As someone who has covered videogames as an industry since 2002 off and on for the past two decades – big corporate events and spectacles are something I’ve seen morph from being laser focused on single titles accessible to a select few to livestreamed “events” that draw millions of eyeballs waiting for the next big trailer or reveal. With E3 dead and over The Game Awards have since taken the place as the premiere space for “world reveals” and preplanned P.R campaigns.
It is no secret that the The Game Awards are primarily a platform for upcoming games and surprise announcements to enter the cultural now and become “THE THING” people are sure to talk about for the foreseeable future. Although “Awards” are in the name, the awards are simply a formality- a justification for the spectacle without challenging establishment or up-lifting marginalized communities or even the people who made the games the awards are supposed to be centred on.
Burback’s “The Dark History of The Game Awards” is a thoughtful look into the history of TGA and how it came to be.
The Spike Video Games Awards (the precursor to the The Videogame Awards) literally had the US Military as sponsor in the 2000s. Multiple incidents in recent years have occurred where unexpected people have made their way onto the stage during a live broadcast. This includes YouTubers known for various stunts making right wing dog-whistle soundbites into the microphone, broadcast to millions of viewers. People within the community have speculated that it is possible that the US Military were providing either security directly or consulting on improving security that already existed.
2023’s rendition of The Video Game Awards felt rushed or “off” compared to other year’s offerings. It is expected that the reveal trailers for new titles will be light on details, probably under two minutes and are sometimes just pre-rendered visualizations created by external CGI companies. Those reveals were certainly present but even the select few developers or studio heads who stand next to Geoff Keighley seemed rushed. Whether it is to ensure security breaches like previous years don’t occur, or simply to fit more advertisements and potentially paid promotional placements into the program – it detracted from the very celebration the TGA claims itself to be.
2023 has seen the raised awareness of the actual genocides by Israel’s killing of Palestinians in the thousands in the last few months alone. There are much more important things happening around the world then what surprise announcements were pre-planned for TGA. Not to mention the really shitty things happening in the gaming space. Like massive layoffs continue throughout the Tech industry and gaming industry as a whole that treat talented people as disposable while taking in massive profits.
@Kayin’s excellently written blog post on Cohost (and Metroplex System’s response) points correctly points out that as an award show TGA fails to even celebrate a small amount of people who pour their lives into the creation of the games that we enjoy. I highly recommend the post, it is worth a read.