The annual Spike TV “Video Game Awards” will hold its 10th ceremony live from Sony Pictures Studio on December 7th at 9:00 pm. Executive producer of the” VGA’S” Mark Burnett, and executive vice president Casey Patterson gathered recently to make some interesting observations about how they feel the video game industry is changing the face of television and entertainment.
“Gaming has become more and more mainstream. Call of Duty, Halo, and other game franchises are now more popular than movies and television shows. And casual games on the iPhone have completely changed who's playing. The term "gamers" doesn't just apply to young men anymore. Women, parents, and young children are all starting to buy and play games in a meaningful way,” says Mark Burnett, who is also the producer of Survivor and the creator of the Apprentice.
He then added “ I think that viewers are starting to demand more interaction and ownership over their favorite television programs. They've got computers and phones that have incredible amounts of power, but that are completely ignored by most TV shows. We need to find ways to drive engagement and let the viewers affect the programming through their own decisions. That's what we're doing with Xbox Live and the VGAs this year.”
What Patterson and Burnett are advocating, is a “second screen” approach to television entertainment, which they feel will revolutionize the way viewers can interact with their favorite shows and characters.
Patterson went on to elaborate about why this second screen technology will be vital to the advancement of television. “The second screen means that fans are able to do a deep dive into the experience on every level - from live interaction, to more information about every aspect of the show. It's also incredibly valuable to the people making the content. We know where our fans (and critics) are and know they are thinking about every aspect of what we're making, in real time.”
This year at the “VGA’s”, Burnett and Patterson are doing a bit of an experiment with this second screen concept, and are going to use the audience to test it out. “For the first time ever, viewers will be able to watch the VGAs in real time via Xbox Live and use their controllers to vote on polling questions. They'll actually make decisions that will affect the show. It's very exciting, because we're really pushing the boundaries of what's been done on television and I think the viewers will love the power that we're putting in their hands.” says Burnett.
With television viewers already actively live-Tweeting and updating their Facebook’s, blogs and other forms of online social interaction with constant updates about their favourite shows, I think this concept could catch on quickly.