finishing and releasing two apps. One of them will be the finance app I’ve been working on and the I’m not exactly sure about the other one. There are a lot of app ideas in my head, but I’m not sure which one I’m going to pull out to start working on after the finance app. In 2017 I also plan on working on an awesome new start-up. It’s app related but it will be seperate from Avrin Ross/8-Bit Avrin Apps….more details on that later and eventually it will have its own site too for even more details. I’m very excited about this start-up and my goals for it. So far all my apps developed by Avrin Ross of 8-Bit Avrin Apps belong to a range of various genres, but my next company will be more focused and branded overall.

2016 was definitely the year of updates for me, and I’m glad I used the majority of my little app development time to work on them, but I’m also very much looking forward to working on new stuff. I plan on organizing my time better in 2017 so that I cut a bit down on my little leisure time and increase my app development time. Family is incredibly important to me so I’m still not going to take away much time from them for my apps no matter how hectic app dev lands may get.

Massive thank you to everyone who downloaded one of my apps! Every single one of them had a lot of work put into creating it. I hope you enjoyed them! If not, I’m sorry, but on the bright side you only wasted a little time and maybe like .99 cents if it wasn’t free, so not a big deal at all. Judging from the number of downloads in combination with only a few negative reviews though I’m guessing most users are satisfied overall so that’s awesome. Speaking of reviews, most people don’t leave reviews but below are some of the positive consumer reviews left in 2016 for some of my apps. Thank you to everyone who left a positive review and the people who helped spread the word about my apps too. Until next time ∞

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2016 reviews on Google Play

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2015 Overview – 2014 Overview – 2013 Overview – 2012 Overview

December Mobile App Development Report

5 Jan
2017

Overall December was probably the month with the least amount of app development in 2016 for me. I spent more of my little app dev free time doing other things like playing video games and catching up on some TV shows. Also, Christmas is my favorite holiday so some of the month was spent doing things related to the holiday. This is the first year since my first release in 2011 that I didn’t release a new app. Something like 97% of the app dev work I did this year was devoted to updates. I like my older apps especially some of the ones I updated this year, but I did get a bit burned at times from not working on much new material. Regardless, in December I updated one of my most popular apps and continued to work a bit on my new app.

A few months ago Apple implemented stricter App Store Review Guidelines that involved probing the app store for old apps that haven’t been updated in a few years, apps with titles too long, and more. Once your app falls into at least one of those categories Apple sends you a nice notice that your app does not comply with one or more App Review Guidelines. Then for more details it advises the developer to go to the Resolution Center in iTunes Connect. Upon doing that you’ll find out why your app was targeted.

So far, the four of my apps that were targeted were because they haven’t been updated in years. Even if the app still works perfectly fine like mine did, Apple still wants you to update. So to resolve the issue and prevent Apple from removing the app from the App Store I had to submit updates. This actually happened to three of my apps last month and I decided to update two of them, and let one make its exit from the App Store. I actually forgot to write about it in last months progress post so I’ll write about on this post. Last month my apps Detective Deep, Strike the Goal, & Raven’s Hidden Hollows received a notice from Apple basically about not being updated in a while. All of these apps worked fine and as intended so the updates I submitted to keep them on the app store were mostly just time consuming. Instead of just giving a blank update though I made a few adjustments to Detective Deep & Strikes the Goal which resulted in faster load times, 64 bit support, & some image enhancements. These adjustments weren’t necessary or needed right now, but since I had to use some of my time to do an update in general I decided to add a bit more time to actually make some minor improvements. 64-bit isn’t a minor issue, but luckily the task of supporting it is currently a minor thing for me to update for.

I decided not to update Raven’s Hidden Hollows though because I no longer liked the presentation and gameplay of the app specifically. I also removed the app from other stores for the same reason. I should have added a story and maybe some puzzle elements to the app, but instead of adding those to an old app I decided to just remove it, and if I decide to make an app like it in the future I’ll add those features. The only hidden object games without a story that I want in my app portfolio right now are my Jumbo Egg Hunt games. Which brings me to the update I had to make in December. During this month Apple sent me the same notice mentioned earlier about my app Jumbo Egg Hunt. This app is one of my most downloaded older apps combined across all app stores and I like it a lot so updating it to avoid it being removed from the iOS App Store was imperative. Again, instead of submitting a blank update I decided to make a few improvements which included; 64 bit support, image enhancements, and faster load times. Since I was updating the iOS version with improvements I went ahead and updated the Android versions as well on Amazon & Google Play.

