Before the Spike Video Game Awards had even concluded, Twitter sprang to action with a continual stream of negative commentary about the awards show and all it lacked. Comments ranged from mere displeasure to utter disdain for the way the show was produced and the way gamers felt they were treated.
We didn’t expect it to be our “Oscars” but we did expect it to be treated with the same reverence as the MTV Movie Awards or the Spike Scream Awards – with fun and understanding of the genre. While one of Cliff Bleszinski’s tweet made sense on one aspect it failed to capture the problem viewers actually have with the show…the VGAs are NOT treated the same as the other award shows. One such way is in the chosen presenters. Our “rock stars” are not the mainstream actors trying to plug their next movie. Our rock stars include such amazing people as Carlos Ferro, Jennifer Hale, and that Nathan Drake guy. We are more happy to see Arne Meyer present an award than watch Brooklyn Decker bobbing at cupcakes (no disrespect to the beautiful Brooklyn Decker by the way).
Where Spike and its parents at MTV got it all wrong was in understanding who are OUR superstars. I get the mainstream promotional marketing strategies behind certain choices (yes, again talking to you Mr. B); I am still a businesswoman, but if that is the case then why not such people as Michelle Rodriguez or Lamar Odom or Robert Kardashian. They are popular mainstream celebutantes but they actually play games and the world knows it! Part of the issue in our complaints via Twitter is that in 140 characters or less, it can be difficult to lay out exactly what we are feeling and why – additionally, most people are aren’t very articulate, but I take issue with the fact that year after year Spike hears the same complaints and they fail to address them. I personally love most of Spike’s programming (except for Manswers…that show should be burned) but I am thoroughly surprised that they would fail to address the concerns brought up by their very demographic. I understand that as a female gamer I do not fit into their primary demographic but as a viewer looking in from the outside I can’t help but ask, “WTF Spike! Don’t you give a sh*t that the men are complaining too?!” At some point it is just smart business to give in a little to your audience before they abandon you – once they are lost it will be much more difficult to get them back. Twitter may have been abuzz again this year but it was primarily negative. Do you want to risk having nothing next year? At what point do you stand up to the businessmen in suits with no clue and say “Hey! Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry but it is because we give them what they want. If you want to cash in, get a grip, take a seat and listen up – give them what they want and more importantly what they need.”
We have been blamed for ruining box office sales, changing the game in college sports and even been accused of being virtually recession proof, it is my opinion that we are NOT a group to be taken so lightly…it is currently harder to pass laws against gamers than it is civil rights groups. Ponder that.
I love the people at Spike and I have done several interviews with stars of their shows, and I will continue to watch their programming; this is why I caution them against turning a blind eye to the complaints they have seen all over the internet. I know if anyone can get it right it is the first network to make “TV for men” okay in today’s society (though I question why TV for men is more up my alley than “other” stations). So, Spike, let’s talk. We can have some café con leche, play some Gears and figure out how not to eff it up next year. What do you say? Let me know. You know where to find me.