An “embarrassing indictment”: developers decry last nights The Game Awards ceremony


Last night, Geoff Keighley revealed dozens of trailers for upcoming video games, and interviewed some of his favourite celebrites and best palss from the games industry on stage. He also happened to hand out some awards to game developers. At his awards show. Titled The Game Awards.


Keighley’s show has always been a showcase first and a celebration second, but this year the gulf between the show’s name and function seemed egregiously wide. Numerous developers had their award speeches unceremoniously interrupted by a glaring autocue reading “Please wrap it up”, to make way for the next trailer or ad spot, while the recipients of the awards were often given less airtime than more prominent developers plugging their games, or celebrities wheeled out to present the awards, or even an actual muppet.


Alice has the full rundown on the needless farce of it all, but it isn’t just us cynical journalists who could smell something off. Several developers have recoiled at the show’s naked corporatism and disrespect for the craft. None more so than Josh Sawyer, director of the brilliant narrative mystery Pentiment. Airing his thoughts on X, Sawyer wrote. “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.”


Sawyer wasn’t the only developer who felt this year’s ceremony was dismissive of the developers it was allegedly created to celebrate. Replying to Sawyer’s tweet, Frontier’s senior tech writer Mags Donaldson highlighted a particularly grim example of what Sawyer was talking about. “Neil Newbon being told to wrap it up while talking about how his role has helped sexual assault survivors feel seen is…something.” Meanwhile, Former Vlambeer director Rami Ismail stated he had a “hard time reconciling playing Sam Lake off the stage after 30 seconds” with “having a many minutes-long Kojima bit that has literally nothing to show yet.”


Outside of individual developers questioning the merits of The Game Awards, there have since been several attempts to figure out just how much of the show was actually dedicated to handing out gongs to the industry’s best and brightest. One enterprising YouTuber who goes by the handle Bobby Wasabi had a go at crunching the numbers, concluding that 38 minutes were dedicated to either talking about or handing out awards. Wasabi doesn’t provide any context about how long the overall show was, however.

Fortunately, Raj Patel, marketing director for Hinterland Games (developers of the Long Dark) did provide that context. Posting on X, he writes “last nights awards show was three and a half hours (210 minutes long.)” Within that timeframe, Patel says the “total runtime of awards acceptance speeches (13 awards) just 12 minutes long”. Add another 4.5 minutes for the speed-run portions, and you’ve got a total of 16.5 minutes, which Patel points out is “less than 8%” of the total running time.


When just 8% of your awards show is given over to the people who the show is notionally about, it does rather call into question the whole enterprise. Exciting as it is to see what developing are cooking up for the future, this industry is forward-looking enough. There should be space to stop and recognise the work of the individuals who make games not just possible, but brilliant, and the dismissive attitude of this year’s show is a rather stark demonstration of how disposable developers are seen to be in the moneymaking maw of the games industry.


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