The Disappointing Silence of Geoff Keighley

In the realm of video games, 2023 has undeniably been a great year in terms of quality game releases. However, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the devastating impact this year has had on the individuals responsible for creating these games. According to estimates, between six and seven thousand workers in the industry have lost their jobs in 2023 alone. No studio, regardless of its size or success, has been spared from this troubling wave of layoffs. The unfortunate reality is that those who have been let go now find themselves competing for a dwindling number of available job openings, exacerbating an already challenging situation. Jakin Vela, the executive director of the International Game Developers Association, aptly described this period as one of the most volatile in the last 15 years.

While it is essential to note that Geoff Keighley is not directly responsible for these layoffs, his influential position as a prominent figure in the gaming industry brings with it a degree of responsibility. Keighley has a duty to recognize and address the working conditions under which the games celebrated at his events are created. In 2021, when Activision Blizzard faced a harassment lawsuit, Keighley took a stand by declaring that the company would not make an appearance at his show. He vocally condemned abuse, harassment, and predatory practices. Additionally, he acknowledged the power and visibility of his platform as a catalyst for change. This demonstration of empathy and commitment to a safer, more inclusive environment was commendable.

Throughout this year’s Game Awards, both Keighley and developers passionately emphasized the profound impact video games have on our culture and their potential to shape minds and broaden perspectives. Although developers were given limited opportunities to speak before being abruptly cut off or interrupted, the underlying message was clear – video games are reliant on the dedicated individuals who bring them to life. Unfortunately, these individuals are currently facing unprecedented suffering on a large scale. Thus, to overlook or disregard their struggles, especially after acknowledging the power of his platform, reflects either a failure to fulfill his responsibilities or, at worst, outright cowardice. It is particularly disheartening given Keighley’s prior engagement with and understanding of the broader video game community, extending beyond mere promotion and camaraderie.

Celebrating video games and recognizing the achievements of those involved cannot occur without taking into account the human labor behind them. Video games are not merely products; they are the culmination of countless hours of dedication, creativity, and passion from developers. As such, it is crucial to memorialize the struggles faced by these individuals. By doing so, Keighley would not only honor their contributions but also create a dialogue that highlights the urgent need for improved working conditions and support within the gaming industry.

While 2023 may indeed be a standout year for the quality of games, it cannot be divorced from the hardships endured by the people responsible for their creation. Geoff Keighley, as a prominent figure in the gaming industry, possesses a unique platform and an opportunity to shed light on these issues. His silence on the matter stands in stark contrast to his previous acknowledgments of the industry’s challenges and his commitment to inspiring change. It is disheartening to witness his apparent disregard for the suffering of game developers in a year that should mark a celebration of their achievements. Moving forward, it is crucial for figures like Keighley to recognize and address the pressing problems faced by the industry, ensuring that both the games and the people behind them are truly celebrated.


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