So this last weekend we saw the latest incarnation of the Spike TV Video Game Awards now known simply as the VGX’s… but why the change and should we care?
The name change in itself is a bit of an anomaly that points to a wider issue at heart here. Up until this year it was simply known as the VGA’s (Video Game Awards) which made perfect sense but they’ve now decided to change it to the VGX’s to highlight the next generation of video game awards…
Does that make sense? No of course not, it’s a ridiculous change just to try and make the name sound more hip and happening to try and stay relevant in this ever changing world. However if the way to stay relevant was to change names I think the Academy Awards and Grammy’s would be dead by now.
No unfortunately this name change points to a deeper problem in the make up of GameTrailers and the VGA’s. According to a post on reddit by someone claiming to be a previous employee of both GameTrailers and Spike the problem really is that their holding company, Viacom, is only worried about the views on GameTrailers and see themselves as a direct competitor to YouTube.
So to distinguish themselves from YouTube they invented an awards show which is nothing more than a large marketing attempt for their own properties.
The VGAs are really to promote GameTrailers, a site Viacom has spent a lot of money on and is probably going to wind up killing sooner rather than later. The short of it is that Viacom had to demonstrate to publishers that there was a compelling reason to not just post everything on YouTube. They haven’t done that.
When discussing the name change he is a little more direct with his feelings
The VGAs this year had the rank stench of executive piss about them, to be honest, starting with the name change: I know the staff there still and VGX is definitely an order from on high. They can be cheesy but they wouldn’t do something like that voluntarily. I’d lay down money McHale was a last-minute addition to the show and that neither he nor GT wanted him on there. The budget cuts, again, classic Viacom executive: I guarantee that the new guy just cut the budget in half and sent it back with a note saying “Do Better.”
In reality the problem here is that a media conglomerate is attempting to control an awards show that showcases brand new and exciting games to the public. The problem is that these same games are published by companies who advertise on GameTrailers which simply means that there is no way they can be impartial and that makes the entire show a disaster waiting to happen.
Look at the host this year, once again instead of looking inside the industry they decided to hire Joel McHale who without being overly harsh, is a middle of the road actor who’s top awards are from the EWwy Awards.
In reality we should be seeing gaming veterans, insiders or even gaming media like IGN’s Greg Miller or ex-Destructoid editor, Jim Sterling, taking the reigns. Someone who really knows what is going on and can truly ask the real questions in the so-called interviews.
If GameTrailers real goal is to be the number one site for video game trailers and previews then they are obviously failing and when you are failing and are owned by a corporate monolith there is no light at the end of the tunnel. When they one day decide to stop propping the site up it will disappear and with it so will the award show.
Hopefully when that happens someone in the industry, not the media, will start a true awards show aimed at gaming. PEGI are actually in a good place in Europe to do just that.
So how do you feel about it all? Did you stay up late to watch the event live or are you happy just watching the YouTube embeds of all the trailers and demos on the Internet this morning?
Last Updated: December 9, 2013