The Game Awards is an annual video game awards ceremony that was supposed to be a celebration of the industry’s developers, publishers, communities, and personalities. It’s opulent and luxurious aesthetic was meant to invoke the same sense of prestige and glamour as other award ceremonies, such as the Oscars. It was meant to break negative stereotypes about gamers and give the gaming community a legitimacy to the outsiders who still believe those stereotypes.
In this mission, The Game Awards has failed. I have watched year after year as the award ceremony became more and more of a joke, a meme if you will. I thought they couldn’t outdo themselves with last year’s embarrassment of a show, where one of their sponsors provided a brilliant mascot by the name of Schick Hydro Bot. The most common complaint, especially with last year’s show, was that there was too much advertising. The complaints didn’t fall on deaf ears as Geoff Keighley, the executive producer and host of The Game Awards, has responded to criticisms saying that it was all needed to fund the expensive production.
This year, it seems like The Game Awards decided to double down on all the things they’ve been criticized for in the past. There were so many advertisements this year, I forgot that I was watching an award show. I mean, there were back to back to back ads for the same fucking game. It’s one thing if you have World Premiere Exclusive trailers for upcoming games. It’s quite another thing when you are just running ads for Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo. It’s another thing when you are running ads for games that are already out during the show instead of commercials. It’s another thing when you are trying to hawk deals on hardware, DLC, Expansion packs, and sponsorships on to your viewers at every opportunity. They bumped several awards from the main show to the Pre-show in order to make room for their sponsorships.
While this might seem like an overreaction to an industry that is increasingly capitalizing on questionable monetization schemes, I assure you it’s not. What bothers me the most is that the team behind The Game Awards continues to say that this is a celebration for gamers, while giving more and more time to their paying sponsors rather than the community they pretend to be “celebrating”. I don’t watch award ceremonies to feel like a consumer, I watch them to see the hard-working people, responsible for the stories and experiences I love, receive some recognition for their passion. Add to that a lackluster lineup of live performances and messy interviews, you get the disaster that is The Game Awards. I think if The Game Awards wants to stop being the butt end of a joke, they need to take a long hard look at what exactly it is they are celebrating.
P.S. Thank God PUBG didn’t win Game of the Year.
During The Game Awards 2017, we were treated to such a bevy of amazing trailers such as the one below. No wonder we couldn’t fit The Trending Gamer Award on the show!