The Game Awards return with glitter and a muscle-affirming industry

LOS ANGELES – Wearing dazzling blazers and dresses, drinking cocktails, exchanging industry gossip and hanging out with some of Hollywoo...

LOS ANGELES – Wearing dazzling blazers and dresses, drinking cocktails, exchanging industry gossip and hanging out with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, the stars of the American video game industry gathered on Thursday night for a long-delayed meeting at the Game Awards.

The lavish event was sort of a victory ride for the video game community. While the movie industry has worried about ticket sales and cannibalization by streaming services like Netflix, the video game industry has experienced extraordinary growth during the pandemic. An estimated 2.9 billion people – more than one in three people on the planet – have played a video game this year, according to video game analytics company Newzoo.

Thursday’s awards were also a welcome opportunity for the industry to come together under one roof, as last year’s event took place online due to the pandemic. Gaming luminaries have arrived on the red carpet at the sprawling Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, joined by celebrities best known for their work in other entertainment industries.

Sting, the rock music icon, was backed by an orchestra as he opened the show with a rendition of the haunting song “What could Have Been” from the Netflix series “Arcane”, based on the hit video game “League of Legends.” Successful group Imagine Dragons performed “Enemy,” another song featured on “Arcane”.

Rapper and comedian Lil Dicky shared a few jokes in a video spot. Paul George, a basketball star who plays for the local Clippers, towered over the crowd. And there have been appearances – some in person and some via video – by TV and movie stars Will Arnett, Ming-Na Wen., Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves.

If you had chosen a cross theme, you would have been right. What if you got the feeling the Game Awards looked a bit like other very elaborate Los Angeles? entertainment awards events, you would also have been on the nose.

At the center of the game industry’s response to the Oscars was Geoff Keighley, the video game and TV personality who created and hosts the annual event, and who has tried, with seemingly endless reserves of energy and of enthusiasm, to lead an increasingly worried audience through more than three hours of awards shows and trailers for upcoming games, interspersed with music from the orchestra.

The show started in 2014 and has garnered millions of additional views each year on YouTube and Twitch. Last year’s fully remote version garnered 83 million live streams, organizers said, and Mr Keighley said after Thursday’s show that he expected more people to watch live. this year, although preliminary figures are not yet available.

The joy so evident on Mr. Keighley’s face came from a simple reason: Finally, after nearly two years of Zoom calls and virtual outings, the industry was once again in the same room. “I missed it,” he said in a post-show interview.

Many among the crowd wearing masks and by invitation only said they couldn’t believe the event was really happening.

“It’s great, but a little overwhelming,” Hannah Kennedy, a passing Twitch streamer benanssaid in the crowded hall after the show. “We’ve been in quarantine for so long, but it’s really nice to be able to date everyone again and see each other after two years.”

Over two dozen awards were given out in categories such as Best Action Game and Best Art Direction. Most prestigious title, Game of the Year, went to ‘It Takes Two’, a two-player puzzle adventure game developed by Hazelight Studios about a divorced married couple traveling in a fantasy world. .

Microsoft’s games division has won a number of awards, with “Age of Empires IV” winning best strategy game, “Halo Infinite” winning a fan award called the Voice of Gamers, and “Forza Horizon 5” a car racing game, winning three honors. “Deathloop”, a first-person shooter game developed by Arkane Studios, has also won numerous awards.

The winners were determined by a vote of industry insiders and the general public.

For many spectators, however, the awards were just a side spectacle. The Game Awards are also used by the industry to introduce new game announcements and first trailers for upcoming titles. If the public reaction is any indication, the fantasy game “Elden Ring” continues to be one of the most anticipated titles of the next year.

There has been an explosion in sales since the last time the video game world came together. New game consoles from Microsoft and Sony are in high demand and rare. Game publishers like Electronic Arts and Riot Games have achieved record revenues. And Roblox, an online game world popular with children, debuts on the stock market, surpassing a valuation of $ 45 billion on its first day of listing.

The increased interest of the general public in online worlds was also a validation for industry insiders and gamers who used the term “metaverse” years before Mark Zuckerberg decided that Facebook would change its name to Meta. Even Mr. Carrey, appearing at the awards show on a pre-recorded video, joked about it.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t have been there with you, but I can’t wait to meet all of your avatars in the Metaverse, where we can really get to know each other,” he said.

As the industry has grown, it has faced growing challenges, none more pressing Thursday night than dealing with its employees. A shadow has been cast over the event by the scandal that followed Activision Blizzard – the game publisher who was criticized for months afterwards a California lawsuit accusing him foster a work environment in which the abuse and harassment of women was rampant.

A handful of protesters stood with placards supporting Activision employees outside the theater on Thursday evening, and Mr Keighley was pressured ahead of the event to condemn the company.

He tweeted last week that Activision would not be part of the awards show, and he opened the event by stating that “game makers need to be supported by the companies that employ them.”

“We should not and will not tolerate any abuse, harassment and predatory practices,” Keighley said, although he did not mention Activision’s name. Rob Kostich, Chairman of Activision, is on the board of the Game Awards.

Ahead of the event, Mr Keighley said in an interview that he wanted to strike a balance between using his platform for good and keeping the mood for an awards show upbeat.

“Are we going to use our platform to publicly reprimand the companies inside the show?” It’s always something worth thinking about, “he said,” but it’s not an industry referendum. “

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Newsrust - US Top News: The Game Awards return with glitter and a muscle-affirming industry
The Game Awards return with glitter and a muscle-affirming industry
Newsrust - US Top News
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