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The Game Awards is an annual awards ceremony honoring achievements in the video game industry. The shows are produced and hosted by Canadian games journalist Geoff Keighley who had worked on its predecessor, the Spike Video Game Awards, for over ten years.[1] The ceremonies also feature premieres of new games and in-depth looks at previously announced ones.

The Game Awards
The Game Awards.svg
Awarded forOutstanding achievements in the video game industry
LocationMicrosoft Theater
CountryUnited States
Hosted byGeoff Keighley
First awardedDecember 5, 2014; 5 years ago (2014-12-05)
Last awardedDecember 6, 2018; 11 months ago (2018-12-06)


In 1994, Geoff Keighley had been a part of the first televised awards show for video games, Cybermania '94: The Ultimate Gamer Awards. Keighley, as a teenager, had been brought on to help write material for the celebrity hosts such as William Shatner and Leslie Neilsen. The show was not considered successful, aimed more for comedy than celebration, but from it, Keighley had been prompted to develop something akin to the Academy Awards for video games later in his career.[2]

Keighley had subsequently worked on the Spike Video Game Awards (VGA), which ran from 2003 to 2013. The show was broadcast on Spike TV near the end of each calendar year, and was designed to honor video games released during that year. Keighley served as the producer and often host for these shows. In 2013, Spike opted to rename the awards from VGA to VGX as to reflect that they wanted to focus more on next-generation games that were being ushered in by the onset of the eighth generation of consoles, as well as bringing comedian Joel McHale to co-host alongside Keighley.[3] The 2013 show was considered to be disappointing and aimed as a more commercial work rather than a celebration of video game achievements.[4]

Keighley was disappointed with the change in tone that this show has presented.[2] He opted to drop out from further involvement in the VGX, allowing Spike to retain ownership of the property; in November 2014, Spike TV announced that they had opted to drop the awards show in its entirety.[5] Instead, Keighley worked with several entities within the industry, including console hardware manufacturers Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, and several large publishers, to financially back and craft a new awards show, the Game Awards, with Spike's blessing.[6] Keighley was able to secure space for hosting the live event. Without a broadcaster, Keighley and the other producers agreed to live stream the show on the consoles' networks and on Valve's Steam service to be able to reach a much larger audience than Spike TV previously had.[5] Since then, Keighley has been able to secure multiple streaming services around the globe for the show, which has been a move appreciated by several of the Game Awards' partners since the show's inception.[7] Keighley has been approached by broadcast networks offering to air the show, but he had refused these offers, allowing them to keep the freedom of how they present and structure the show.[8] The 2019 show will include a simulcast of the program to select Cinemark movie theaters in partnership with Sony.[9]

Keighley considered it important that the Game Awards presentation is aimed to favorably present the interest of gamers and of the industry, and to be welcoming to celebrities and others that have shown interest in video games.[7] While the Game Awards are principally an awards show, Keighley knew the importance of having additional content, having seen other experiments of video game awards shows that were only dedicated to awards fail due to lack of audience.[10] Keighley believed that the Game Awards should fall somewhere between the entertainment venues that are used for the Academy Awards, and the standard award presentation used for the Game Developers Choice Awards, and wanted a balance of material.[7] Through the Spike VGX and into the Game Awards, Keighley has engaged with developers and publishers to bring teaser trailers, sneak peeks, and reveals of upcoming games alongside the awards. He considers the crowning moment of this approach was being able to secure the first gameplay reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the 2014 Game Awards.[10] Keighly encourages developers and publishers to provide any content that might be deemed exciting or that can pique interest, even if these games are at an early stage of development, and then makes the selection of which games and trailers to feature.[10] Keighley subsequently works with those developers and publishers about how to best position their trailers to have the most impact; for example, in the 2018 show, he and Nintendo worked on a trailer reveal for a new fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that appeared to start as a teaser for a new Persona game, so that it would have the most dramatic impact.[11][12]

In conjunction with award presentations, several digital storefronts, such as Steam, Xbox Games Store, and PlayStation Store, offer the nominated games on sale leading up to and a few days after the event.[13] The statuette awarded to the selected games was designed by collaboration between Keighley and Weta Workshop. It is meant to represent "the evolution of the video game medium by way of an angel that ascends through digital building blocks".[14][15]


