The Game Awards Drew Nearly 2 Million Viewers In First Year, Will Likely Return In 2015

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Dec 10, 2014 05:05 PM EST

The inaugural year of The Game Awards pulled in a huge audience, according to the official viewing numbers, with almost 2 million people tuning in to the event.

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Polygon reports that the show--planned and produced by former Spike Video Game Awards host Geoff Keighly--had 1.93 million viewers watching its Twitch and YouTube livestreams. This represents a roughly 75 percent increase of the VGA finale last year, which sought to reinvent itself with a scaled-down version of past years.

The show included major stars such as Keifer Sutherland and Imagine Dragons despite moving from TV to online-only. Along with the awards (see the full list of winners here), the show had more than a dozen reveals or exclusive clips, and put on entertaining performances for most of the night.

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"I am absolutely stunned by the results," Keighley told Polygon. "We didn't have any marketing budget or TV spots for the show. I'm used to having a lot of support resources - a promotional team, a digital media team, a PR team. All we had was the support of the game publishers and fans to spread the word and on social media.

"It's empowering that we as a community can get the word out virally about a show like this. I always knew the show would get a better critical response from the community, but in many ways I was making a more serious show that risked not having as much mainstream appeal. That's why Kiefer Sutherland, Conan O'Brien, Trey Parker and Imagine Dragons were such important bookings. All of them truly love games and came to celebrate our medium."

Keighly tells Polygon there's more work ahead to prove The Game Awards are the right venue for a show like this, and more planning time next year should benefit proceedings. The awards didn't pull a profit this year (Keighly paid for much of it out of his pocket, investing in its future), but he hopes another show next year would be even better and have fewer startup costs--keep an eye open in 2015 for news about the next iteration.

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