Game industry pioneer David Braben will join the likes of Valve boss Gabe Newell, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, and film director Martin Scorsese in receiving a prestigious Bafta fellowship award.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts today announced that it will present Braben — co-creator of the seminal space trading game Elite and the man behind its contemporary sequel Elite: Dangerous — with a fellowship award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the game industry. It’s the highest accolade given by Bafta for outstanding work in the fields of movies, television, or games.
Video games are now a $100 billion industry, and they outperform the movie industry — worth $88 billion worldwide — in terms of revenue. The entertainment industry has historically been slow to formally recognize achievements of key people and companies in the world of gaming, but that’s now starting to change. The British Academy Games Awards, which take place in London on March 12, are one example of the growing mainstream acceptance of gaming.
“I am absolutely delighted to be receiving a Bafta Fellowship,” said Braben in a statement. “It is an incredible honor. I have a truly great team behind me at Frontier [Developments], and without them I would not be receiving this, so the honor is effectively for all of us.”
Braben created the original Elite game alongside Ian Bell, releasing it on the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron home computers to great acclaim back in September 1984. His game studio, Frontier Developments, has since worked on titles like Rollercoaster Tycoon, and it raised $2.4 million on crowdfunding site Kickstarter in early 2013 to help fund the development of Elite: Dangerous.
Braben is also a trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity which promotes the study of computer science in schools and is responsible for developing the $25 single-board Raspberry Pi computer.
“David is a genuine pioneer,” said Harvey Elliott, Chairman of Bafta’s games committee, “not just in terms of game design or cultural significance but also in the field of computing, having championed the Raspberry Pi that recently became the most successful British computer of all time. The Academy Fellowship could not be more appropriate.”