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The Gold Standard: 37 years of The Golden Joysticks

The Golden Joysticks are back for an incredible 37th consecutive year. Once again it will be an industry celebration of the greatest games of the year, as voted for by those who play them, the public. And those two aspects will be a big part of this year’s event, with a greater emphasis on the event’s massive legacy, and a public vote that has already outstripped last year’s big numbers.

MCV talks to GamesRadar+’s content director, Dan Dawkins, who is leading the organisation of this year’s event and will be the first person on the stage come the big day.

Pictured: Danny Wallace returns to host this year’s awards

These are the longest running game awards, how can you instil that sense of history into the event itself?

I think we’ve been slightly guilty of taking the show’s legacy for granted. There’s a new generation of developers and publishers who probably aren’t as familiar with the Golden Joystick Awards’ enduring appeal for the millions who vote each year. We’re doing a lot behind the scenes – particularly in the US – to celebrate the show’s legacy and talk about our plans for the future.

We’ll be diving deeper into the show’s 37 year history on gamesradar.com over the coming weeks and are looking at ways to incorporate the show’s legacy into this year’s event – for example, by inviting past winners to host an award, or through pre-recorded videos in the live stream. I’m fiercely proud of where the Joysticks has been, but even more excited for where it is headed.

What kind of audience do you get and how can partners benefit from that?

Every year without fail, we’re humbled by how the awards resonate with the millions of people worldwide who buy – and love – games. After only ten days of voting, we’ve already seen close to 1.5 million votes cast, a huge increase over last year, which shows yet again how passionate and engaged our audience is.

We really value the support of our partners, and it’s a great way to give back to the fans who support our industry. We love it when developers are able to take time out of their busy schedules in order to attend, and we love it when we can share new trailers to reward the viewing audience.

In a broader sense, our partners can also benefit from tapping into Future’s amazing – and growing – games portfolio, including PCGamer.com, Kotaku.co.uk, Edge magazine and Retro Gamer. Not to mention our host platform for voting, gamesradar.com, which is enjoying a record year of traffic with around 17 million users a month. More directly, I hope that our partners can benefit from attending the event in person, offering them the chance to meet other exciting publishers, developers and creators

Have you considered holding the event later in the day to make more of the US audience?

The awards ceremony is broadcast live at 4pm GMT / 11am EDT /  8am PDT, which we hope gives a broad section of the audience a chance to tune in.
We have discussed making the Golden Joystick Awards a UK-evening event, although this would change its current dynamic. As we evolve we might look at this again and would love to hear our partners’ feedback.

Are you keeping the late-voting system for the Ultimate Game award?

Yes, based on last year’s evidence, voters really seemed to engage with Ultimate Game of the Year running in its own voting week. The added bonus is that it allows us to nominate games that get released outside the traditional voting window, which ends on October 24th.

What I think we can make clearer, especially on our live stream, is that the Ultimate Game of the Year is voted for by the public. Some viewers were surprised at last year’s winner [Fortnite: Battle Royale took the trophy over Red Dead Redemption 2], but the winner was entirely voted for by the public.

We’ll be hoping to make that clearer, and I can’t stress enough how competitive voting can be. Last year, a few categories were decided by less than 20 votes, which shows that every vote can make a difference.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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