The Innovation awards recognize games that demonstrate true innovation, advance the state of the art, and push the boundaries of games as an expressive medium. In essence, these are the games that are leading the way as the medium continues to evolve. Up to three Innovation awards may be bestowed on games that contain such outstanding contributions.

5th annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2005)

Recipient
  • Donkey Konga (Namco / Nintendo)
    - Hiroshi Igarashi, Hiroyuki Onoda
  • I Love Bees (4orty2wo Entertainment / Microsoft Game Studios)
    - Eln Lee
  • Katamari Damacy (Namco)
    - Keita Takahashi

4th annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2004)

Recipient
  • EYETOY: PLAY (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe)
  • VIEWTIFUL JOE (Capcom)
  • WARIOWARE INC.: MEGA MICROGAME$ (Nintendo)

3rd annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2003)

Recipient
  • ANIMAL CROSSING by Nintendo
  • BATTLEFIELD 1942 by Digital Illusions
  • MEDAL OF HONOR: ALLIED ASSAULT by 2015, Inc.
  • THE THING by Computer Artworks

Note: The nomination processes changed slightly in 2003, with only the actual recipients being presented an Innovation award. Having nominees "lose" in this category, while being nominated for risk taking and innovation was not in the spirit of the award.

2nd annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2002)

Recipient
  • BLACK & WHITE by Lionhead Studios
  • GRAND THEFT AUTO III by DMA Design
  • ICO by Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.
  • MAJESTIC by Electronic Arts
  • REZ by United Game Artists
Nominees
  • CEL DAMAGE by Pseudo Interactive
  • FREQUENCY by Harmonix Music Systems
  • KOHAN: IMMORTAL SOVEREIGNS by TimeGate Studios
  • MAX PAYNE by Remedy Entertainment
  • SUPER MONKEY BALL by Amusement Vision

1st annual Game Developers Choice Awards (2001)

Recipient
  • Counter-Strike by the Counter-Strike team
  • Crazy Taxi by Sega AM3
  • Deus Ex by ION Storm Austin
  • Jet Grind Radio by Smilebit
  • No One Lives Forever by Monolith
Nominees
  • AMERICAN MCGEE's ALICE by Rogue/EA
  • LEGEND OF ZELDA: MAJORA'S MASK by Nintendo
  • NFL2K1 by Visual Concepts
  • SACRIFICE by Shiny
  • SAMBA DE AMIGO by Sega Sonic Team
  • SEAMN by Vivarium
  • SHENMUE by Sega AM2
  • SSX by EA Canada
  • THE SIMS by Maxis
  • VIRTUA TENNIS by Sega