Oct 31, 2013
As our beloved industry continues to grow, it is important for developers to receive the recognition they deserve for the great content they produce. As gaming’s popularity increases, the push for video game awards to go mainstream will help to pull in a larger audience to appreciate gaming, as well as alleviating some of the negative pressure that has been thrown its way by the press.
Despite being larger than both the music and film industries, video gaming award ceremonies seem to go by under the radar when compared with film and television awards, which makes them feel slightly less celebrated. This could probably be partly due to the fact award ceremonies for TV, film and music have the celebrity personas that attend which are more recognised in the public eye, whereas Gaming innovators such as Gabe Newell and Ken Levine are only really recognised by those who actively following the gaming industry.
Video Game Awards are of course essential for recognising the efforts put into the biggest releases and titles, but it is also of utmost importance for smaller companies and indie developers. Indie titles are often limited by their finances, which impacts how much time and energy can be put into a new title. Although particular restraints and limitations can be beneficial to creativity, additional finances will still go a long way. For example, if an indie developer receives an award for their endeavors, the extra publicity and acknowledgement can help generate extra revenue, which can then be invested back into the company to help produce new content. In addition to this, it may help to develop greater interest and financial backing from Kickstarter projects. With these additional investments, there is no reason why an indie developer couldn’t produce something even greater.
It is highly important for the gaming scene to grab the public eye for its genuine achievements rather than the negativity it always seems to attract. Great games should be celebrated and revered, but gaming still unfortunately has a negative stigma attached to it that gets exploited and blown up in the press. By making gaming awards more widely known and respected by non-gamers, it would be taking a great step towards relieving the negative prejudice that has developed over the years.
In light of this, it is great to see that the 2014 Video Game BAFTAs are open to the public. Furthermore, the event will be hosted by a widely recognised and popular comedian, Dara O’Briain, who also hosted the event since 2009. Although it would be hard to imagine crowds flocking outside the venue, having waiting days for their favourite gaming personalities to surface, by opening it to the general public it still remains a decent gateway to get more people involved in the gaming scene. Truthfully, non-gaming folks will probably not attend, but it still may generate an intrigue for gaming that wasn’t previously there.
It seems fitting that the 2013 Video Game BAFTAs were live-streamed on Twitch.tv, which is becoming (if not already has) an essential tool for the gaming industry as it continues to grow. Presumably the 2014 Video Game BAFTAs will be live-streamed online, but if it could acquire a slot on national television, similar to how the TV/Film BAFTAs are, it would be a great achievement and big step towards making video games and their achievements more mainstream. It would also help to increase video games reputation in the entertainment industry as a whole, as it still is perceived as “less important” in comparison to film or music.
Furthermore, as games have evolved to allow for more narrative and cinematically driven titles, we may see more awards and acknowledgement for the voice over artists and actors involved in bringing the characters to life in games, more so than is already on offer.
Beyond: Two Souls is a fantastic example of this. Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page are huge Hollywood actors, and having two big names enter the gaming scene could help pave the way for other well-known actors to consider working on the next blockbuster gaming titles that blends the growing narrative/film/gaming genre. Instead of an actor reprising a role from a film, then recording content for the gaming title (based on a carbon-copy of the film), It allows the actors to physically take ownership of the role, just as they would on a film set. It is worth noting that should more big names from TV and film shift their interest towards the gaming industry, they may also bring their fanbase with them.
However, despite how great it would be to see more big names from film enter the gaming scene, it is important that developers do not neglect the talents that are already in the industry. It is worth noting that Dave Fennoy and Melissa Hutchinson, who voiced Lee Everett and Clementine in Telltale Games The Walking Dead, were both nominated for “Best Male/Female Performance” in the Spike Video Game awards, of which Hutchinson won. Their voice acting performances are just as important to the gaming industry than those of the Hollywood greats are to film.
The gaming industry is unfortunately plagued by negative press, which does little to help demonstrate its great achievements to a wider audience made throughout the years. However, video game awards are a major help to generate positive publicity, all which help to showcase the greatness and prosperity that the industry can produce. It should be celebrated, giving praise and recognition to all the hard work and energy that goes into making some of our favourite past-times.