LOS ANGELES — Dressed in blazers and bright dresses, downing cocktails, swamping industry gossip, and bubbling up with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, the stars of America’s video game industry have a long-delayed reunion at the Game Awards on Thursday night gathered for
The grand event was a victory lap of sorts for the video game community. While the movie industry has fretted over ticket sales and cannibalism by streaming services like Netflix, the video game industry has enjoyed tremendous growth during the pandemic. According to video game analytics firm Newzoo, an estimated 2.9 billion people — more than one out of every three people on the planet — have played a video game this year.
Thursday’s awards were also a welcome opportunity for the industry to gather under one roof, as last year’s event was held online due to the pandemic. The gaming giant hit the red carpet at the sprawling Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, joining other celebrities well-known for their work in the entertainment industries.
Rock music icon, Sting was backed by an orchestra as he opened the show with a performance of the haunting song “What Can’t Been” from the Netflix series “Arcane”, which is based on the video game hit “League of Legends”. The hit band Imagine Dragons performed “Anime”, another song featured in “Arcane”.
Rapper and comedian Lil Dicky cracked some jokes in a video spot. Paul George, a basketball star who plays for the local Clippers, stands above the crowd. And there were appearances – some in person and some via video – by television and film stars Will Arnett, Ming-Na Wen., Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves.
If you were picking up a crossover theme, you would be right. And if you thought the Game Awards were like some other very elaborate Los Angeles entertainment rewards program, you would have been on the nose too.
At the heart of the gaming industry’s response to the Oscars was Geoff Keighley, the video game and television personality who created and hosted the annual event and who, with endless reserves of energy and enthusiasm, steered an increasingly ant audience through greater Tried. Three hours of award presentations and trailers for the upcoming games, interspersed with orchestral music.
The show debuted in 2014 and attracts millions more every year on YouTube and Twitch. Last year’s fully remote edition received 83 million live streams, according to organisers, and Mr Keighley said after Thursday’s show that he expects more people to watch live this year, although preliminary numbers are not yet available. Wasn’t.
The so obvious glee on Mr Keighley’s face stemmed from one simple reason: Finally, after nearly two years of Zoom calls and virtual hangouts, the industry was back together in the same room. “I missed it,” he said in an interview after the show.
Wearing a mask, many in the invitation-only crowd said they could not believe the event was actually taking place.
“It’s great, but a little overwhelming,” says Hannah Kennedy, a Twitch streamer who goes buns, said in the congested lobby after the show. “We’ve been in quarantine for so long, but it’s really nice to hang out with everyone again and see each other after two years.”
More than two dozen awards were given in categories like Best Action Game and Best Art Direction. The most coveted title, Game of the Year, went to “It Takes Two”, a two-player puzzle adventure game developed by Hazelight Studios about a married couple navigating a divorce and traveling through a fantasy world. Has been doing.
Microsoft’s gaming division brought home several awards, including “Age of Empires IV” winning best strategy game, “Halo Infinite” winning a fan award called Players’ Voice, and “Forza Horizon 5”, a car-racing game, took it home three honours. “Deathloop”, a first-person shooting game developed by Arkane Studios, also won several awards.
The winners were determined by votes from industry insiders and the general public.
For many, however, the prize was merely a sham. Game Awards are also used by the industry to introduce new game announcements and debut trailers for upcoming titles. If audience reaction is any indication, the fantasy game “Elden Ring” remains one of next year’s most anticipated titles.
Sales have exploded since the last time the video game world assembled. New game consoles from Microsoft and Sony have been in high demand and in short supply. Game publishers such as Electronic Arts and Riot Games have posted record revenue. and the world of popular online games among kids, Roblox, started on the stock exchange, on top of a valuation of $45 billion on its first day of trading.
The increased mainstream interest in the online world has also been a recognition for industry insiders and gamers who were using the term “metaverse” before Mark Zuckerberg made the decision. Facebook was going to change its name to Meta, Even Mr Carey, who was present at the awards show on a pre-recorded video, scoffed at it.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you, but I look forward to meeting all of your avatars in the Metaverse, where we can really get to know each other,” he said.
As the industry has grown, it has faced increasing challenges, no more pressing than Thursday night’s treatment of its employees. A shadow over the incident was clouded by the scandal of Activision Blizzard – the game publisher that has come under fire for months. a lawsuit from California alleging Promoting a workplace environment in which abuse and harassment of women was common.
A handful of protesters stood outside the theater on Thursday evening with signs supporting Activision employees, and Mr. Keighley faced pressure in the lead-up to the event to condemn the company.
She tweeted Last week that Activision would not be part of the awards show, and he began the event by saying that “game creators need to be supported by the companies that employ them.”
“We do not, and should not, tolerate any abuse, harassment and violent practices,” Mr. Keighley said, although he did not mention the activism by name. Rob Kostich, president of Activision, is on the board of advisors for the Game Awards.
Prior to the event, Mr. Keighley said in an interview that he wanted to strike a balance between using his platform for good and maintaining the upbeat atmosphere of an awards show.
“Are we going to use our platform to get companies to work inside the show publicly? It’s always worth thinking about,” he said, “but it’s not a referendum on the industry.”