Press Pass looks at the judges of the Game Critics Awards — how they’re picked, what they do and why they’re so important.

Press Pass: The Most Important Game Critics at E3

In a little over a week, thousands of journalists and game critics will be among the tens of thousands of industry members descending on the Los Angeles Convention Center for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. But 29 of these critics enjoy a special position in the throng. They’re the judges in the E3 Game Critics Awards (GCAs), and they’re among the most important tastemakers and kingmakers on the show floor.

While the GCAs aren’t directly affiliated with E3 itself, they’ve become the de facto independent standard for evaluating the show’s hottest playable games since their start in 1998. Winning a GCA sets a game apart from the hundreds of games that come out each year, and helps drive the kind of hype and pre-release coverage that can lead to greater interest and sales when the final game eventually comes out. Indeed, winners of the GCA’s 16 categories are often among the best-selling games of the year, and marketers use the “Game Critics Award Winner” badge on game advertisements and boxes as a mark of the game’s quality.

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