Would you follow The Game Awards if they removed the ads?

Would you follow The Game Awards if they removed the ads?

There is a very specific feeling that has transpired during these The Game Awards: despite the usual dose of nominations and nominations, we could not help but notice how much space has been given to trailers and announcements of all kinds, as for Star Wars Eclipse , Alan Wake 2 or even Sonic Frontiers. Don't get me wrong, we really enjoyed all the reveals and without a doubt we can't deny that Geoff Keighley's show has now become particularly important in the gaming industry. However, the event has gotten closer and closer to something like E3 in Los Angeles and is progressively moving away from what it should be.

The Game Awards 2021 were held on the night between 9 and December 10, from 2:00 to 5:00 in the morning. We were surprised by two elements that made up these three hours of live streaming: the amount of very thick ads and the time bound to the actual awarding of the different categories, components of the show whose importance seems to become increasingly inversely proportional. Previously, the TGAs had already shown that they wanted to give publishers as much space to reveal or return to show games they are working on, but now the gap with the actual "Awards" has become much greater.

A a clear example is the aforementioned amount of announcements, but to be particularly explanatory, in our opinion, is the speed with which the presenters announced some winners for the categories. Some were even performed in "burst", in small clips of the live that lasted a few minutes at the most and completely eliminating the importance that those categories had in front of everything else. Remember who won the Best Audio Design award? If not, it's because you missed it during the pre-show, when the announcers presented the Forza Horizon 5 victory.

Faced with an increasingly lesser importance of the awards, which are even extrapolated from the actual live broadcast, we asked ourselves an essential question, which summarizes in a few words not so much what the TGAs are becoming but what is the their image in the eyes of us viewers: would we continue to follow The Game Awards if no announcements of any kind were made? To answer, we need to understand what Geoff Keighley's show is today based on how it has changed over the years.

The latest edition was, let's be honest, a live one along the lines of E3 or Gamescom and that it had nothing to do with the awarding of the titles. The Game Awards have become a perfect medium for the marketing strategies of large publishers and everyone wants a piece of it (excluding Nintendo, which was particularly absent this year). The increasing importance of the event has increased both the interest of the players - consumers - and of the big companies that can no longer deny its relevance in the industry.

The mechanism that has been created is that , in wanting to please everyone, the TGA organization inevitably found itself forced to manage the times better, taking away space for the awards. In past years we had already begun to notice this trend, but with the 2021 edition we were able to see with our own eyes the realization of the change in the event. For this reason, taking up the question we asked ourselves, it is really difficult now to imagine The Game Awards without announcements of any kind. What would remain if we removed the trailers and teasers, the free demos, the discounted games, the now very false and paradoxically sought after World Premiere?

We tell you: the TGAs would remain a show lasting up to one hour in which the spaces available in the lineup would be bound to the award ceremonies, speeches by leading exponents of the industry and, why not, the wonderful orchestra of the Game Awards. We are honest with you when we tell you that it wouldn't be bad either, as long as the cultural value of the gaming medium is maintained. However, we must also recognize that such an event, where publishers cannot invest their funds to push their games in development by the media, is by no means "salable".

While TGAs need to be able to exist without advertisements, on the other hand it is their presence that perseveres their existence and guarantees an ever-increasing number of spectators. So no, no one would follow The Game Awards without the announcements, or at least the audience would drop dramatically, thereby reducing the importance of the event in our industry. In short, it seems quite evident that we have reached a dead end where the existence of the trailers undermines the value of the awards from which the show takes its name, but which at the same time is essential for its survival in the coming years.

Clearly, many of you will be thinking that to solve the problem it would be enough to limit publishers the possibility of sharing trailers on the stage put up by Keighley, perhaps leaving space only for big companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo that instead have the possibility to show more you play in a single slot. However, extending the duration of the event could also be an effective solution, so that we can give the same importance to both the awards and the much loved World Premiere.

We believe that a good way to better manage the content of the TGA is to split the show into two different events, keeping The Game Awards as a real award ceremony for the best games of the year and creating a parallel format, which could also be broadcast the day before, dedicated exclusively to announcements. After all, Keighley already manages the Summer Game Fest, which in fact serves to give space to publishers during the summer period and which again this year has proven to become more and more relevant.

What we know for sure is that a solution exists and must be decided. The Game Awards are meant to be a celebration of games, for both users and developers around the world, but this year was the furthest thing from that definition. We remember the glorious 2017 edition, which opened with the incredible orchestra that played the memorable songs of the most important titles of those years, from Persona 5 to The Last of Us, from The Witcher 3 to The Legend of Zelda. That was a real celebration of the medium, who deserves to be honored, especially in such a difficult year for industrial workers around the world. We'll see if Keighley figures out what's going wrong, hoping he doesn't get dazzled by those ever-increasing numbers.

The 2020 Game Awards winner was The Last of Us: Part 2, available now on Amazon with a interesting discount.

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