Elder Scrolls 5, Mass Effect 3, Uncharted 3. Spike TV Awards – what’s the connection?

I’ve mentioned a couple of times over the last month or two that various big companies were prepping announcements to be made at the Spike TV Videogame Awards.

And this duly happened.

But why this and why now? What the heck is Spike TV  and why is it better to make announcements at their awards? In fact, what’s the big deal with their awards anyway, is this some huge thing in the US which explains all the palaver?

No, not really. Kotaku even ask the exact same question and as a US based gaming zine, we assume they’d know if it was. It’s just that the marketing bods at the big gaming companies decided that it was a good idea to have a news cycle in December. It’s not an accident that all the games announced are sequels. When a sequel is announced, there’s often an upswing in sales for previous entries in the franchise. Blizzard sold a lot of copies of Diablo 2 and Starcraft when their sequels were announced (including one to me, since I bought a copy of SC myself.)

The thing that puzzled me most about these announcements is that usually – and bear with me here – advertisers try to place TV ads in and around popular shows which will attract a suitable audience. But this seemed more as if the award show was just a forum for the adverts.

(I can’t actually imagine ever having much interest in an award show to be honest.)

Jeff Green has a much better and more informed rant about this. I particularly like the phrase, “the dudebro douchebag contingent” which I think is a bit punchier than Gevlon’s “M&S.”

And sadly, I don’t have the least interest in Elder Scrolls 5, despite it a fantasy RPG. They lost me with their dreadful levelling mechanic in Oblivion, which rewarded you for not putting any points into the skills you actually wanted to specialise in. No thanks, Bethesda. Still, I am amused that as recently as last year they were advising the press not to expect an Elder Scrolls 5 any time soon, and hinting at plans for an MMO.

7 thoughts on “Elder Scrolls 5, Mass Effect 3, Uncharted 3. Spike TV Awards – what’s the connection?

  1. I think Jeff’s point was spot on: None of the show was by or for gamers. It was by the marketing and suits, for some kind of credibility grasp with other awards shows, other entertainment mediums, and for their own edification.

    Honestly, though I agree with the question of “Why SpikeTV?”, I couldn’t see a major network picking this up. That leads to the question of “why do it at all?” I think that from where WE sit, we don’t have a need for this one bit: we’re just as happy (and as rabid) for a trailer released in the dead of the night as we are to see one on TV. We don’t care where we get it, but we can smell the desperation that surrounds the delivery when it’s out of it’s element…like the VGA Awards. That makes us all /facepalm, and in some way reduces “video games” from whatever gains it’s made in the realm of public opinion back down to kids toys and debassed frat-boy time-wasters.

    I’d be interesting, though, to see the reaction of non-gamers to this debacle. Do they think LESS of gaming because of this spectacle? Is it more or less what they would have expected?

  2. Well in Bethesda’s defense, announcing in August of 2009 not to expect the game “anytime soon”. 16 months later they announced the game. The game is still another 11 months away.

    The MMO hints however, I have to admit, I was equally bummed out. I mean I love the Elder Scroll series, Oblivion’s obvious faults notwithstanding, but I was really hoping they would dabble into MMOs. Guess not!

  3. I liked Fallout 3: Oblivion… erm. Well, I liked Fallout 3 more than Morrowind/Oblivion for the same reason.

    This Minor, Major, Misc skill levelling system is just bad. I could debate whether mob scaling “done right” is a must in an open ended world, but this system that greatly rewards me to play it and do repeatedly silly things to maximize my stats was just wrong.

    Ken Rolston, former Bethesda Elder Scrolls guru, is now working for 38 Studios on Kingdoms of Amalur and Copernicus.

    I wonder if they dare to change this system, I think it never was the core and what made Elder Scrolls appeal to people. Apparently it was not only me who did not like the system.

  4. While I hesitate to leap to the defense of Spike TV cause…jesus, Spike TV, the VGA were an awful, terrible douchey thing, a lot of the people who buy those big huge AAA titles in the millions and make EA and so on their obscenely huge piles of cash that they get to stare at while they touch themselves are the audience for Spike TV.

    Going ‘Ew, Duders. We will ignore that you make us all our money and thus discard pretty much our only mainstream meda channel to show off our new toys’ is not a grown up decision for a company to making.

    • I guess it’s probably that I’m not American and have never heard of Spike TV. So if it’s a big deal among the target audience, it’s news to me.

      But while I could see the dudebro douchebag contingent going for shooters and ME3, would they really be interested in Elder Scrolls?

  5. Too bad those mainstreamers are making the industry money, and no one gives a damn much about Braid or Minecraft eh?

    I’m not someone who likes mainstream culture myself, but they are the ones footing the bills for the indy games to be made, and they can get catered too as well.

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