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The Game Awards 2021 hit a new record of 85 million livestream views for its December 9 broadcast of awards and game announcements.
The eight annual showing of the video game celebration took place in-person at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles with a much smaller in-person crowd than in 2019, the most-recent previous in-person show. But it topped the global livestreams record set last year of 83 million views. The rate of growth soared online by 84% in 2020, but the growth of 2.4% this year mirrored the growth of gaming itself as the pandemic boom effect topped out.
Still, the show has had pretty spectacular growth from its first web-based event in 2014, when it had 1.9 million views. And that tells you how much gaming and game culture have grown in the meantime.
It featured appearances from The Matrix Resurrections stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne-Moss, Jim Carrey, Ben Schwartz, Guillermo del Toro, Hideo Kojima, Simu Liu, Ming-Na Wen, Giancarlo Esposito, and more.
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It also had performances by Sting, Imagine Dragons, and The Game Awards Orchestra, conducted by Lorne Balfe.
And the show gave fans a glimpse at what’s next in gaming and entertainment with more than 30 world premieres of upcoming projects, including Star Wars Eclipse, The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience, Alan Wake II, Sonic 2, and Sonic Frontiers, Wonder Woman, Horizon Forbidden West, and many more.
It also had an all-digital, no friction approach to global distribution. The Game Awards streamed live across more than 30 digital networks around the world, including YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok Live, and Steam, as well as more than a dozen digital platforms in China and Disney+Hotstar, MTV, and other networks in India.
On Twitter, The Game Awards delivered a record-setting 1.6 million tweets about the event in 2021. The show trended No. 1 worldwide for the 8th year in a row, commanding 11 out of the top 30 worldwide trends at the peak of conversation.
With YouTube, the official livestream set a new record for watch time with over 1.75 million hours watched on the main feed (not including any co-streams), up 14% over 2020’s record-setting livestream.
And on Twitch, The Game Awards delivered 3.35 million unique viewers across all participating channels, including co-streams.
In China, The Game Awards reached new viewership peaks with double-digit growth on platforms including Bilibili, DouYu, Huya, and Tencent Video.
Authenticated fan voting for the awards increased 27% from a year ago to more than 23.2 million on TheGameAwards.com and Bilibili in China.
“We are grateful we could return to an in-person ceremony in 2021 and continue to build on our success with significant international growth in 2021,” said Geoff Keighley, producer, The Game Awards, in a statement.
Hazelight Studios’ It Takes Two won a total of three awards, including Game of the Year. Forza Horizon 5 from Xbox Game Studios and Playground Games, took home the honors for Best Sports/Racing Game, Innovation in Accessibility and Best Audio Design, and Bethesda and Arkane Studios’ Deathloop picked up Best Game Direction and Best Art Direction.
This time the show also featured immersive formats including Horizon Venues in VR, a showing in Cinemark Theaters, and a “metaverse” experience in Manticore’s Core online gaming world.
The Game Awards also announced its second annual Future Class list, composed of 50 talented individuals around the world who represent the bright, bold and inclusive future of video games. The Game Awards Future Class featured a diverse group of builders, thinkers, and dreamers whose voices elevate and diversify the artform of gaming and whose passion makes the industry stronger.
The Game Awards is executive produced by Keighley and Kimmie Kim. LeRoy Bennett is creative director, and Rich Preuss is director.
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