Fans want an experience, not an ad showcase.
2023 has been an amazing year for gaming fans. Games such as Baldur’s Gate 3, Super Mario Wonder, and Alan Wake 2 have broken the mold on just how good modern games can get. With that being said, gamers were once again disappointed at the 2023 Game Awards. Some believe that the showcase has turned into a massive advertising platform that does not reflect the opinions of the gamers who support the industry.
It was announced on December 12th 2023, that E3 will not be returning. This permanent cancelation shows the sentiments of many gamers regarding these platforms and how they represent the industry. For years, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has been the biggest annual event in the gaming industry. Held in Los Angeles each year, E3 provided a massive platform for game companies to showcase their upcoming titles, generate hype, and connect with fans.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything in 2020. E3 was canceled for the first time since its inception due to safety concerns surrounding the pandemic, and the event has been permanently canceled since then. With E3 out of the picture, the gaming industry has been left without its biggest annual platform for making key announcements and revealing new titles to the world.
The Game Awards have worked as a filler platform for this content. The Game Awards would straddle the line between an awards ceremony and an ad platform for the companies to discuss new releases. With E3 being out of the picture, The Game Awards had a chance to capture the hearts and minds of the gaming community. Unfortunately, in recent years the platform has become mainly a platform for gaming companies, as opposed to a platform for gaming fans.
This year’s The Game Awards is an embarrassing indictment of a segment of the industry desperate for validation via star power with little respect for the devs it’s supposedly honoring - Josh Sawyer
One major point of contention is that the gaming industry has been in hot water about how it treats the people who actually create their games. Sure, the new releases get a lot of screen time, as do the people who are there to promote the games. However, the game developers were only given about 30 seconds of stage time before being played off the stage so that more trailers could be shown.
This comes at a time when game studios are burning out game developers at an alarming rate. The treatment of these employees has been a hot topic for some time now. But it is even more relevant now that some studious have taken to laying off masses of employees shortly after releasing their games. Even active games, such as Destiny, are laying off huge portions of their staff while still continuing with large content release windows.
This issue is much bigger than just the tactlessness that was shown at this year’s Game Awards. Some gaming studios have shown that they prioritize profits over people in all regards. This not only harms the people who work for these companies but also the industry as a whole. There is a reason that so many of the games that are getting positive focus online are coming from indie studios.
Gamers are growing tired of large gaming studios that don’t seem to care about what kind of finished product they release, so long as it releases on time. If these studios don’t start respecting the people who create their games, as well as the people who buy them, they may be facing even more backlash in the future.
This all begs the question; do we even need awards shows at this point? In their current form, they don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of their fans, or honor the game creators. If we are going to continue these events into the following years, the people running the show may want to ask what the people watching want to see. Not just what kind of profit can be made from advertisements.