In my previous article, I have already written on how and why I view the Game Awards as terrible. Now that the 2017 Game Awards have come to a close, I am reminded of the same problems that existed at previous years that continue to resurface year after year. While improvements have been made, there is still the same fundamental problems that exist at the Game Awards, being the awards themselves. It’s not the voting, it’s not how they are picked, and it’s not just the show. It’s that in a show called “The Game Awards,” the awards always come second to something else and the 2017 Game Awards have made that all the more apparent.

Presenting The Awards

One of the strangest things at the Game Awards this year (and past) is that some awards are given the center stage and others are not. During this year’s Game Awards as part of the “pre-show” the Trending Gamer awards was put on display, announced, awarded, and quickly moved past on a side stage that Geoff was presenting at. At this point in the show, there was still an entire 11 minutes before the supposed show was starting which for an award show, comes across a bit odd. One would think that at an award show, awards would be given away during the main portion of the show.

Not before or after.

Now, if the pre-show was to feature a certain set of awards that had some sort connection between them, this could potentially make sense. For example, if all the awards announced during the pre-show were all fan-voted awards only, this would make sense. But:

  • Trending Gamer
  • Best Score/Music
  • Best Mobile Game
  • Best Handheld Game
  • Best Sports/Racing Racing
  • Best VR/AR Game
  • Favorite Chinese Game

Unfortunately, these categories have no such consistency or pattern. What makes this scenario particularly worse, is that while some were given at least some spotlight (the first two in the list above), in that there was time actually set aside and graphics created to announce those awards while others were simply rattled through. The last six awards announced (see above) during the pre-show were announced to absolutely zero fanfare and done within 2 minutes of the Game Awards actually starting.

If a portion of the show is going to devalue certain awards over others, then what is the purpose of having them? Should not all awards be given at least the same basic level of appreciation to have their moment on the stage and in the limelight? If an awards show is to truly be an awards show, there should be the same basic level of excitement and festivities extended to each award. Some shouldn’t be pushed aside as lesser or not worth the time of the show itself.

The Announcements

While some awards were outright glossed over and others were given a small pre-show announcement, the bulk of the awards were given their moment on the stage. However, swiftly after an award was announced or being prepared to be announced, there was an actual game announcement that took the show. Typically, the Game Awards usually only have announcements that are smaller in scale, a new expansion, DLC, a special mode etc. But this year more than ever, we received actual full game announcements for big and small companies alike. These larger announcements had an inadvertent outcome, and that’s removing the interest from the awards themselves.

Announcing an award at the Game Awards may take around three minutes, but the announcements of some of the games themselves could be upwards of eight minutes.

This same scenario happened throughout the Game Awards (with one exception for the Industry Award). An award was announced, followed by a large announcement for a game, and rinse and repeat. Instead of having some nice announcements peppered into the Game Awards themselves, the large announcements made such a big splash and impact that they ended up overtaking the award show themselves. It’s hard to have awards compete when you’re having announcements like Bayonetta 3, Soul Calibur 6, and Death Stranding’s exciting but completely impossible to understand the video. So when it became a competition between what was more interesting, the awards or announcements, the obvious selection won: the announcements.

Do this for several times and you end up with a poor man’s E3. Where games are announced and content (in this case the awards) is simply placed between those announcements as filler. Again, creating another scenario where the awards have somehow become the detractions and not the main show is arguably where the Game Awards this year failed. It became a show about everything else besides the awards themselves.

The Game Awards this year was about announcements and it was about a few select awards over others. What it wasn’t about, was the actual awards that were presented and what they could potentially come to represent, and that’s a shame.