Steam has been running its own publicly sourced award ceremony, resulting in Red Dead Redemption 2 winning the 2020 Game of the Year Steam Award.
The Steam awards are unique among the various award events because they are entirely publicly sourced. Players vote on their favorite games for multiple categories and the results are decided by popular vote instead of through critical perception.
The strange quirks of the Steam Awards
Because the Steam Awards are totally democratized they can end up with some strange results, often looking more like a popularity contest than one based on merit. The only limitation on what players can vote on is that the game in question must have been released on Steam during that particular award period.
This is why the Steam Awards can have particularly strange results, such as a two year old game winning game of the year long after critical opinion regarding Rockstar’s game design formula has soured.
Red Dead Redemption 2 winning Game of the Year two years after its release shows the importance of making games accessible to the PC crowd. While consoles will always be the most accessible way to play games, many gamers have moved towards PC gaming for one reason or another, and many are perfectly willing to wait for an adequate port, albeit with some grumbling.
Red Dead Redemption 2 winning isn’t the end of it
Like any good awards show, the Steam Awards don’t stop at just Game of the Year. This year, Steam created its own unique categories, hoping to prompt their user base to think differently about their games.
It comes as no surprise that Half-Life: Alyx won VR Game of the Year, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive took the prize for being a Labor of Love. Death Stranding made an appearance as the Most Innovative Game of 2020, something which rang true in spite of the game’s negative reviews.
These extra categories at least partly show what Steam users are playing, and what the many millions of players consider to be innovation or well written. In this regard, Red Dead Redemption managed to take the prize for Outstanding Story-Rich Game as well, something which is certainly in line with Rockstar’s reputation for game writing.
Altogether, these winners should definitely feel proud that the wider Steam user base saw fit to vote for them, though they should be seen through the lens of mass appeal rather than critical achievement.Published 04 Jan 2021, 04:07 IST