Between the last event and now, a lot has happened in the video game world. Was it difficult to choose exactly what to focus on?
It wasn't because everything is moving so fast and all of it is good news and unbelievably cool. It's very easy to focus when you're obliterating one format and taking a step into a brave new world. We knew that our focus would be on putting it where it belongs, setting it up for success in the future and reaching more gamers. The focus isn't on trying to convert TV fans into gamers but to reach gamers anywhere and everywhere they live and breathe. That was an easy decision given how exciting the future of technology is here.
You're not going to get around the fact that Grand Theft Auto V had a great year but everyone will be very well represented.
Did the feedback you got come mostly from the last show?
No, it was over time. When we first launched, there were a lot of celebrities jumping into the game opening up studios, doing voiceovers and publishers were hiring them left and right. Eventually, it evolved into the publishers and games creating their own superstars. The celebrities became less important in the mix. We followed the the gaming industry as it's gone along, and in the last few years, we've heard that we were trying too hard to make it look like everyone else's award show. Gamers are not like everyone else and that's not what they want to see. They don't care about what people are wearing, the red carpet, our shiny floor or teleprompter. All gamers care about are the games and the people who make them.
It's pretty cool to see a company as large as Viacom take viewer feedback and actually act on it.
We want to be a part of the future and not the past. To be honest, the technology is there where you can interact with content and there's no other audience more poised to take that step than video gamers. Not only can they do it, they expect it. So when we talk about an awards show with shiny floors and all those things, it feels really old-fashioned when you think about the potential of the technology. It's a little scary stepping away from traditional TV but that's the way the world is going. I feel like someone standing on a stage opening an envelope is wasted time that could be filled with more world premieres, breaking news and discussions with the people who making the games.
Will there be any awards given out?
Absolutely, we will still give out key awards but it won't be presented in a traditional awards show format. There's going to be a small studio, a small audience and will be more broken down like an in-studio show with some Comic Con elements. I only reference that because of the great panels and discussions. When talent stops by, it'll be for a reason, because they're bringing something.
How much will indie games be represented?
All of gaming is very, very important to us. We want to celebrate the whole world of gaming; you're not going to get around the fact that Grand Theft Auto V had a great year but everyone will be very well represented. Again, this is the next great experiment. This year is small but big in reach and we're resetting.
How long will the show run?
Three hours in a continuous stream but we're going to have shoulder programming and other things happening around it all day. It's an all day, all digital binge for gamers. We're slowly rebuilding this thing into what it should be and if you're a gamer, you know exactly what I'm talking about.