The Game Awards has an advisory committee which includes representatives from hardware manufacturers Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and AMD, and software publishers Electronic Arts, Activision, Rockstar Games, Ubisoft, Valve, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. This committee selects around thirty influential video game news organizations that will be able to nominate and subsequently vote on the video games in several categories. The advisory committee otherwise does not participate in the nomination or voting process. During the nomination round, each of the news outlets provides a list of games in several categories; games for the esports-related categories are chosen by a specific subset of these outlets. The committee compiles the nominations and selects the most-nominated titles for voting by these same outlets.[16] Prior to 2017, there were 28 industry experts and representatives that selected the winners, while the awards from 2017 onwards have used over 50 such experts.[17] In 2019, non-English media publications were added to the jury.[18] Winners are to be determined by a blended vote between the voting jury (90%) and public fan voting (10%) via social media.[19]

Ceremonies and winnersEdit

Event Date Game of the Year Venue Viewers
2014 December 5, 2014 Dragon Age: Inquisition The AXIS, Las Vegas, Nevada 1.9[20]
2015 December 3, 2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California 2.3[20]
2016 December 1, 2016 Overwatch 3.8[21]
2017 December 7, 2017 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 11.5[22]
2018 December 6, 2018 God of War 26.2[23]
2019 December 12, 2019 TBA TBA


  1. ^ Takahashi, Dean. "Geoff Keighley unveils The Game Awards 2014 to replace the VGAs". Venture Beat. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b Martens, Todd (December 6, 2017). "Geoff Keighley's lifelong obsession to create a video game Oscars". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  3. ^ Sarkar, Samit (November 15, 2013). "Spike Video Game Awards renamed VGX, set for Dec. 7". Polygon. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  4. ^ Good, Owen (December 8, 2013). "Gamers Care More About the VGX Than the Show Did. That's the Problem". Kotaku. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Graser, Marc (10 November 2014). "Videogame Industry Rallies Around First 'Game Awards'". Variety. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  6. ^ Schreier, Jason (November 10, 2014). "There's A Big New Game Award Show Happening This December". Kotaku. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Takahashi, Dean (December 6, 2017). "The Game Awards balances revelations, gamer culture, and celebrities". Venture Beat. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Valentine, Rebekah (December 6, 2018). "Seeing the past and future of gaming through The Game Awards". Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Spangler, Todd (November 14, 2019). "Game Awards 2019 to Play on 53 Cinemark Screens Alongside 'Jumanji: The Next Level'". Variety. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Schreier, Jason (November 30, 2017). "How Video Games' Biggest Award Show Comes Together". Kotaku. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  11. ^ Schreier, Jason (December 13, 2018). "How The Game Awards' Big Announcements Came Together". Kotaku. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  12. ^ Hester, Blake (December 11, 2018). "The making of The Game Awards 2018". Polygon. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  13. ^ Saed, Sherif (December 7, 2017). "Xbox One stealth sale has great prices on FIFA 18, Call of Duty: WW2, Shadow of War, much more". VG247. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  14. ^ "About the Game Awards". The Game Awards. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  15. ^ The Game Awards 2016 - Behind the Scenes at WETA!. The Game Awards. November 20, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  16. ^ "The Game Awards – Rules and Voting". The Game Awards. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  17. ^ Spangler, Todd (November 10, 2017). "2017 Game Awards Expands Distribution, Adds Fan Voting via Google Search, Twitter, Facebook". Variety. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  18. ^ "Voting Jury | The Game Awards". Voting Jury | The Game Awards. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  19. ^ "FAQ | The Game Awards". FAQ | The Game Awards. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Crecente, Brian (December 6, 2016). "The Game Awards audience up 65 percent to 3.8M". Polygon. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  21. ^ Crecente, Brian (December 6, 2016). "The Game Awards audience up 65 percent to 3.8M". Polygon. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  22. ^ Crecente, Brian (December 12, 2017). "The Game Awards Audience Triples to 11.5 Million Livestreams in 2017". Glixel. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  23. ^ Takahashi, Dean (December 12, 2018). "The Game Awards doubles viewership to 26 million livestreams". Venture Beat. Retrieved December 12, 2018.

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