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Videogame Industry Rallies Around First ‘Game Awards’ (EXCLUSIVE)

The videogame industry is ready to put on its own awards show.

The three major console makers, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, and the largest publishers that produce games for the systems, have paired up to back “The Game Awards,” with the first event set to take place Dec. 5, from the Axis Theater in Las Vegas.

The show, which will be streamed live across all gaming systems and devices, is a direct challenge to Spike’s “VGX,” formerly “The Video Game Awards,” which was essentially a television promotional platform for upcoming releases during the peak holiday shopping season.

The “Game Awards” also will be produced as an awards show that hypes new games with a first look a trailers and other content, along with musical performances, appearances by game developers, eSports players and online content creators.

In fact, Geoff Keighley, who produced that show is also behind the new “Game Awards.”

The host of “GameTrailers TV,” and former regular on gaming network G4, Keighley wants the event to acknowledge the place of videogames at the center of modern entertainment and culture — and make it available to a far larger audience.

Instead of airing on just one network, it will be distributed via a digital pool that includes Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Nintendo and Valve’s Steam, which has over 100 million worldwide users on its own.

Producers will begin selling tickets to the show via TicketMaster on Nov. 11.

“The ‘Game Awards 2014’ will celebrate our collective love of games and the passion we all hold in our hearts for this incredible entertainment medium,” Keighley said. “Gaming has never been stronger, and this year we will celebrate the fastest-selling launch year ever for new game consoles, the dramatic rise of eSports and mobile gaming around the globe, and preview the games that will make 2015 the biggest year yet.”

Keighley has lined up an impressive roster of supporters, who serve on the show’s advisory board, including Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America; Yves Guillemot, CEO, Ubisoft; Hideo Kojima, president, Kojima Prods; Shawn Layden, CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America; Peter Moore, chief operating officer, Electronic Arts; Xbox chief Phil Spencer; Martin Tremblay, president, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment; Rockstar Games and Valve.

“Electronic Arts has long championed the way gaming brings together players with the talented teams behind the world’s greatest video games, and this event will be an exciting new opportunity to do just that,” said EA’s Moore. “We look forward to supporting ‘The Game Awards’ alongside our friends in the industry.”

The “Video Game Awards” will essentially kick off a flurry of end-of-the-year accolades for the videogame industry that culminates in February with the annual “D.I.C.E. Awards,” produced by the Academy of Interactive Arts of Sciences. Event is considered the Oscars of the gaming biz but is a smaller, more intimate affair for the industry.

The games industry is currently enjoying a period of growth as next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft find their way into consumers’ homes, and publishers release high-profile titles for the systems.

Consumers in the U.S. spent $6.3 billion on new games in 2013, another $1.8 billion on used games and rentals, and $7.2 billion on digital game content, according to NPD Group.

“’The Game Awards’ is a special event to honor the achievements in gaming, our talented developers and devoted fans. We look forward to celebrating the power of games this December,” said Ubisoft’s Guillemot.Added Jennifer Kolbe, VP of Publishing at Rockstar Games, “We have long been believers in the potential for videogames to inspire, challenge and entertain, and we look forward to standing with the industry to celebrate the medium at ‘The Game Awards’ this year.”

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