The Game Awards 2016 announces that it will become the first live awards show broadcast on Twitter as well as the first to air live in virtual reality.
The Game Awards are always events that have been designed not just to commemorate the year's biggest achievements in gaming, but to also celebrate and discuss the elements of video games that make the industry unique. When The Witcher 3 won Game of the Year over Fallout 4 last year, the Game Awards 2015 had fans of gaming everywhere suddenly engaged in a productive debate over the elements of open world gaming they find most appealing - a useful conversation not just for the players themselves, but for developers looking to improve on their past successes.
While it hadn't officially been revealed yet, the date for The Game Awards 2016 was already one many fans had been keeping an eye on due to rumors about a potential virtual reality broadcast that leaked from an advertisement at E3 this year. Now, GameSlice, the company behind The Game Awards has announced that the rumor was indeed true, and The Game Awards 2016 will be broadcast live on VR via NextVR. GameSlice also announced it would be breaking even more new ground by livestreaming the event on Twitter as well. Geoff Keighley, the creator and producer of The Game Awards, commented further:
"For 2016 we will expand our all-digital, no-friction path to global distribution through partnerships that include the first live awards show broadcast on Twitter, an initiative with Tencent to bring The Game Awards live to China, and our innovative, first-of-its-kind live VR broadcast with NextVR."
NextVR is an app that is downloadable on VR devices that allows them to access virtual reality broadcasts for live-action content. The partnership will see VR camera rigs placed throughout the Microsoft Theater in an effort to give users multiple vantage points through which to watch the awards ceremony. While the technology is certainly the next step in live broadcasting, it will be interesting to see viewership figures for the event after it occurs - many gamers have maintained that VR is too expensive, and it's possible that sentiment might provide a roadblock for VR streams for now.
The Game Awards 2016 will also be the first live awards show broadcast on Twitter. GameSlice announced that it plans to incorporate live Twitter comments on breaking news and the results of Twitter user polls into the broadcast in an effort to make the event a shared user experience.
Whether or not the VR broadcast attracts many viewers, The Game Awards 2016 is likely the first of many such events that will attempt to capitalize on the new technology. Interestingly enough, despite VR tech being a central focus of The Game Awards 2016 broadcast, it seems unlikely at this point that there will be many VR games in 2016 to choose from in the way of awards - a situation that will likely come up once or twice in the live Twitter discussion about the show.
The Game Awards 2016 will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on December 1, 2016.