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An email from Apple

In December I also worked on gathering more data for my finance app. I thought I would be further along in development on this app, but the more research I do, the more I want to continue adding more & more data to the app. I graduated with a degree in Finance several years ago so some of the research has been like a refresher to me which causes me to dive into additional reading and researching. Some of it has basically been common knowledge to me too which is nice because it causes me to work quicker. Development takes odd turns sometimes in general, but it additionally happens for various intriguing reasons when I’m working on an app with a subject on something that I already had an interest in and am somewhat knowledgable about like finance, medicine, soccer & so on. So far I’ve created two soccer themed apps, and two medical educational apps, but this is my first finance related app and finance is a wide rating subject. To make development go smoother and make more progress I’ve finally determined which exact categories I’m going to focus on and the range of difficulty I want implemented. In January I’ll continue working on the finance app and hopefully make grand strides towards its completion. I’ll also be finishing writing and then posting my yearly overview progress report too. Until next time ∞

My Top 8 Favorite Albums of 2016

5 Jan
2017

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My Top 8 Favorite Albums of 2016 Spotify playlist

 

#8

Porches – Pool

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(Standout tracks: Underwater, Mood, Hour, Shaver)

 

#7

Kings of Leon – Walls

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(Standout tracks: Around the World, Find Me, Reverend, Over)

 

 

#6

Frank Ocean – Blond

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(Standout tracks: Ivy, Solo, Nights, Futura Free)

 

 

#5

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

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(Standout tracks: Daydreaming, Decks Dark, Ful Stop, Identikit)

 

 

#4

Metronomy – Summer 08

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(Standout tracks: Old Skool, 16 Beat, Mick Slow, Night Owl)

 

 

#3

Young the Giant – Home of the Strange

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(Standout tracks: Amerika, Elsewhere, Repeat, Art Exhibit)

 

 

#2

Local Natives – Sunlit Youth

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(Standout tracks: Villainy, Masters, Mother Emanuel, Everything All At Once)

 

 

#1

Kid Cudi – Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’

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(Standout tracks: By Design, Rose Golden, Baptized in Fire, Cosmic Warrior, The Commander)

 

(Top 8 Favorite Albums of 2015, 201420132012)

November Mobile App Development Report

8 Dec
2016

Development work in November was mostly devoted to working on the new finance app I’ve been working on & off with. I continued to gather and check information for different categories and arrange  them in separate lists. I also decided on which exact categories to have in the app, which makes information compiling more productive. In December & January I’ll continue working with a large amount of data for this app. No guarantees, but I plan on releasing this app in the first or early second quarter of 2017. I’ll be reusing a lot of the code that I used in my Quiz of Medicine & RX Quiz of Pharmacy apps so that will save me a lot of time after completing the massive data section. I haven’t touched the design aspect of it yet so the timeframe of app completion will then depend on how quickly that progresses. I have a few rough ideas in mind on how I want it to look, but I want to complete the data portion before diving into design this time.

I ported Word Owl’s Word Search First Grade & Christmas editions to Google Play last month. With the release of great new devices, improvements to the developer console, a huge user base, and increasing download numbers for some of my apps, I’ve decided to focus more on the Google Play store. Apple iOS will still be my main target, and Amazon will stay at second in importance, but now Google Play will be a very strong third target for my apps. I already make an Android based build when I’m releasing an app on Amazon so when I make a build for Google Play I won’t have to change a lot. I won’t be releasing every one of my apps on Google Play because I still have some issues with the store, but going forward I will be focusing more energy there with new apps and possibly some of my older apps. Until next time ∞

More Word Owl’s Word Search Apps on Google Play

26 Nov
2016

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Word Owl’s Word Search First Grade and Christmas editions are both now available on the Google Play app store! The Second Grade & Third Grade editions will also be available on that app store as well in the near future….

The Game Awards 2016 Nominees, My Picks, & the Winners

21 Nov
2016

The Game Awards 2016 will be held live on December 1st at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. My picks are highlighted in teal. Actual winners are now underlined. I don’t pay much attention to trending gamers or eSports so I didn’t list those categories.

 

GAME OF THE YEAR

For a game that delivers the absolute best experience across all creative and technical fields.

  • Doom (id Software/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Titanfall 2 (Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)

 –

BEST GAME DIRECTION

Recognizing a game studio for outstanding creative vision, game direction and design.

  • Blizzard Entertainment (for Overwatch)
  • EA DICE (for Battlefield 1)
  • id Software (for Doom)
  • Naughty Dog (for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End)
  • Respawn Entertainment (for Titanfall 2)

 –

BEST NARRATIVE

For outstanding storytelling and narrative development in a game.

  • Firewatch (Campo Santo)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Mafia 3 (Hangar 13/2K Games)
  • Oxenfree (Night School Studio)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)

 –

BEST ART DIRECTION

For outstanding creative and technical achievement in artistic design and animation.

  • Abzu (Giant Squid/505 Games)
  • Firewatch (Campo Santo)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)

 –

BEST MUSIC/SOUND DESIGN

For outstanding audio, inclusive of score, original song, licensed soundtrack and sound design.

