The Game Awards for 2018 delivered exciting announcements and celebrated the years best titles. An overall success, the show had elements that were both good and bad which contribute to the future direction of the gaming industry.
The list of celebrity presenters included the likes of Jonah Hill, Ninja, Hans Zimmer, and the Russo brothers, to name a few. Many of these famous faces are not typically associated with the gaming industry which validates the medium for a mainstream audience. Their presence alone also brings a new level of respect to gaming as an art form and not just a piece of entertainment property.
Unlike conventional award shows, The Game Awards have exclusive premieres for upcoming titles. The show had some big reveals this year including new releases from Supergiant Games and Obsidian Entertainment, a Crash Team Racing remake announcement, and trailers for new Far Cry and Dragon Age installments. With such high profile reveals, The Game Awards is becoming a close rival with conventions such as E3 which shows a shift towards appeasing the consumer as opposed corporate bodies.
Indie titles won awards and had their work broadcast to millions of people. This recognition put a spotlight on developers that would usually go unnoticed which is an exciting change for an industry that typically only rewards AAA developers.
Typically fierce rivals, the faces of PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo took to the stage to show that they are united to empower the gaming community. This display of cooperation indicates a movement away from corporate rivalry and marks the start of a new, pro-consumer era.
With the exception of eSports, winners are determined by a blended vote between the judging panel of 69 worldwide media outlets and fan votes. The votes of the judging panel account for 90% of the overall vote with fan votes accounting for the remaining 10%. By selecting the winners in this manner, games cannot socially engineer a win and instead receive accolades based upon the quality of the work.
The Game Awards more than doubled its viewing figures in 2018, jumping 128 percent for a total of 26.2 million streams. In 2017, The Game Awards tripled live viewership from the previous year to 11.5 million streams. Compare this figure to the Academy Awards of 2018 which saw a 20% decrease in live views to 26.5 million—only a 300,000 viewer difference to The Game Awards. If the show continues to grow at a similar rate, it will eclipse the Oscars and has the potential to become the most prominent award ceremony in the entertainment industry.
Advertisements are a necessary evil in the awards space but in the case of The Game Awards, they reduced the overall quality. The companies advertising during the awards were out of touch with consumers which alienates the audience and prevents it from growing.
The gaming community have always been highly vocal in online forums and The Game Awards were no exception. Negativity and trolling were common which creates an unpleasant viewing experience for everyone, and demonstrates the reality that gamers are unwelcoming which goes against everything good that The Game Awards is trying to build.
The Game Awards have the ability to become a prominent event in not just the gaming community, but the entire entertainment industry. Despite some minor mistakes, the 2018 awards represent an exciting change in the gaming community—a change that will see greater care for consumers, better coverage of Indie releases, and higher quality of releases of the best AAA franchises.