The Game Awards this year is making its return as an in-person event following the last year being a little different due to the pandemic. Despite that, The Game Awards have only gotten more popular as viewership increases year after year. Last year, The Game Awards set a new global record with more than 83 million livestreams. This was an 84% increase from 2019. In a new interview, Geoff Keighley talks about that, what we can expect from the Game Awards this year, and more.
Talking about making the return to the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, Keighley said “some people have said to us, ‘Oh, it worked really well last year, why don’t you just do that again, and have everyone on Zoom and you don’t need to go back to the in-person event. I think we all felt that it was great that we did that, but we really missed the energy of people accepting their awards live and the reactions and all that type of stuff.” Despite the changes, Keighley said that one of the biggest things that they learned is how important games are to the show itself. “You know, it’s great to have celebrities, it’s great to have music, but I think focusing really on games is important,” he said. “Especially this year, there’ll be a lot of content for 2022 and 2023 that will be showing us our kind of biggest lineup yet of world premieres and announcements. What we really learned last year was at the end of the day, it really is the games and the trailers that drive the show.” Keighley says that the show may feature 40 to 50 games this year “someway or another.”
Talking about the announcements, Keighley says that the massive lineup might be due to the pandemic because of the way game development changed and the reduction of video game events. “I do think generally, that because of the pandemic, developers are late on their games, things are being delayed, there’s just a lot of churn, so I think we benefited in that we are kind of a big event that people know is happening, and it doesn’t require people physically flying anywhere to see. It’s definitely a very busy year in terms of the number of games we’re being pitched. We’re blessed that pretty much every developer and publisher wants to have some degree of content on the show.”
Keighley says that the show will be about half awards and half announcements and premieres. Some of these new announcements and premieres will be PS5 and Xbox Series X|S which Keighley says is very exciting. “I still feel like we’ve only kind of sort of touched the surface of what’s possible on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, so I think you’ll see some stuff in the show that is truly pretty stunning. We’ll see footage of games that will remind people that the best of this industry is still to come.” Keighley also talked about possibly seeing more from the world of traditional entertainment as well such as a television show or movie inspired by or recreating a video game. There have been a lot of video game-related projects that have been announced over the past few years.
Talking about how the show seems to get bigger and bigger in terms of viewership, Keighley believes that while it’s great to see, it’s not going to last. “You know, maybe if we hit 100 million that would be something, but yeah, I mean, we’re obviously not going to be doubling every year,” he said. “That’s not sustainable. But honestly, we don’t really think that much about the numbers. We just make the best show we can.”
In looking towards the future, Keighley is excited about how they can expand things further, especially with the emerging metaverse and seeing the show in virtual worlds.
“We’re really interested in the metaverse style of how people watch the show,” he said. “We’re starting to explore the idea of finding new ways to distribute it using games and game technology. That’s actually kind of our next platform, right? We’re a show about video games, so of course, we should be airing it inside of video games if we can. We’re thinking about what can we do in Fortnite Creative. What can we do in Core? So it’s early days with that stuff, but I do think in five years more people will watch our show or participate in our show from within a kind of real-time 3D environment than just watching a traditional video feed.”
One place Keighley doesn’t want to tackle is anything NFT related, which is starting to gain traction in the games industry for better or worse. “We’re not doing any NFT stuff,” Keighley said.
The Game Awards 2021 is set to take place on December 9, 2021, and can be viewed across more than 40 global video, social, and gaming platforms.