The Game Ad-Wards

*Make sure to check out the latest chapter of the Xtreme Saga novel. Chapter 9, and all the previous chapter, as well as the web comic, can be accessed for free on the official Xtreme Saga webpage.

Contributed by DJMMT

What is the purpose of The Game Awards? I’m not asking this question to be ironic. I think we genuinely need to have this discussion; because what I saw from the show this year was NOT an awards show celebrating the year’s greatest contributions to the video game industry. What I saw was a number of celebrities stroking their own egos between a massive number of advertisements with the occasional award announcement. For an awards show, this year’s Game Awards seemed to have awards at the bottom of its list of priorities.

Why do people watch The Game Awards? I watch them, and other awards shows, some years, but these days I often just check the list of winners after the fact and view the clips that the internet deems important. For instance, one of the most noteworthy clips of this year’s show was Christopher Judge saying that his speech from last year was longer than the latest Call of Duty campaign. The point is that I don’t actually tune in to watch the live show. Nor do I watch the show in its entirety. That said, I absolutely care about the awards themselves, and do take the time to watch acceptance speeches that the internet tells me are worth watching. That is to say, for me The Game Awards are in fact about the awards. I just don’t have much interest in watching the show. Probably because it takes a long time, since they don’t only focus on the awards.

At the same time, I know that not everyone shares my interest in the actual awards but do watch the show precisely because of all the stuff that isn’t awards. People do tune in specifically to see new game announcements. People do like watching the musical acts and other things. And I’m sure that at least one person even likes watching Geoff Keighley and Kojima take turns sucking Kojima’s dick . . . again. I don’t. But I’m sure someone did. But that’s the point I’m getting at. What is the purpose of this specific event? Who is it actually for? And what should we expect from it?

I have seen numerous debates on this topic in the last week. I’ve seen many people complain about the focus on celebrities and advertising, stating that it takes away from the developers that that the night is supposedly built to honor. Many people, myself included, were disgusted by the fact that Kojima could stand on the stage for like 10 minutes to not show any gameplay for his supposed new game; meanwhile the GOTY winners were rushed off the stage with a sign that said “Please Wrap it Up” while trying to honor one of their team members that literally died during the production of Baldur’s Gate III. Additionally, I think this year’s show had more trailers (paid advertisements) than any previous year. That might not be true, but it sure felt like it.

Even though I don’t watch the show live, I honestly do take the time to go through every single trailer announcement. And I watch the majority of them. Even for games I know I don’t want. And that list of trailers was long this year. I believe part of the reason for this was that E3 didn’t happen in 2023. Because of that, there was probably a lot of projects that would have been revealed at E3 that still wanted a show reveal scenario for their game. That doesn’t make how the show went OK, but it is a possible reason for why it went the way it did. If you’re interested, my top five reveals for the show were Monster Hunter Wilds, God of War Ragnarök: Valhalla free DLC, Blade, Rise of the Ronin, and Windblown. There were some other great trailers, like the Black Myth Wukong release date trailer, but I was only counting games I wasn’t aware of before the show.

To be clear, not everyone is/was mad about how The Game Awards went this year. Again, plenty of people do like the focus on celebrities and new game advertisements. I’ve seen people argue that without the celebrities and trailers, people wouldn’t tune in at all. And that opinion isn’t necessarily wrong. Again, I didn’t actually watch the show live. I took the time to go to the official The Game Awards website and look at every single award, as well as vote before the show. And I took the time to look up all the trailers and watched most of them. But the fact is that I, a person who has now written two different posts concerning this year’s show, did not actually tune in to watch the show live. Granted, I was at work during the show, but the reality is that I probably wouldn’t have watched the show live regardless of my personal situation at the time of the actual broadcast. But does that matter though?

Is the show about honoring developers with well-earned awards; or is the show about getting people to watch an event put together by Geoff Keighley? Because the answer to that question will ultimately shape your thoughts about The Game Awards as a whole and whether or not their structure this year was good. This year, there was an insane number of layoffs in the video game industry, and just the tech industry in general. NPR recently reported that about 6,500 video game industry employees have been laid off this year. Whether or not you care about that issue, the fact that it wasn’t mentioned at the year’s premier event for honoring game developers is kind of crazy, when you actually take the time to think about it. Like imagine if they held a Veteran’s Day celebration and didn’t mention any of the veteran’s that died that year. I’m not saying that video game developers are on the same level as veterans. But the idea of holding an event for a specific group and then not mentioning tragic circumstances suffered by that group recently seems very callous and tone-deaf. At least if you think The Game Awards is actually about honoring game developers. If it’s just about getting views for an event, then not mentioning mass lay-offs makes perfect sense. Because it would bring down the positive vibe of the evening.

I think The Game Awards should focus on the developers and their awards. I still think they should completely cut some of the irrelevant awards like ‘Best Esports Team’. But most importantly, I think that the celebrities of the evening should be the developers. I do think there’s a place for performers/voice actors at the show. But they should not be the main focus of the show. And I certainly don’t think time should be given to some overrated hack who doesn’t even have any gameplay to show. The Game Awards isn’t, and shouldn’t be, Summer Games Fest, E3, or any other game reveal marketing event. We have those. In fact, we have several of them throughout the year. The Game Awards should be just that. An awards show focused on the contributions of game production companies and the games they create in a given year. Marketing dollars be damned.

XPG Terrence

Log in or sign up leave a comment