The Game Awards 2023 was little more than an overproduced and glorified commercial reel, with little time dedicated to truly celebrating the medium.
Here’s the thing: I really want to like The Game Awards! I think that from a purely conceptual point of view, Geoff Keighley’s “Gaming Oscars” could be an interesting way to celebrate the most notable talents in the video game industry and give some legitimacy to a medium that still struggles to be taken seriously by anyone not involved in the video game industry. he. But the 2023 Game Awards were decidedly not that.
Instead, Keighley’s plan to attract more viewers with game announcements and world premieres turned the series into a mini-E3, with the actual awards feeling more like an afterthought. When less than a third of your rewards have rewards to show for it, it’s even difficult to call it an awards ceremony! But I’m not convinced Keighley and his team have any interest in solving the problem, given how insensitive the 2023 awards have been overall:
For those curious, Game Awards winners have 30 seconds for their acceptance speech before a “Please conclude” sign starts flashing.
– Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) December 8, 2023
Eiji Aonuma, legendary director of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, is told to “Please conclude” @thegameawards https://t.co/6CIcjQUV4b pic.twitter.com/za7jYgK0EV
– Javiera Cordero PS (@javierabegazo) December 8, 2023
Pressuring your award winners to leave the stage after 30 seconds with passive-aggressive teleprompters and music cues, just to buy more time for trailers and commercials, is a pretty bad impression overall. Then again, it’s easy to forget that you’re watching an awards ceremony when 30 minutes have passed since the last award was handed out. At least until Geoff reappears on screen, quickly running down a list of nominees and winners, and the show then cuts back to more trailer footage.
I’m having weird vibes this year #TheGameAwards
Earn 5 very important rewards in a row. Meanwhile, Kojima spends over 10 minutes talking about a game that has no footage whatsoever.
No mention of the more than 7,000 game developers who were laid off.
– Kolbe Payne (@kolbepayne) December 8, 2023
Surely we could have spent more time on the awards portion of the show? Maybe by removing a few trailers or ad reels? I mean, Geoff certainly gave his favorite game designer Hideo Kojima as much time as he needed to announce his next game. And what about Hollywood celebrity appearances? Surely these should be less important than the actual developers whose work we were supposed to celebrate here?
(Gonzo excluded, of course he can stay.)
Even Gonzo couldn’t save this one
The Game Awards’ identity crisis was already noticeable in previous years, but it was especially irritating to watch in 2023. Why am I supposed to care about the awards when even Keighley himself doesn’t seem to, to the point of treat them like a boring obligation. to fit in between commercial breaks? All of this makes it seem like he doesn’t really respect video games and the people who make them.
In their current state, The Game Awards are a terrible viewing experience and an insult to the industry as a whole. If Geoff wants to host the next E3 replacement, he’s welcome to do so as far as I’m concerned. But not if it devalues and dismisses game developers in the process.
But obviously Geoff’s formula allows him to reach the number of viewers he wants to see, so barring a significant industry backlash, I don’t expect the show’s imperfect format to changes anytime soon.
More content from The Game Awards: