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Everything You Should Know Before You Watch The Game Awards

The 2022 Game Awards ceremony is nearly upon us, and if last year's show was any indication, it's going to be a night that has gamers talking. The annual awards show was started in 2014 by Geoff Keighley, who still serves as its host eight years on. This year's nominees were unveiled on November 14, 2022, but the internet has been discussing potential nominees since the beginning of the year. 

The major draw of The Game Awards for most people is the coveted Game of the Year award, but there's a lot more to the show than just this climactic reveal. In fact, not only are there 30 other categories being recognized, there are usually plenty of exclusive premiere looks at upcoming games, as well as fun performances to look forward to. For the most part, these awards are voted on by a jury of critics and gaming journalists, though gamers also get a say with the Player's Voice award. 

The Game Awards doesn't focus entirely on the year's most high-profile games, it also highlights areas of the gaming world that deserve the spotlight, giving out awards like Best Debut Indie and Games for Impact. It's sure to be a packed show, so here's what you need to know about the 2022 Game Awards before going in.

There are six 2022 GOTY nominees

In 2021, the Game of the Year title went to Hazelight Studio's critically-acclaimed co-op game "It Takes Two," but the competition is different this year. For one thing, the category is more stacked with games featuring RPG elements. This year, there are six nominees for Game of the Year. They are:

  • "A Plague Tale: Requiem" from Asobo Studio
  • "Elden Ring" from FromSoftware
  • "God of War Ragnarok" from Santa Monica Studio
  • "Horizon Forbidden West" from Guerrilla Games
  • "Stray" from BlueTwelve studio
  • "Xenoblade Chronicles 3" from Monolith Studio

The two standouts for many are "Elden Ring," which was Metacritics' best-reviewed game of 2022 until October, and "God of War Ragnarok," which was nominated for no less than ten TGA categories this year. The debate between fans of the two franchises has been ongoing ever since the rumors of Game of the Year nominations began. Diehard fans will have to wait until the end of The Game Awards to find out if one of these two titles comes out on top. "Stray," "Xenoblade," "Horizon," and "A Plague Tale" all have just as much claim to this throne as FromSoftware and Santa Monica's masterpieces, after all.

There are 30 specific categories

Though the Game of the Year award is the most obvious attraction for The Game Awards 2022, there are 30 other important categories that highlight development teams, esports, and other major achievements in the gaming industry.

Categories that focus on game development and the quality of the final release:

  • Best Game Direction
  • Best Narrative
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Score and Music
  • Best Audio Design
  • Best Performance
Categories that highlight games with an important message or that support and work towards inclusivity in the community:
  • Games for Impact
  • Best Community Support
  • Innovation in Accessibility
Categories that award games in a particular genre or niche include;
  • Best Ongoing Game
  • Best Indie Game
  • Best Mobile Game
  • Best VR/AR Game
  • Best Action Game
  • Best Action/Adventure Game
  • Best Roleplaying Game
  • Best Fighting Game
  • Best Family Game
  • Best Simulation/Strategy Game
  • Best Sports/Racing Game
  • Best Multiplayer Game
  • Best Debut Indie Game
Other categories give awards to the Most Anticipated Game, the Content Creator of the Year, and the Best Adaptation — a new award that highlights video game adaptations to other media, like film and television. There are also five esports related categories:
  • Best Esports Game
  • Best Esports Athlete
  • Best Esports Team
  • Best Esports Coach
  • Best Esports Event

Who votes on the winners?

The Game Awards aren't decided by one single person, nor are they decided entirely by the gaming public. All of the awards at The Game Awards are almost entirely decided by a jury that includes a variety of gaming outlets, critics, and other industry media representatives from across the world. The majority of voting members are from the United States and the United Kingdom, but more than 30 countries are represented in this general voting bloc. 

The esports and accessibility categories are voted on by a different group, though. Esports awards are determined by a separate jury of global outlets more directly tied to these competitive communities. The accessibility voting group is comprised of games writers, outlets, and activists for inclusivity in video games, all with the goal of accurately reflecting the views of disabled gamers in this oft-overlooked category. 

It's not all up to the critics, though, as there is also the Player's Voice. According to The Game Awards' FAQ site, winners for each category are 90% determined by the voting jury, but 10% are influenced by the Player's Voice poll. Players don't have a higher percentage of influence over the results to prevent "social engineering" and to avoid giving a disadvantage to single-platform games that not all gamers can access.

When does the 2022 Game Awards ceremony air?

Now that you know what The Game Awards 2022 is all about, all that's left is to figure out where and when to stream it. The Game Awards is available to watch in more ways than ever before, including an exclusive IMAX showing at specific theaters across the U.S. and Canada. Be sure to check if there's an IMAX theater playing The Game Awards nearby!

The show will also stream on almost every platform that allows streaming, including traditional options like YouTube and Twitch, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram Live, gaming outlets like IGN and GameSpot, and even on Steam (alongside the PC storefront's exciting Game Festival). 

The Game Awards starts at 7:30 ET or 4:30 PT in the U.S. on December 8th, but in the U.K. and areas east it will begin on December 9th at 12:30 a.m. GMT. This is because The Game Awards streams concurrently to all platforms, so time differences play a part in when the show goes live.