  • Battlefield 1 (EA DICE/Electronic Arts)
  • Doom (id Software/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Rez Infinite (Enhance Games)
  • Thumper (Drool)

 –

BEST PERFORMANCE

Awarded to an individual for voice-over acting, motion and/or performance capture.

  • Alex Hernandez as Lincoln Clay, Mafia 3
  • Cissy Jones as Delilah, Firewatch
  • Emily Rose as Elena, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Nolan North as Nathan Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
  • Rich Sommer as Henry, Firewatch
  • Troy Baker as Sam Drake, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

 –

GAMES FOR IMPACT

Honoring exemplary games that take on real-world issues and advocate for social change.

  • 1979 Revolution: Black Friday (Ink Stories)
  • Block’hood (Plethora Project/Devolver Digital)
  • Orwell (Osmotic Studios/Surprise Attack)
  • Sea Hero Quest (Glitchers)
  • That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games)

 –

BEST INDEPENDENT GAME

For outstanding achievement in a game made outside the traditional publisher system.

  • Firewatch (Campo Santo)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)
  • Inside (Playdead)
  • Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe/Chucklefish Games)
  • The Witness (Thekla Inc.)

 –

BEST MOBILE/HANDHELD

For the best game playable on mobile phones and dedicated gaming handhelds.

  • Clash Royale (Supercell)
  • Fire Emblem Fates (Intelligent Systems/Nintendo)
  • Monster Hunter Generations (Capcom)
  • Pokémon Go (Niantic Labs)
  • Severed (DrinkBox Studios)

 –

BEST VR GAME

For the best game experience playable in virtual reality.

  • Batman: Arkham VR (Rocksteady Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • Eve: Valkyrie (CCP Games)
  • Job Simulator (Owlchemy Labs)
  • Rez Infinite (Enhance Games)
  • Thumper (Drool)

 –

BEST ACTION GAME

For the best game experience focused around first or third person combat.

  • Battlefield 1 (EA DICE/Electronic Arts)
  • Doom (id Software/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Gears of War 4 (The Coalition/Microsoft Studios)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Titanfall 2 (Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts)

 –

BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME

For the best game experience that combines combat with traversal and puzzle solving.

  • Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks)
  • Hitman (IO Interactive/Square Enix)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)
  • Ratchet & Clank (Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)

 –

BEST RPG

The best game designed for rich player character customization and progression, both offline and online, including massively multiplayer.

  • Dark Souls 3 (FromSoftware/Bandai Namco Entertainment)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Eidos Montreal/Square Enix)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine (CD Projekt Red/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • World of Warcraft: Legion (Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X (Monolith Soft/Nintendo)

 –

BEST FIGHTING GAME

For a game designed primarily around head-to-head combat.

  • Killer Instinct Season 3 (Iron Galaxy Studios/Microsoft Studios)
  • The King of Fighters 14 (SNK/Atlus USA)
  • Pokkén Tournament (Bandai Namco Studios/The Pokémon Co. International)
  • Street Fighter 5 (Capcom)

 –

BEST STRATEGY GAME

Best game focused on real time or turn-based strategy.

  • Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 (Firaxis Games/2K Games)
  • Fire Emblem Fates (Intelligent Systems/Nintendo)
  • The Banner Saga 2 (Stoic Studio/Versus Evil)
  • Total War: Warhammer (The Creative Assembly/Sega)
  • XCOM 2 (Firaxis Games/2K Games)

 –

BEST FAMILY GAME

Best game for family play, including toys-to-life, rhythm/music/dance, and other genres.

  • Dragon Quest Builders (Square Enix)
  • Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TT Fusion/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • Pokémon Go (Niantic Labs)
  • Ratchet & Clank (Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Skylanders Imaginators (Toy for Bob/Activision)

 –

BEST SPORTS/RACING

For traditional and non-traditional sports and racing games.

  • FIFA 17 (EA Vancouver/Electronic Arts)
  • Forza Horizon 3 (Playground Games/Microsoft Studios)
  • MLB The Show 16 (SIE San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • NBA 2K17 (Visual Concepts/2K Sports)
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 (PES Productions/Konami)

 –

BEST MULTIPLAYER

For outstanding online multiplayer gameplay and design, including co-op and massively multiplayer experiences.

  • Battlefield 1 (EA DICE/Electronic Arts)
  • Gears of War 4 (The Coalition/Microsoft Studios)
  • Overcooked (Ghost Town Games/Team17)
  • Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Titanfall 2 (Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts)
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

 –

MOST ANTICIPATED GAME

An upcoming game that has shown significant ambition and promise in moving the gaming medium forward.

  • God of War (SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Studios/Rockstar Games)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)

 –

BEST FAN CREATION

For fan-created content, such as mods, fan films, and other player content.

  • Project A2MR
  • Pokémon Uranium
  • Brutal Doom 64
  • Enderal: The Shards of Order