The Develop Industry Excellence Awards is a prestigious ceremony for the European games industry. Independent developers' dominance of the 19 awards presented last night prove that the European development market is not only in excellent health, but that developers free of publisher control are making an excellent job of striking out on their own.

Minecraft developer Mojang took home three awards for New Studio, Micro Studio and New Download IP. Playdead bagged a Visual Arts award for Limbo, recently rereleased on PSN. Audio-based iPhone survival horror game Papa Sangre from developer Somethin' Else scored a well-deserved Audio Accomplishment award. And Moshi Monsters developer Mind Candy took home a Business Development award.

Love it or loathe it, though, there's no denying the popularity and obscene level of success that Rovio's Angry Birds has enjoyed since its release. As such, Rovio took home not only the Handheld Developer award but also the top Grand Prix prize. This may be a controversial award for some, but Rovio's huge success while remaining independent of major publishers is proof that indies can strike out on their own and be more than a niche interest.

Other winners at the awards included Valve (Publishing Hero), Ninja Theory's Enslaved (New IP) and Kinect (Technical Innovation). The man behind Fighting Fantasy and Games Workshop, Ian Livingstone, picked up the Developer Legend award for his many contributions to the industry over the years. Livingstone published Tomb Raider, is Square Enix's current life president and plays an active role in promoting the games industry in the UK political system.

A full list of the winners can be found over at Develop.

This article originally appeared on as Independent Developers Dominate Develop Awards