The Spike TV Video Game Awards represent everything that is wrong with the video game industry. This is a bold statement, I know. Of course I personally wasn’t expecting a deep or though-provoking look at the medium, but at least it would have been nice to see that the awards weren’t just a popularity contest. Unfortunately, this has been happening for a few years now and besides some journalists, nobody is really complaining about it. There’s nothing serious about them, therefore they shouldn’t be taken seriously. The awards themselves don’t really mean anything and if you were hoping that the VGAs were going to be the Oscars for the video game industry, well… forget about that.
The video game industry has been growing dramatically for the past few years and it definitely seems like this trend is going to continue for many years to come. I guess a show like this was to be expected and at the same time, it’s really hard to find something that may be appealing to both the gaming audience and the mass audience. I also think that many people who enjoy playing video games may find a show like this quite entertaining, especially as there were some interesting announcements and a couple of trailers of upcoming titles, but I still believe that the award show format is woefully inadequate. Additionally, the marketing-driven approach is extremely obvious and I’m pretty sure most companies are probably more than happy to create brand-awareness about titles that are going to be released next year.
The fact that the event shows trailers is probably one of its best parts, as this doesn’t really happen in any other similar award show. It’s not the same to look a trailer of Diablo III or Tony Hawk HD at the VGAs that doing so at another news website or to learn of the existence of new games in a press release. Additionally, independent games have become a huge part of the show and this demonstrates how much the industry is really changing, especially as a few years ago (probably prior to the release of platforms like Steam) it would have been impossible to think that indie releases were going to become such a huge part of the medium.
I don’t want to be one of those people who write a long article describing how the show should be completely different in order to be more appealing or meaningful to the video game industry. What I do think is that the VGAs try to capture the attention of both the gaming audience and the mass audience, but fail miserably for they treat both with disrespect. Interestingly enough, many people seem to embrace the idea of an award show where the awards seem to be the least important thing about the event. Finally, it should be noted that ratings have been growing steadily for the past few years. In conclusion, don’t expect changes any time soon.