Just over a decade ago, Spike TV aired its first Spike Video Game Awards and started an annual year-end tradition in the gaming community. The televised mainstream event has brought in celebrity hosts like Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson to host the awards each year, but the core gaming community has often been left underwhelmed.
The VGAs have been criticized on a yearly basis by gamers for being too watered down for the mass television audience. Much like similar complaints hurled at San Diego Comic-Con, the consensus is that the focus on celebrities and spectacle has overshadowed what the night should be all about: the games. Spike TV and parent-company Viacom have some big plans to switch things up this year and make sure the 2013 awards put fans, developers, and games in the spotlight.
VGX is the next generation of the VGAs and the goal is to evolve from an hour-long awards show to a day-long event filled with demos of upcoming games, interviews, new trailers, and unique acceptable videos. The new format will give the more enthusiastic fans three full hours of coverage tonight (starting at 6 pm ET) and the mainstream audience a chance to catch the highlights during the hour-long TV broadcast on Monday. In an interview with Polygon, the show’s executive producer and co-host, Geoff Keighley, believes the new format will offer both audiences what they are after.
“In the past, it’s always been this sort of forced marriage between what gamers want and what’s going to work as a big event, two-hour television show… We used to try and force these things together. This year we are trying to say we have the show for the core audience, which is the streaming show on Saturday, and then for the more mainstream viewers there is an hour television show you can watch on Spike on Monday which is going to give you the highlights. You may not want to see a ten minute demo from [Double Fine's Tim] Schafer on the livestream, but you might be interested in getting his news and seeing a minute of it on Monday.”
One of the most interesting ways that tonight’s coverage will take advantage of the extra two-hours is by allowing each winner to present their own acceptance video. Winners were informed in advance, so the creative team behind each honored game had the opportunity to prepare a digital acceptable speech of sorts. Most of these will likely be cut down (or all the way out) for Monday’s show, so be sure to watch the coverage tonight if you are interested.
The shift away from the typical VGA format is arriving in response to a decade of harsh community feedback. Most of the gaming community had likely assumed that Spike and Viacom were deaf to our cries for change, but it seems like the producers are at least attempting to find a compromise.
Will Monday’s show still put the focus on celebrities, advertising, and bad jokes instead of games and the people who bring them from the drawing board to our PCs and consoles? Most likely. But at least we’ll have tonight as an evening that is all about the core community.
Will you be tuning in this evening or waiting for the highlights on Monday? Check out the official site for a breakdown of tonight’s events.
Be sure to check back throughout the evening for our coverage on all of tonight’s biggest announcements and reveals from VGX.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.