To create a new Hugo Award category, a formal proposal must be submitted to the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Business Meeting, where it can be be voted on by any Worldcon members who attend. If the proposed category passes, it must be ratified at the next Worldcon's Business Meeting the following year. The constitutional wording is generally accompanied by a brief justification and explanation of the maker's intent. We are actively developing the discussion section of the proposal by seeking public feedback, but you can see the proposal put before the Dublin Worldcon Business Meeting in 2019 in the Dublin Worldcon Business Meeting agenda. It contains a summary of our research into WSFS member engagement with games and how other game awards function.
Our proposed definition is split into two parts so that “interactive work” can be defined first and excluded from intervening category definitions (the prose categories, Best Graphic Story, and both Best Dramatic Presentation categories) until we get to the new category.
[underlined text indicates proposed additions to the WSFS Constitution]
Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution for the purpose of creating a new Hugo Award category for Best Game or Interactive Work by inserting new subsections after existing Sections 3.2.4 and 3.3.9, and revising Sections 3.2.6, 3.3.7, 3.3.8, and 3.3.9 as follows:
3.2.X. An interactive work is
(1) a game, or
(2) a narrative or presentation in which active input or interactive play is an integral component of the work itself or where it impacts the outcome, narrative, or order of elements of the work itself in a non-trivial fashion, and
(3) is not ephemeral, in the sense that the interactive elements of the work are accessible to participants through published or shareable artifacts, and the work is not an event requiring the participation of specific named persons.
3.2.6: The categories of Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story shall be open to non-interactive works in which the text is the primary form of communication, regardless of the publication medium, including but not limited to physical print, audiobook, and ebook.
3.3.7: Best Graphic Story. Any non-interactive science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form appearing for the first time in the previous calendar year.
3.3.8: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Any non-interactive theatrical feature or other production, with a complete running time of more than 90 minutes, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during the previous calendar year.
3.3.9: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Any non-interactive television program or other production, with a complete running time of 90 minutes or less, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during the previous calendar year.
3.3.Y: Best Game or Interactive Work. Any interactive work or interactive substantial modification of a work in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects, released to the public in the previous year and available for public participation in the interactive elements of the work in that year.
Provided that unless this amendment is re-ratified by the 2026 Business Meeting, this Section shall be repealed; and
Provided further that the question of re-ratification shall automatically be placed on the agenda of the 2026 Business Meeting.
This proposal is proceeding at the recommendation of the Hugo Award Study Committee.
The Games Hugo campaign has thoroughly analyzed all concerns raised at previous Business Meetings and within the WSFS community in the intervening discussions. This category is viable, accessible, and necessary. Please see gameshugo.com for any further questions or concerns.