The seventh edition of the annual Game Awards is set for an all-digital, live-streamed event on Dec. 10.
Created and curated by video game journalist Geoff Keighley, the award show — which saw nearly 50 million live streams last year — has been adapted from the traditional physical event to a digital one due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that limits in-person gatherings.
Airing live in 4K from studio locations in Los Angeles, Tokyo and London, the show will continue to celebrate video game culture with world premieres, announcements and musical performances, in addition to handing out honors to prominent and up-and-coming game developers.
“I think the big opportunity that it presents to us is being a little bit more global in our rollout of the show, so normally the world comes to Los Angeles for the game awards physical event, and now we’re really taking the show to the world and being able to connect with more people and more places,” Keighley tells The Hollywood Reporter. He goes on to say that it’s always been his dream to do The Game Awards somewhere else in the world. “Tokyo is a a huge area for game development, Europe’s really important, and we’ve never been able to do that just because of logistics.”
Keighley, who was able to give the digital format a test-run with the European trade fair Gamescom last month — complete with COVID-19 safety protocols — acknowledges that the physical event and the 5,000 fans in the Game Awards audience is something that will be missed this year, “but even that, there’s 5,000 people that co-stream the show on Twitch and YouTube and share their audiences and do react videos, so that already exists digitally, we’re just going to lean a little bit more into the community around the show.”
Viewers of the event will be able to interact through social media and in-game experiences, details of which will be revealed in coming weeks. “It was really important to me that we did a live show, and not something that was pre-recorded, because the magic of winning these awards live and the reactions — I would never want to do anything to disrupt that,” says Keighley, who has been doing mass Zoom calls with game fans from around the world, in addition to running the Summer Game Fest for the last several months.
“Our show has always been driven by the community, and we recognize gamers actually in the show — we have a content creator of the year award — creators are part of the gaming ecosystem and they really bring these games to life,” he says.
This year will offer a new award, the innovation in accessibility honor, which recognizes software or hardware developers who are pushing the medium forward with new features, technology advancements and content creation.
The Game Awards are executive produced by Keighley and Kimmie Kim, with LeRoy Bennett serving as creative director for the sixth year running.
“What I’ve found is that the community really cares about this show and how it represents the industry, and there are lots of award shows out there for lots of mediums, but The Game Awards is so unique,” says Keighley. “With that comes an obligation to really represent this industry in the right way, to the broader world. It’s always been a passion of mine to build this show and represent how big games really are.”