How we judge

How we judge

Every day another 200 games are approved to the Apple App Store alone.
At that at the IMGA we are devoted to look at every game we receive but our aim is to find the diamond in the rough. That is not by awarding the most popular game but the best game.

Round 1

Finding the diamond in the rough: How it works


As soon as the call for entries ends, we ask our online judges to start playing the submitted games. Every jury member gets a list of games to review. After the creation of their IMGA account and profile, the online judges receive an invitation to download these games. By connecting to the online judging platform, judges will access their list of assigned games, leave comments, and decide whether these games should advance in the nomination process. Once the finalists have been selected, our on-site jury members will then select the winners for each category.

Our online judges’ comments are extremely valuable to us at this stage of the competition: your feedback will enable us to know what you like and what you don’t about each submission. Your feedback will also help our jury to determine the categories during the final phase of judging.

Join the elite of the IMGA online jury members


Every IMGA online judge has at least five years professional experience in the mobile games industry, an in-depth knowledge of how games are made, and a great understanding of what kinds of games are out there. Some of our online judges specialize in mobile VR, technology, casual games, and even hardcore multiplayer games.

Becoming an online judge is great if you are curious about new releases, the latest trends, or the hottest veteran and upcoming studios. Since we also accept unpublished games, you will also have the opportunity to play amazing titles before anyone else. By joining our online judging team, you will also expand your professional network, meet new people in the industry, and receive VIP invitations to our events and awards ceremonies. You will also receive an online judge badge for your website, portfolio, blog, and social media profiles. 

Online judging: basic rules and instructions


After having subscribed as an online judge, you will receive an email with the basic rules to respect when reviewing games. Of those rules, these are the most important points to us:



We will ask you to respect the hard work that developers have put in their creation. It is crucial that you take the time to test and play the game. Some small games can be evaluated quickly, even after playing just three or four levels. Other games will require more work.



If you play a mobile game you made yourself, or if it is a game made by a studio you (partially) own, the studio of your husband, wife, boyfriend or worst enemy, you will not be able to judge it. Please do not vote in this case.



IMGA has always looked to award games that are the most visionary. The most important element in the competition is innovation. We appreciate games that take a different approach. If you happen to evaluate such a game, consider yourself lucky! Conversely, if you find a game that looks like an existing mobile game, don’t be too quick with your judgement – there may be something there to surprise you. 

There are two other aspects that you need to know before judging submitted games. You might be asked to play premium games. If this should occur, promo codes will be provided so that you can download the game free of charge. You may also be asked to review games that have not yet been released. We will provide you with the information and tools needed to download and play the unpublished game.


We need your knowledge and your expertise to reward the best games. Please use the following link to subscribe and become an official International Mobile Gaming Awards online judge for our next competition! Still not convinced? Read our post “5 good reasons to become an online judge for IMGA”!


Round 2

The face to face judging session! That’s when we welcome our internationally renowned jury members and we ask them to play the 100 pre selected games during two intense days of playing the games and debating their merits amongst the jury.

The first day of the judging session is taken up with nothing but playing games: the judges are broken up into groups and given the 100 games to play through. They’re looking for specific things and if they don’t find it in a game, that game gets cut. Does a game go above and beyond in the graphics or sound categories? Did they nail an art style or make up their own that’s beautiful or striking? Is the game attempting something truly innovative in a market known for copy-cats and recycling old ideas?


See who are our jury members
The second day starts with a brief discussion on the categories. Some cornerstone categories repeated every year, Excellence in Graphics or Technical Achievement for example, but others category change year by year as the industry changes.

The jury goes through the full list and discusses which categories each game should be entered into. From there the list is distributed to the judges and the voting begins. Once that’s out of the way the real debate starts.


A game needs a majority of votes to stay on the list. However, if a game doesn’t receive a majority of votes a judge may chose to “champion” a game and must defend that game to the judges and persuade them to give it another try. If another judge is persuaded by the argument they can second his defense and the game is saved for the time being, usually as the judge who seconded takes a chance to pick up and play the game in question.


At the end of all of this we finally have the winners of each category including the Grand Prix and the Jury’s Honorable mention. During these intense two days the jury members will trim that 100 games down further to the final nominees. A number usually in the 50-60 range. And from there down the to 13 category winning games! Good job, right? Welcome to the big leagues, hope you brought your A-Game.