BAFTA Games Awards switch from live ceremony to livestream 

BAFTA has confirmed it’s revising the format on its upcoming Games Awards in light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a brief statement to press the organisers said the show would change from a “red carpet ceremony” to an online livestream broadcast on the same day as the original live show: Thursday, April 2nd, 2020.

“The health and wellbeing of our guests and our staff remain our top priority, so there will be no live audience and we are now in the process of informing all our nominees, guests, partners and suppliers of the change,” BAFTA said. “The new format will include the announcement of the Games Awards winners and we look forward to sharing more updates in the coming weeks.”

At the time of writing, this year’s British Academy Television Craft Awards and Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards are scheduled to go ahead on April 24th and May 17th respectively but BAFTA says it is “monitoring the situation daily and decisions regarding these and other events in our year-round programme will be made on a case-by-case basis”.

Less than a week ago, organisers of E3 – the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) – insisted it was continuing to “plan for a safe and successful” show later this year whilst “actively assessing” the coronavirus outbreak. Now E3 2020 expo has been cancelled.

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) has also been indefinitely postponed, and while attendees can expect a refund in full and those who had made hotel reservations via the organisation will be able to cancel without penalty, developers who’ve arranged their own accommodation might still be open to cancellation fees. A number of publishers have teamed up to create GDC Relief Fund to assist indie devs who may have lost money on paying in advance for the now-cancelled GDC. 

Kojima Productions, Sony, EA, and Facebook – which owns Oculus – first pulled out of GDC, as did Microsoft, Epic, and Unity. The city of San Francisco – the city that was set to host the upcoming GDC conference next month – had also declared a “local health emergency” over coronavirus. A state of emergency has also be declared in Los Angeles.

Both Bungie, Microsoft and most recently Nintendo have implemented mandatory home working in a bid to protect staff from COVID-19 in the worst-affected cities in the US, and both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled scheduled live events.

For more on this story read our take on how E3’s cancellation will impact the industry’s ability to communicate this year.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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