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VGX Awards pull in over 1 million viewers, top Twitter spot, Keighley speaks out

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Spike's VGX Awards pulled in a respectable 1.1 million viewers and maintained the top trending spot on Twitter during the broadcast on December 7th, Viacom officials told Polygon.

While the top trending Twitter spot may be enviable for most, the VGX awards drew a healthy deal of flak from the gaming community. While Viacom acknowledges this fact, the very concept that the VGX show had people talking for better or worse was a victory. Erik Flannigan, Executive Vice President of Digital Media for the Viacom Entertainment Group said of the broadcast,

Death to us would have been apathy...Death would have been no one talking, no one caring, no one having an opinion about it.

The show itself received blanket criticism from gamers across the globe, with many chiming in their thoughts on YouTube, Twitter, and other social media. YouTube powerhouse Angry Joe posted a critique of the show, highlighting some of the best and worst parts of the program including the awkward chemistry between Keighley and McHale, lackluster comedy efforts of the Loiter Squad, and the general awkward nature of the first attempt at a new format. Angry Joe's video provides some fantastic feedback in the way of future co-hosting options, more exclusive reveals as in new gameplay and substantial details regarding upcoming releases, as opposed to generic trailers and recycled gameplay in some instances shown during the 3 hour affair.

While McHale was perhaps unnecessarily targeted for the shows awkward sense of humor and sarcastic pokes at gamers in general, Keighley had insight in to why VGX chose the star of Community and The Soup. Following the show, as Keighley noticed feedback coming in suggesting more and more gaming journalists and industry insiders as future hosts, he expressed his fear that narrowing the scope of the show to more gaming names could possibly ostracize the gaming community further from otherwise potential growth in the media at large. Keighley said to Polygon,

The rift we have is that then it would end up being gamers talking to themselves...Part of the appeal for me is that we can go a little bit broader with this show.

Keighley also expressed his thoughts on the Pointless Podcast with Kevin Pereira, further explaining to the former G4 host that the aim of VGX is to continually broaden the scope alongside a booming industry. During the show, the Gametrailers staffer echoes comments in the Polygon article, stating that bringing acts like Loiter Squad and having a GTA V themed concert played well to audiences from BET, MTV, and Adult Swim, who all streamed the show as well. Keighley also made some surprising revelations that although McHale may have seemed disinterested, Joel actually spoke off camera with Geoff about certain reveals, Keighley said,

After the Tales from the Borderlands reveal he [McHale] came to me and said 'Oh my god, those are the Gearbox guys! I love playing Borderlands 1 and 2 co-op, and it's such a great game!' and I think people didn't necessarily get that.

Pereira followed Keighley's comment saying "Say that into the big lens when the red light is on! Now I'm endeared". Keighley continued chatting about the show, commenting that McHale may actually reflect a good chunk of current gamers, in that they may not be the most core gamer buying every single big release, and that with age, this becomes true of many gamers.

While thoughts and opinions are varied, one thing is certain, VGX will be back for the 11th year in 2014, and Executive Vice President of Event Production, Casey Patterson says of where the show goes from here,

The only thing we can do is assure gamers that we are listening...They can tell from the show we built this year that we like them talking to us. Good, bad, ugly, we want to them to continue to talk to us at the decibel that they have been.

Keighley also appreciated the feedback, for better or worse, and promises that the show will continue to evolve and mature. While the experimentation in this years show was extremely apparent, one can argue that allowing the show to stay at the level of imitation attempted in past years would eventually lead to splits between the casual gaming community and those more core gamers that may lose interest in a show trying to be what it is not.

Whatever your opinion on the VGX Awards, Joel McHale, or the state of the gaming industry, gamers can be thankful that we still have the option for a three hour show to be livestreamed on multiple networks, sites, and replayed on Spike TV, a major national network. The fact that gamers can rely, at least for the time being, on a juggernaut like Viacom to put their weight and support behind a show about games, should give gamers of all backgrounds and constitution a source of relief, that they are in fact, being heard.

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