Thatgamecompany's evocative adventure game beat the likes of Mass Effect 3, Fez and Super Mario 3D Land to the prize, which was announced at GameCity7 in Nottingham.
Copyright: SonyJourney was the unanimous choice of a panel made up of, among others, comic artist and writer Dave Gibbons, UK designer Wayne Hemingway, actor and comedian Charlie Higson and BBC Radio DJ Jo Whiley.
GameCity Prize Chairman Lord Puttnam said that Journey "presents the player with an especially coherent vision, simultaneously fantastic and familiar".
Lord Puttnam continued: "All of the Jury commented on the art direction in particular, the extraordinary sense of size and scale it portrayed.
"Whilst it was a short game, it was in no way small. It's a focused, detailed piece of work - challenging you to measure it in terms other than just the length of gameplay.
"One of the jury commented that it was like a favourite place, a walk in the country, that she would love to go back and revisit.
"In particular, Journey was a videogame that had been created by artists immersed in a broad culture. Both obviously a game, but challenging of what a game could be - it displayed an extraordinary level of care and attention."
Special mention was also made of Fez, which Lord Puttnam called an "extraordinary work of invention".
Other contenders for the prize, which is seen as the gaming equivalent of the Mercury, Turner and Booker awards, included Catherine, Johann Sebastian Joust and Proteus.
Journey was released exclusively on the PlayStation Network in March.
> Read Digital Spy's Journey review
Watch a trailer for Journey below: