The problem with publicly voted video game awards is that a straight popularity contest overwhelmingly favours games with large marketing budgets and online communities. That's why there are few surprises among the winners of this year's Steam Awards, which were announced today.
The Steam Awards is an annual event in which the community decides on the best games of the year, voting on categories like “Outstanding Story-Rich Game” and “Better With Friends.” The poll has been running for six years now, with previous Game of the Year winners including PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Red Dead Redemption 2. Rather than your typical gaming award categories, though—Best RPG, Best Fighting Game, things like that—the Steam Awards have often consisted of funnily-named contests like 2016's The “Villain Most In Need Of A Hug” Award and 2017's The “Haunts My Dreams” Award. Ever since 2019, the “Best Game You Suck At” Award has been part of the proceedings, and Mortal Kombat 11, Apex Legends, and Nioh 2 have all won it over the years.
Many of these award-winning games including Elden Ring and Death Stranding along with thousands of others are still available at impressive discounts thanks to the Steam Winter Sale which will continue until January 5, so there's still some time to see what all the fuss is about.
Here's the complete list of winners:
Game Of The Year: Elden Ring
VR Game Of The Year: Hitman 3
Labor Of Love: Cyberpunk 2077
Better With Friends: Raft
Outstanding Visual Style: Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Most Innovative Gameplay: Stray
Best Game You Suck At: Elden Ring
Best Soundtrack: Final Fantasy VII Remake Entergrade
Outstanding Story-Rich Game: God Of War
Sit Back And Relax: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Best Game On The Go: Death Stranding Director's Cut
This is, I think, the most boring list imaginable. It's not that they're bad games - they're not! - but they're the most obvious blockbusters imaginable. Four of them are former PlayStation exclusives! Only three of these 11 awards have gone to games first released in 2022! Was Stray's "innovative gameplay" that it gave the cat a gun?
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