So the question I would pose to readers is this: Do you buy a book or game, or have a greater degree of interest in it because it won an award?
A perfect example would be the American film industry’s Academy Awards. Regularly, film buffs are given a second chance to see the films once the nominations are announced, as film distributors and theaters often bring some nominated films back into theaters to help drive buzz surrounding those films. Giving a film greater exposure than it would ordinarily have had is priceless promotion, and can mean the difference between success and failure, financially speaking.
This is the heart of what awards are really for: Marketing. Most awards claim they intend to honor exceptional quality using whatever metric is deemed appropriate, but my take is that in actual practice, awards are about trying to convince people to buy something.
Another question, this one directed at all of you out there who’ve won awards for projects with which you’ve been involved, is do the awards help sales directly? Is there perhaps an intangible push after the fact, where people remember that you won an award and look for future releases from you?
My personal experience in the gaming industry is that the awards don’t really create new customers. Perhaps they convince someone who was on the fence, but they don’t inspire anyone to check out your work sight unseen. Does this jibe with your experiences too?
As a writer, I can honestly say that awards are an important boost to the ego. For the most part writers labor in solitude, and most rarely hear feedback about their work. Winning an award not only says someone noticed your work, but also that they appreciate it, and feel it was of sufficient caliber to be recognized publicly. Sometimes it seems like there are too many awards out there, or that they don’t reward anything other than mediocrity, but just raising awareness of who and what is out there strikes me as reason enough for awards to happen.