The Game Awards returns for 2020 on December 10th, but like every other awards show it will be a little different this year. Rather than being presented from a glitzy theatre venue packed with the great-and-good of the industry, the event will instead adapt to the prevailing pandemic conditions.
Of course, the event was always primarily an online one, with the blend of awards and exclusive trailers reaching 50m global viewers last year. And with E3 having been heavily disrupted this years in more ways than one, the Game Awards, with plenty of forewarning and coming off the back of the big console launches, is looking to be the biggest stage in town in 2020.
So rather than simply relocating to a smaller, emptier venue for 2020, Geoff Keighley and his team have instead taken the opportunity to go global. With three locations, Los Angeles, Tokyo and London, combining to provide what should be a night to remember.
We caught up with Keighley to discuss this year’s plans.
Why did you decide to switch to three locations?
I’ve always dreamed of hosting The Game Awards internationally. This year, since the world can’t fly to LA to attend the show, we thought we’d bring the show to the world. It felt like the right approach to have hub locations in North America, Europe and Asia. I’m tremendously excited about the possibilities.
Will you be gathering all the shortlisted nominees at one of the locations, or will they appear via Zoom etc?
Our plans are still taking shape, but we hope to have select guests appear live at each of our hub city locations under strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Nominees will join us via live link from their home locations. We are not planning to have a large gathering of people or live public audiences in any of our locations this year.
What are the challenges of hosting a live awards show digitally?
We’ve always streamed the show digitally, so the at home viewer experience won’t be any different: They can expect awards, world premieres, musical performances and a big celebration of gaming. The main challenge I’ve been thinking about a lot is how to capture the energy of the live crowd and bring that to the show. The good news there is that we have 5,000+ co-streamers across all the platforms that react to the news.
With the new consoles launching just a few weeks before the event, there’s intense interest in gaming at present, even beyond the usual community, so what are your audience expectations?
It’s a great question. I feel tremendous weight on my shoulders to deliver a show that celebrates the vital role this industry has played in entertaining the world in 2020. It’s certainly an exciting time for our industry. We’re working hard to have some great game announcements that showcase the forward momentum in 2021 and beyond.
It will be interesting to see how the event pans out, but there will undoubtedly be some big stories and big trailers launched on the night. Plus Keighley is continuing to explore the show’s ability to launch demos and the like, in order to instantly engage viewers with new content they can play, rather than just watch.