Jul 20, 2009

ELAN Awards Moving to Los Angeles?

By Paul Hunter

NextGen Player readers are probably quite familiar with our extensive coverage of the ELAN Awards. What can I say? It's very Canadian and very much about video games. It's a natural fit for us.

That's why I'm a little ambivalent to read a news report on The Straight indicating that the ELAN Award producer, Holly Carinci, is contemplating moving this event to Los Angeles. I say ambivalent because as much as I want the annual awards show to remain a Canadian event, I do understand her plight.

Since its conception in 2006, the ELAN Awards have been hosted in Vancouver. It's a growing event that used to focus exclusively on Canadian video game developers. This year it opened its nominations to the international community, and attracted a sizable number of developers from California. As large as the B.C. video game industry is, it's hard to compete with the likes of California, a state home to such juggernauts as Activision Blizzard, Disney Interactive, EA, Infinity Ward, Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, Nintendo, Sega, and SCEA.

Add to the fact that Los Angeles has the necessary infrastructure to support Holly's goal of making the ELAN Awards the "Oscars" of the video game industry. For example, a natural *dream* location for the ELANs I'm sure would be the grand Kodak Theatre.

With all that said, I wish the award show would stay in Canada. This country's video game industry is already third in the world, and our influence on the global gaming market has been steadily increasing over the years. To me, it's a natural fit to have video games largest annual award show happening right here at home.


Clinton said...

I feel the same way. It seems like their new strategy is to "go big or go home". While I've always thought of the ELAN Awards as a distinctly Canadian event, they do have a higher chance of expanding their audience in the US. On the flip side, they are also likelier to fail more spectacularly.

The US already has a couple established players in the video game award show market, so if anything they would be facing an uphill battle.

Although it's sad to think a homegrown production like the ELAN could change it's HQ across the border, I'm still pulling for them to succeed.

CraigB said...

I agree; and I don't think the move is necessarily a good idea.

If it moves to California, it's only going to end up competing for mindshare with huge events like E3 and GDC. People will see Elan, notice the smaller scale and tighter focus, and think "meh, not worth it". It'll be more accessible to the big companies, but that very accessibility will render it an ignored also-ran.

Instead, think "Sundance" or "Cannes"; a separate, unique event that gains cachet precisely because it isn't in the usual places with the usual folks. The Vancouver (and, likely, Toronto and Montreal) developers will have a greater incentive to go there simply because it's an obvious showcase for Canadian games, and the Californians will get that sense of importance and novelty that comes from actually going somewhere.

Heck, if it stays small, that can easily be re-read as "exclusive". That might be attractive in-and-of itself.

Anonymous said...

The goal of Ms. Carinci and her Elan awards show is nothing short of her personal financial gain. She is running a scam in taking sponsorship dollars into her own bank account and investing very little of it back into the actual awards, leaning instead on the ability to keep going to the same well for even more funds. The idea of the US market is but a new set of victims for her to rob blind.

I hope to see it fail if she has anything to do with its future!

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