Awards and advertisements flow in Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater.

10:00, 13 Dec 2019

It's the end of the year and you know what that means: top lists and award shows. Where our industry already held its own Esports Awards back in November, last night it was featured as part of the more general Game Awards as well.

A common criticism of this kind of event is that, while it may start out as a way to honor achievement, it often turns into a venue for brands to showcase their products. It also tends to focus on recognizable names, leaving a lot of behind the curtain talent unrecognized.

All of this was true for last night's ceremony, with the awards themselves being only a small portion of what could alternatively have been labelled the Game Ads instead.

But were they *good* ads? Let me tell you, at least regarding the esports side of proceedings.

Half-Life fools us again

After announcing a new chapter in its acclaimed Half-Life series last month, one of the biggest draws of the show was supposed to be Valve's demo of Half-Life: Alyx.

In an unfortunate, but on-brand twist, Valve pulled out at the last minute. Three hours before the show it was announced that Alyx would not be attending. The developer is still holding on to a March 2020 release date. On the upside, that's plenty on time for a 2020 award.

The new Xbox, now with more Xs!

Fortunately, other heavy-hitters did show up. Biggest among these was likely Microsoft, who would announce a new Xbox.

It was already known that the company had been working on a successor to its current console under the codename Project Scarlett. We now know that the hardware's official name is going to be.. what? No it's not Xbox Two. Instead, it will be known as the Xbox Series X, which makes a lot more sense.

The announcement was followed up by a blogpost, which has more technical details.

A League of Legends Stor..ies

Another anticipated announcement was that of the first Riot Forge game. The League of Legends developer had followed up a slew of upcoming game announcements from its own studio, with the news that it would be helping other developers to create games in its universe.

The first of these titles was to be announced last night and turned out to be.. two titles.

Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is a turn-based RPG. It is set in Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles, home to champions like Gangplank and Thresh. It is being developed by Airship Syndicate, who brought us Darksiders: Genesis before.

The second game coming out of Forge will be Convergence: A League of Legends Story. This one follows time-hopping champ Ekko in a platforming adventure around his home of Zaun. It's brought to us by Speed Brawl developers Double Stallion.

PUBG announces.. something

Last June, PUBG Corp announced that it was developing an "original narrative experience" in the PUBG universe. Apparently the company's new game Prologue is not that. The developer is also rumored to be releasing a new Battlegrounds map soon. Prologue is not that either.

But what is it then? Something with nice weather effects is all we can say for sure right now.

Apex kicks off the Ho-Ho-Holo-days

Other announcements were more straightforward, like Apex Legends' new holiday event Mirage’s Holo-Day Bash. It comes with all the usual bells and whistles, literally this time with its new skins. It is also live right now. Ho ho ho.

We also learned that Fortnite going all-in on its Star Wars festivities this weekend, with a TIE Whisper Glider and Magic: The Gathering showed a trailer for its new Theros: Beyond Death set.

Sadly, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fans expecting a new DLC reveal would go home disappointed, although the game did receive an award for Best Fighting Game as well as getting a nod in the Orchestra performance.

Winner winner chicken..

Oh right, awards, did I mention there were some of those too? Here's a full list of all 29 categories’ winners, but below are "our" people.

  • Best Audio Design: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Best Esports Coach: Danny "Zonic" Sorensen
  • Best Esports Event: League of Legends Worlds Championship 2019
  • Best Esports Host: Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere
  • Best Esports Player: Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf
  • Best Esports Team: G2 Esports
  • Best Fighting Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Best Mobile Game: Call of Duty: Mobile
  • Best Multiplayer Game: Apex Legends
  • Best Ongoing Game: Fortnite
  • Content Creator of the Year: Michael "shroud" Grzesziek
  • Esports Game of the Year: League of Legends

Patch please

I kid a lot, mostly due to sleep deprivation, but there were definitely some interesting announcements during the event. With it also pulling in 1,827,504 peak viewers, I think it's safe to call it a commercial success. Plus, next year is starting to look pretty good, game-wise!

Now if only we could tweak the event's content balance a bit..

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