Longtime gaming journalist, TV personality, and award show producer Geoff Keighley has been at the helm of his own awards show for five years now, and it almost seems that The Game Awards are his lifelong destiny. Keighley possesses the experience and gaming industry access that only a career spanning the whole of video games awards show history can provide, and he believes The Game Awards are the culmination of his many fortuitous opportunities and that they will continue to consistently improve into the event's future.
Geoff Keighley enjoyed the pleasure of hosting his 5th annual Game Awards in December 2018, having crowned Santa Monica Studios' God of War Game of the Year and partnering with publishers to reveal a number of exclusive upcoming titles, including a new entry in the Dragon Age franchise, the highly anticipated remake of Crash Team Racing, and the Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. Some may not know that The Game Awards aren't Keighley's first rodeo, though. Most notably, he was the executive producer of the Spike Video Game Awards for a decade since its inception in 2003. Though Keighley's awards shows on Spike received moderate attention thanks to their wide appeal and high-profile hosts and guest appearances - which ranged from Snoop Dogg to Jack Black - The Game Awards have reached an even greater audience over the years, while simultaneously growing the industry prestige of its awards and its importance as a promotional event.
Prior to the 2018 Game Awards, Keighley reminisced on his life and career paths and detailed how they converged in the form of The Game Awards in an exclusive video interview with NoClip's Danny O'Dwyer. Similar to O'Dwyer, who got his start on GameSpot and has since gone on to create high-quality documentaries about video game developers, Keighley states he has always strove to "focus on the people that make the games, not just the games." He recalls that his first foray into gaming award shows was also a first for the industry as a whole, having written the narration for Universal Studios' Cybermania '94 as a teenager. He cites this event as a major source of inspiration for his fascination with gaming awards shows, and he pursued it when creating and overseeing the Spike Video Game Awards from 2003 to 2013. However, Keighley admits to having made "massive compromises" in his production of the show due to the challenges presented by the perceived niche status of gaming at the time and in-house conflicts with "network executives and sales people [that] didn't really understand games."
Once Spike discontinued the Video Game Awards after its 10th anniversary, Keighley moved to start a new annual awards show of his own, and The Game Awards were born. When describing the level of creative control he commands over The Game Awards to O'Dwyer, Keighley says:
"I finance it, I sell it, I promote it, I book it, so it’s all, you know [sic], it’s kind of all me driving it—which is good and bad. But I’m sort of [sic] so passionate about it, mostly because I think it’s a really important thing to do."
Keighley relents that the newfound freedom and independence he's found in The Game Awards is both "good and bad," but declares his belief that this newest awards show doesn't pander to an unnecessarily wide audience due to its recognition of the vastness of the gamer demographic. Keighley does confess that The Game Awards has made compromises "from a budget or content perspective" in past years, but he remains optimistic and hopeful that the show will one day "be bigger than the Oscars." Only time will tell if Keighley's high hopes pan out in the coming years, but its undeniable that if The Game Awards continue to grow at its current rate that it may someday soon overtake E3 as the biggest annual event on the gaming industry's calendar in terms of size and importance.