LOS ANGELES: “Assassin’s Creed” composer Stephanie Economou won the first ever Grammy honoring video game scores at Sunday’s gala in Los Angeles.
Industry players had lobbied for years for a prize celebrating the work behind video game soundtracks, an acknowledgment of the major impact gaming and its music have on pop culture.
In her acceptance speech, Economou — who composed the music for “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn Of Ragnarok” — praised those who had urged the Recording Academy to finally include the category.
Backstage, she said the win felt “incredible.”
“I did not have high hopes for this category because… I am generally very green in the video game music space and up against such giants and veterans,” she said.
For the inaugural award, the other nominees were the composers behind “Aliens: Fireteam Elite,” “Call Of Duty: Vanguard,” “Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy” and “Old World.”
Economou noted that she was the only woman nominated in the category, saying: “I hope it sets precedent and I hope it’s not just one woman in the category each year from here on out.”
Before this year, video games were included in the Score Soundtrack for Visual Media category, which also featured music for film and television.
The global gaming industry may have hit close to $200 billion in 2022, according to a projection from the Global Games Market Report, and a recent Deloitte survey taken across the United States, Britain, Germany, Brazil and Japan said that video games are the top entertainment source for Gen Z.
Many young gamers cite music as integral to the experience, with one third of respondents saying they looked up game music online afterwards, and 29 percent saying they often discovered new music while gaming.
“A lot of them cannot separate the music from a game — and that’s a really exciting opportunity for any composer coming in,” the Los Angeles-based Economou told AFP prior to Sunday’s show.
“A lot of them cannot separate the music from a game — and that’s a really exciting opportunity for any composer coming in,” she said.
The new category “is an important step for people to recognize that video games have been in the zeitgeist for so long now.”