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Last week, fans eagerly tuned in to watch the 10th edition of The Game Awards setting new records for viewership and social engagement.
According to The Game Awards, the show reported record viewership of 103 million global livestreams, up 20% over 2021’s previous record setting performance.
Additionally, the 2022 edition of The Game Awards was the most discussed yet according to social listening analysis by Maven Road. This year, the show was mentioned 308,000 times the day of the event, nearly 180% growth from 2021.
The Game Awards viewership record
Viewership of the Game Awards is undoubtable up this year compared to 2021, reporting 103 million livestreams across across more than 30 digital networks. These included YouTube, Twitch (with viewer rewards), Twitter, Facebook, TikTok Live, Instagram and Steam. The show also worked with regional providers in China and India to stream the event.
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However, it’s important to note the metric The Game Awards is using to report viewership. Livestreams is equivalent to plays, not average viewers/AMA. This choice was likely used to better aggregate the data, but it should not be used to draw direct comparisons to TV programs which report average viewers.
That being said, it is very clear on a platform basis that The Game Awards grew its audience. The show set new peak viewership records across YouTube and Twitch, both for the Game Awards’ channel and in aggregate across all channels.
|Peak Viewership – TGA channel||Peak Viewership – all channels||All channels increase|
|YouTube||604,000||1.33 million||+37% YoY|
|Twitch||571,000||1.9 million||+20% YoY|
Looking at this viewership data, it becomes more obvious that YouTube viewers are more likely to watch The Game Awards’ owned and operated channel, rather than tuning into another broadcast partner.
The Game Awards also leveraged Steam to broadcast the show. This channel peaked at 850K concurrent users. While some of this viewership was organic, Valve also gave away a Steam Deck to viewers on its platform every minute of the broadcast. With viewership rewards like this, it’s understandable why fans congregated on Steam.
What did fans post about?
In addition to more viewers, the conversation around The Game Awards also grew. Fan engagement fell into three major topics — fan voting, reactions to new announcements and show highlights.
The fan voting on The Game Awards’ nominees was major boost to online engagement. Most of these mentions were fans sharing their picks and encouraging others to vote. However, some fans also complained about bugs and other difficulties they had to cast their ballots.
This push clearly worked. According to TGA, authenticated fan voting more than doubled year-over-year, up to more than 55 million votes cast on TheGameAwards.com, Bilibili in China and on The Game Awards Discord server. It’s not clear how many individuals voted, but the growth is clear regardless.
During the show, two moments in particular stood out to fans. Christopher Judge gave an 8-minute long acceptance speech when he won Best Performance of the Year for portraying Kratos in God of War Ragnarök. Reactions were mixed. Some considered the speech the emotional high point of the event. Others were thought the speech was overly indulgent. In total, these reactions accounted for 12,600 mentions.
The other moment that captured the most attention was the stunt pulled by 15 year-old troll Matan Even. Even snuck up on stage during the acceptance speech for Game of the Year and gave a speech that inspired many Bill Clinton memes. The stunt accounted for 10,100 mentions, mostly from confused viewers. Alone, 21% of negative discussions surrounding the event focused on Even. After the event, Even was arrested for his prank.
Most mentioned nominees
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the Game of the Year winner, Elden Ring, was also the most mentioned title. FromSoftware’s victory was generally well received; about half of its mentions were positive. However, some fans did express some discontent that God of War Ragnarök did not take home the top prize. Other negative mentions were related to Matan Even’s stunt rather than the game itself.
Maven Road found that the next most mentioned game was of course God of War Ragnarök. After winning six of the show’s top honors, it’s well deserved.
The Game Awards are a major destination for game announcements. This gives us a rare opportunity to directly compare which titles captured gamers’ attention.
Hades 2 was an entirely unexpected announcement. The first game in the series was released in early access at the end of 2018, but wasn’t officially published until 2020. This surprise sequel announcement delighted fans and many fans took to social to express this.
In contrast, the announcement for Death Stranding 2 was more expected. Geoff Keighley and Hideo Kojima have a long-running friendship so a major announcement from Kojima at The Game Awards is almost a tradition. Fans began speculating about the game and combing through the trailer and Kojima’s speech for clues. This drove Death Stranding 2 near the top of the charts.
Adaptations: Arcane wins, but quietly
League of Legends’ Arcane was the clear favorite to win the award for Best Adaptation. Earlier this year, Riot Games’ adaptation took home the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, setting high expectations.
Fans who posted about Arcane were excited about the show’s win, but also wanted a trailer for Season 2.
While the program did take home the award, Arcane was mentioned less online than both Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. Fans of both series were upset that their favorite show did not win, but many also conceded that the competition was fierce.
Brazil loves esports
The Game Awards featured several esports categories. However, the winners of these awards were annouced in quick succession during the pre-show. This could explain why esports categories accounted for just over 3,100 mentions. Most of these were congratulating the winners.
While the U.S. accounted for a majority of the mentions, surprisingly Japan accounted for 16.2% and Brazil contributed 8.2%. With Valorant taking home nearly all of the prizes alongside LOUD — one of Brazil’s most popular esports teams — it’s not surprising to see Brazil having a disproportionate contribution. Valorant is also relatively popular in Japan which could explain the country’s activity.
Additionally, Europe was relatively quiet but not being able to watch The Game Awards live could have impacted mentions online.
The Game Awards vs. other awards shows
It’s not shocking to see that The Game Awards drives the most conversation online out of major industry events and awards shows. Maven Road found that TGA was mentioned more in one day than Summer Games Fest was during its four day run. Similarly, The Golden Joystick Awards generated 5% of The Game Awards mentions.
Clearly, consumers congregated around The Game Awards as this year’s major tentpole event. With E3 set to return in 2023, there will likely be more competition for the top honor.
Perhaps more importantly, The Game Awards drove similar levels of conversation as mainstream awards shows. With TGA reporting different viewership statistics than these shows, this is one of the best direct comparisons for each show’s cultural impact.
While TGA is still behind the Grammys, the gap is closing rapidly. Last year, The Game Awards had 72% fewer mentions than the Grammys the day of the event. In a year, that closed to just 23% fewer mentions.
The Game Awards still has a long way to go to catch up to the Oscars. Compared to the 308,000 mentions The Game Awards got on the day of the event, The Academy Awards earned 5.7 million mentions — 18.4 times as many.
For The Game Awards team, these viewership and social mention records are major milestones.
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