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The Game Awards Audience Triples to 11.5 Million Livestreams in 2017

Explosive growth

This year’s Game Awards saw a more than 200 percent increase in livestreams over last year, with viewers watching about 11.5 million streams during the event, the award show announced today.

Show creator Geoff Keighley says he’s not entirely sure why the show saw such a massive jump, but he’s happy with those numbers.

“Last year we added China and saw a 65 percent increase,” he said. “So for this to triple is beyond my wildest expectations.”

Keighley says that part of that jump may be do to how much more interactive the show was this year. People who watched the show via Steam were eligible for regular, random game giveaways, and there were giveaways on Twitch as well. Twitch also allowed people to vote on who they thought should win the different awards.

“The thing that seems clear is that some of the interactive stuff we were doing on Twitch and Steam really drive traffic,” he says.

Last year, viewers watched on average 20 minutes of the show. This year, that number was up to 70 minutes.

“The more we gamify the show and make it interactive, the more people seem to stick around and tell their friends,” he says.

The show ended up running about three hours, counting the 20 minute pre-show, longer than Keighley was hoping to go, but still within the ballpark.

“I’m amazing how smoothing things go when you’re in the live show, it just sort of happens,” he says.

There were some unexpected moments, like when writer and director Josef Fares’ speech went both long and very off-the-rails during the lead up to some gameplay for A Way Out.

Keighly says that moments like that are what make live shows so great.

Not everyone was enthused with this year’s Game Awards though. Some complained of the advertising and sponsored moments of the show. Keighley says he thinks they did a much better job this year than last.

“What we tried to do this year was to clearly delineate what was promotion and what wasn’t,” he says. “We’re never going to satisfy people who don’t want [commercials and pomotion], but that’s something we have to do to pay for the show.”

The show also made a misstep in presenting its awards, accidentally leaving off an award for best multiplayer game which was meant to go to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Keighley says the mistake, which was pointed out by Polygon, was made due to some last minute changes in the developer’s presentation of the game’s new map. The mistake, though, highlights the bigger question of what role the game awards have in the Game Awards show. Keighley says they try to make the awards show an even mix of award acceptance and video premieres of coming games or expansions. That’s what they did this year. He also wants to make sure that the awards that are given out are more diverse.

Next year, he says, the Game Awards might announce all of the genre award winners the morning of the show and leave the rest for the show itself. But, Keighley added, it’s still something the team is discussing.

In talking about the show, I noted that Glixel highlighted the top two dozen moments of the live event and then asked Keighley what is favorite three were from the show.

Carol Shaw, creator of River Raid for the Atari 2600, receiving the Industry Icon award was his top moment. “A lot of folks didn’t know her story,” he says. “That was a heartfelt moment.”

Next was Eiji Aonuma, producer for The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, taking the stage for his game winning 2017’s Game of the Year. “I never thought that one of the most decorated game developers from Nintendo would be that excited about winning this award, which has only been in existence for four years,” Keighley says. “There were probably 40 people [in the audience] from Nintendo. It felt really resonant.”

Finally, Keighley says that he enjoyed being able to have big games, like Bayonetta 3 and whatever From Software teased, announced and unveiled during the live show.

“I was really proud of the games we got to reveal at the show,” he says. “That surprise factor put us on the map.”