Its the end of the year which means that a lot of GOTY and other awards are being handed out. These can often mean a lot to a developer. It gives them prestige and generate hype for when they want to release a complete edition of their games. Instead of calling it complete edition they can now call it GOTY edition, which gives the game a seal of approval that can help drive some extra sales.
But looking at how a lot of the big awards are given out, I see 2 huge issues:
- Fan voting.
This essentially turns everything into a popularity contest. Its why GTA 5 wins so many Steam awards, it has a lot of players on Steam. I think most of can agree that GTA 5 doesn't have the best post launch support, but it still won labor of love. CoD just won Golden Joystick award for best esport despite their scene constantly having troubles and being no where near the level of something like CSGO, Dota 2 or LoL.
I don't like fan voting, but if you really want it, then at least allow ranked voting. Because so many games are so similar it splits the vote and gives an advantage to games like GTA 5 which doesn't have a lot of competitors. I watch LoL and also Dota 2. Some years I prefer dota's show, sometimes LoL's. Most of my moba playing friends are like this which splits the vote. That allows CoD to win because their playerbase might not be interested in other games.
- Industry bias:
Right now the industry loves narrative experiences, so naturally that's now one of the leading categories. The old format of having a category for each game genre and a GOTY is being replaced with catagories like "best narrative", "best character", and "best lead dev" because now we want to praise lead devs like they are film directors. This leads to situations like The Game Awards nominating TLOU 2 for 9 awards, because the awards are being shaped to meet the industry trends.
This also means that unpopular genres are being left behind. TGA has combined simulation and strategy into one genre. Excuse my language, but how the fuck do I compare Microsoft Flight Simulator to Crusader Kings 3?
In addition, the indie game award is completely meaningless now. 2 of the games have a publisher, the others are made by devs who already are successful. How are actual 1-5 man indie teams supposed to compete with that?
Community support is another popularity contest. Apex Legends and Destiny has tons of issues, Fall Guys has had little in terms of updates, and Valorant is barely out yet. There are so many other games that actually have done tons for their communities. Total Warhammer 2 is still overhauling races and constantly listening to feedback, and their community manager is great at responding. But it isn't popular, so no nomination.
What is the point of these awards if they are just about popularity? Why not actually try to recognise games that actually did something extraordinary?
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