E3 minus one –
Comes as reaction to E3 organizers’ plans for the event.
Gaming fans are likely familiar with Keighley’s work as host ofThe Game Awards and various journalistic deep dives; his “Final Hours” series will emerge later this year with an insider’s look at the development process of Valve’s upcoming VR game
Meanwhile, Keighley tells Ars Technica that his work on the Games Critics Awards will continue mostly unchanged, at least from his end. “ESA / E3 has had no involvement in Games Critics Awards and never has,” Keighley said. “It has always been an independent group since the beginning. Nothing has changed there.”
However, two major points of excitement around E3 have changed for the GCAs: their award timing and eligibility. “This year, we will likely make the awards ‘Most Anticipated’ games coming out after June , versus tying them to products at E3, to get the widest -possible group of games to evaluate, “Keighley said.
The Game Critics Awards began life in , when it was co-produced by former PC Gamer Editor-in-Chief Rob Smith. For more on the GCAs’ history, our own Kyle Orland wrote a (feature about the event for Crispy Gamer) saved by the Wayback Machine . A 2012 statement about membership eligibility pointed to “Editors-in-Chief of major North American media outlets that have consistently covered the video game industry and have clearly shown an interest in critically evaluating interactive entertainment. ” [Full disclosure: Ars Technica has been a participating GCA judge as far back as 2012.]
Orland’s feature describes the GCA process — and its associated “Judges Week” series of pre -E3 demos and interviews — as a “special access” process for participating members of the media. In short: qualified members of the press skip many of E3’s lines and crowds, then get shuttled from one press event to the next, each hosted by a different game studio or publisher with direct access to hands-on game demos. Not every major game company presents at this pre-E3 “Judges Week” series, but quite a few biggies do, including ESA members like Activision and Bandai-Namco, along with a series of independent studios. Because this tour traditionally happens weeks before the official E3 bow, members of the press get time to prepare their impressions and captured videos for preview coverage timed to E3’s events. The GCAs typically include offers from publishers to cover travel and accommodations for participating members of the press. Ars Technica has consistently declined these offers as attendees.
Because the GCAs have been independently organized, they’ve consistently included stringent rules about award eligibility — including a requirement that nominated games be playable by participating judges (read: not a pre-rendered video) either ahead of or during E3. But Keighley’s statement to Ars Technica about the “widest-possible group of games” suggests that game eligibility could open up more widely from this point on, whether because a game’s build was emailed to judges or otherwise demonstrated at an event with zero ties to E3 . Keighley did not answer questions about his relationship with participating publishers for this year GCAs incarnation. Many of the GCAs’ traditional participating publishers have been members of the ESA, and Keighley’s pushback on E3 could very well change the relationship. Keighley admits in his emails that he’s still “working through plans” for this year GCAs and even went so far as to ask us at Ars Technica, “What do you think we should do?”
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