between video game bankruptcy and biased selection

Geoff Keighley’s Game Awards ceremony is approaching. The list of nominations for each category has been announced and the process is raising questions more than ever.

Like every year, Geoff Keighley will host his Game Awards ceremony to reward some of the best games released this year. An event where there will probably be big announcements of highly anticipated video games, awkward advertisements for products that have nothing to do with video games and great moments of solitude on stage where we will probably try to break down the speeches of the few rewarded artists. But the 2023 edition already has some unpleasant surprises in store for us, which once again emphasizes that the Game Awards is just one ceremony among others, even if it is highly publicized. With its share of prejudices and problems.

An ‘indie’ game financed by a multinational

The organization announced the list of selected games per category on Monday, November 13. These again seem completely random. Among the categories we find that of “ indie games“which have been a particularly important part of creativity in video games since the mid-2000s. On the site we can read that this category rewards games:” for exceptional creative and technical achievement in a game created outside the traditional publishing system “.

Problem, among those mentioned, we find Dave the diver . This game is certainly one of the successes of the year, but it was developed and published by Mintroket, a subsidiary of the giant Nexon. It is therefore difficult to say that this game has been made” outside the traditional publishing system“. Conversely, and in a very unintuitive way, Baldur’s Gate 3 developed by Larian Studio and self-published using early access, could have fit the Game Awards definition. It would undoubtedly have been wiser if the organization had drawn up a definition based on the game’s development budget. Today, this is the meaning we give to the category of games that the Game Awards wanted to reward, even if they were created by industry giants published.

Another ‘indie’ category that contains a selection that raises a question: “ best debut indie game“. It should reward the first games developed by new studios. Among the nominees we find the game cocoon which is certainly the very first game from the Geometric Interactive studio, but which is mainly led by industry veteran Jeppe Carlsen to whom we have to thank Limbo Or Inside . So not really a beginner.

The selection was published before the deadline

With a ceremony taking place on December 7, it’s clear that the event can’t take into account every game released this year. More specifically, the FAQ on the official website indicates that the deadline for games eligible for the competition is Friday, November 17. However, the organization has already revealed this year’s mentioned games.

The ceremony therefore seems to mysteriously ignore games released between November 13 and 17 and go against its own rules. In 2022 this had already happened and the gamePenmentdeveloped by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Xbox Game Studios had paid the price.

Bungie could get an award for the work of a fired team

But the height of cynicism might come from the category ‘Best community support“. No, it is not the fact that it is sponsored by Discord, which already raises questions about a ceremony intended to be serious. Rather, among those nominated for the category “a game for its exceptional community support, transparency and responsiveness, including social media activity and game updates/patches“, we find a certain oneLot 2from Bungie.

The problem is that the studio in question just announced over a hundred layoffs. Among the teams most affected? Those concerned with community relations and social networking. In other words, Bungie could be rewarded on December 7 for the work of a team the studio firedmilitarya few weeks ago. We wonder what the acceptance speech might look like.

A ceremony in a very gloomy context

We get to what makes people cringe anyway. The Game Awards come in a particularly bleak year for the video game industry, which has seen thousands of workers lose their jobs. To the point where a site is now dedicated to reporting every announcement of economic layoffs by a studio or publisher.

On the sidelines of the Game Awards nominees, Amazon announced the layoffs of 180 positions in its Amazon Gaming business, after laying off 100 employees from the same team earlier this year. Geoff Keighley didn’t have the guts to propose a category for the best video game publisher this year.

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