The VGX was Viacom’s experiment in awards shows

10 Dec 2013  by   Paul Younger
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Look! I can take a joke McHale. Just now’s not the time OK? Oh, and AwESOME

Social media was buzzing following Saturday night’s Spike VGX awards which was to be expected. It had its moments of being complete car crash TV to sublime game demonstrations.

Much of the chatter has been around the chemistry between Geoff Keighley and co-host Joel McHale which had some really funny moments, mainly because Keighly was unprepared for the ribbing he was about to get. Why as Geoff wearing seventy nine million layers of clothing? A perfectly valid question I think.

Interestingly enough the three hour show was an “experiment” according to comments made to Kotaku prior to start of the streaming show.  This was a new way to present an awards show without the glitz and glamour of a big theatre and useless celebrities proclaiming their love of videogames.

The show was  a  “bigger picture experiment on broadening out the reach”, according to Casey Patterson vice president of event production at Viacom. “When you think about the big picture of this and the way people are consuming, that they are willing to consume media in so many different places in so many different ways, I think that this is an organic step. I think we all know TV everywhere and interactivity is the future. At some point we all have to be brave enough to take the first step into the new world. And there is no audience more pre-disposed to interacting with their content and watching it on all of these different platforms and devices then gamers.”

She is absolutely right, gamers are a great demographic to test new ideas on, they are receptive and are also not afraid to comment when something is complete crap.

The show missed the mark on a few counts. The average age of a gamer is increasing so why we need to see a bunch of rappers outside talking complete bollocks, asking inane questions, and shouting “potatoes” for five minutes in beyond me. Someone in the control booth should have pulled the plug on that very quickly and not gone back to it for future segments of the show. Embarrassing. Although COD and GTA fans probably loved it.

While there were game demonstrations, some of which were actually decent, there was still too much filler. According to Geoff Keighly everything  that was coming up was “awesome” or “epic”. Two words that need to be extracted from his brain and never said out loud again.

Compared to previous years it was a slight improvement, mainly because of the lack of vacuous celebrities and there was a little more focus on the games. The exclusives this year were disappointing however, it was really just a bunch of trailers for games we already knew about to help drive traffic on to Gametrailers.

With some fine tuning the VGX could amount to something half decent but it needs work. Videogames should be perceived as valid form of entertainment for both adults and kids but it’s getting that balance right that’s hard, something that the VGX only partially got right. Perhaps Viacom should take a quick peek at the Videogame BAFTAs here in the UK and grab a few tips to help find the magic formula.

Will the VGX will likely be back next year in some sort of new improved format. Hopefully Viacom will take on board all the sensible comments that have surfaced in the past twenty four hours.

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