The Game Awards 2021: How to watch & what to expect

Michael Tracey, General Assignment Reporter

83 million people worldwide tuned in to watch The Game Awards last year, an annual celebration of video games and creative talent. That number will surely rise again this year as host and creator Geoff Keighley live-streams the event on Thursday, Dec. 9, from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. 

The Game Awards 2021 will be a massive celebration of video games as the industry puts a cap on the year. New and returning guests should expect the show to feature dozens of awards, exclusive world premiere announcements, and live performances from Sting and more yet-to-be-announced musical guests.

Unfortunately, the event is under an invite-only policy for attendees. Still, the rest of the world will have free access to the live-stream available on major streaming platforms: YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook Live. The Game Awards 2021 also welcomes and encourages co-streaming for content creators and YouTube enthusiasts.

The Game Awards 2021 will have 30 categories filled with nominees who were the best in business this year. Any game released in the year before Nov. 19 is eligible for nomination. The list of categories for this year’s award show goes as follows:

  • Game of the Year
  • Best Game Direction
  • Best Narrative
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Score and Music
  • Best Audio Design
  • Best Performance
  • Games For Impact
  • Best Ongoing
  • Best Indie
  • Best Mobile Game
  • Best Community Support
  • Innovation in Accessibility
  • Best VR/AR
  • Best Action Game
  • Best Action/Adventure
  • Best Role-Playing
  • Best Fighting
  • Best Family
  • Best Sim/Strategy
  • Best Sports/Racing
  • Best Multiplayer
  • Content Creator of the Year
  • Best Debut Indie
  • Most Anticipated Game
  • Best Esports Game
  • Best Esports Athlete
  • Best Esports Team
  • Best Esports Coach
  • Best Esports Event
Photo courtesy of The Game Awards.

Public voting is currently open so visit the page to look at the list of games and creative talent who are nominated. Fans can also vote for nominees in specific categories across additional social media platforms.

Fan voting will close on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 6 pm PT.

Mixed votes of 80% jury and 10% public determine the winners. A statement pulled from The Game Awards FAQ clarifies why creating a 100% fan vote would present its challenges.

“First, given that some games are exclusive to one platform, a public vote puts single-platform games at an inherent disadvantage over multi-platform titles,” the FAQ page reads. “In addition, it is important that winners cannot be ‘socially engineered’ in any way.”

Over 100 credible media and influencer outlets from around the globe make up the international jury of The Game Awards. They choose the nominees for most categories while specialized juries focus on the other categories, including accessibility and esports-related content.

The award show has truly elevated and enhanced itself throughout the years to earn worldwide recognition inside and outside the gaming community. Even Microsoft used the night to give the world a first look at the Xbox Series X console in 2019—don’t miss out on the biggest night of the year for video games. 

The Game Awards 2021 will air on Dec. 9 at 8 pm ET. Follow The Game Awards on Twitter and visit the official website to find more information.


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