The 2023 Game Awards broke viewership records but faced criticism from some developers over its focus on celebrities and marketing reveals rather than the awards themselves. Held on December 8 and hosted by Geoff Keighley, the nearly three-hour show awarded Game of the Year to Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate 3 while showcasing over 30 upcoming games.
Awards Overshadowed by Reveals
In his opening monologue, Keighley stated that video games “have the power to connect our divided world.” However, many developers felt disconnected by an award show that appeared to prioritize marketability over creative recognition.
The awards themselves were squeezed in-between celebrity presenters like actor Timothée Chalamet and over 30 game announcements or updates. Reveals included Hideo Kojima’s new game Death Stranding 2 starring Elle Fanning and a 2024 release date for Marvel’s Blade from former Sony Santa Monica Studio head Shannon Studstill.
Such high profile reveals seemingly overshadowed and rushed the awards, drawing criticism from developers:
“It’s supposed to be an award show, not a marketing event. It’s disrespectful.”
With 30 seconds for acceptance speeches, winners were swiftly cut off by production cues. However, Keighley claimed speeches were just “guidelines” and no one was forced offstage, also stating budgets limited speech time versus more world premieres.
Table 1. Select Game Awards 2023 Winners
|Game of the Year
|Baldur’s Gate 3
|God of War Ragnarök
|Best Art Direction
|Manon Gage, Immortality
Full winners can be viewed here.
Record Numbers Counter Criticisms
The Game Awards 2023 set viewership records according to Keighley, who tweeted the show surpassed 120 billion minutes watched across digital channels and linear broadcasts globally.
The show also trended atop YouTube and Twitter worldwide for hours. Such high engagement counters developer criticisms that viewers only care about reveals.
However, the prominence of celebrities and premieres does indicate the event leans heavily on star power and hype to drive viewership over celebrating creative achievements. The focus spurred questions over whether The Game Awards should reinvent its identity from an “Oscars-like” celebration into an announcement event.
What’s Next for the Game Awards?
With accusations of prioritizing celebrities and marketing over developers and awards, Keighley faces pressures to alter the show’s format for next year. Potential changes include:
- Longer acceptance speeches and scheduling them between rather than alongside premieres
- Spotlights on developers along with new games to better represent the industry’s creators
- Separating the awards from a summer announcement event to rightly celebrate accomplishments
However Keighley responds, developers hope to regain prominence at an event bearing their craft’s name. Striking the right balance between creativity and commercialization will shape the Game Awards’ futureReception.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.