The VGAs Getting There, One Step At a Time

The New York Times has an interesting, albeit meandering, look at this Sunday's Video Game Awards show in their Media and Advertising section today.

The story touches on the show's roots and the importance of game trailers to game sales, with Spike TV's Geoff Keighley calling them the Angelina Jolie of this business. Yeah, that doesn't really make sense to me either.

But what really grabbed my attention was some of the behind the scenes stuff MTV and Spike TV are doing to try and maintain and build the show's credibility through, of all things, ethics.

The awards also have attracted a row of gamer-friendly sponsors, including Burger King, GameStop, Energizer, Verizon Wireless and the Army, according to Spike.

But the network does not allow game publishers to sponsor the program. Publishers also are not allowed to place game ads near a segment of the show where their titles are nominated. Jeff Lucas, an executive vice president for ad sales for MTV Networks, said the rules were enforced to “maintain our editorial credibility.”

These rules mirror the policies for other award shows. For decades, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not allow commercials for forthcoming movies during the Oscars, to avoid any appearance of undue influence. Beginning with the 2009 show, each distributor will be able to buy one commercial in the show.

That's fantastic. As a judge for the awards I'm very happy to hear that Spike is not only taking the issue of ethics seriously, but researching what other awards shows are doing and following in their footsteps.

The VGAs may have had its share of issues, and some of them may even still exist, but you can't say it's not improving every year.

Video Games Awards, and Sneak Previews