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The Steam Awards 2023 results are out and they’re a meme

Those are some funny choices
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The results of the Steam Awards 2023 voting are out and are making gamers question the taste of their comrades-in-keyboards. While some categories received very reasonable – one might even say “correct” – winners, such as Baldur’s Gate 3 for Game of the Year, Lethal Company for Better With Friends, and Dave the Diver for Sit Back and Relax, almost everything else reads like a complete meme.

Please read this official description for the Most Innovative Gameplay Award: “The designers of this game are at the front lines of creative experimentation, bringing a fresh perspective and brain-breaking surprises. This game delighted, inspired and entertained with newness never played before.”

Artwork showing a trophy featuring the Steam logo.

The Meme Awards 2023 would be a more appropriate name.

People voted for Starfield to receive this award. Yes, the game that was ripped for using game design that would have already felt outdated half a decade ago in many eyes. One has to hope that people didn’t mean their vote for this one seriously.

This is not the only strange decision. Red Dead Redemption 2, which by players is widely being regarded as having been abandoned by Rockstar in favor of GTA Online, won the Labor of Love Award for post-launch support. People voting for it in this category likely intended for this to be a dig at the developer – and while anything goes in a public vote, that just feels like the wrong way to protest.

Not only did this rob legitimate contenders of the chance to win a deserved honor, one has to question if the team at Rockstar is going to be all too sad about some free advertising. One has to imagine that they’ll dry their tears with the dollars that GTA Online shark cards are printing for them while they’re updating their marketing materials with another accolade that people ignorant of this context will take seriously. That definitely showed them!

Hogwarts Legacy winning the Best Game on Steam Deck Award is another one that boggles the mind. This category probably came down to a popularity contest with the biggest name winning? The same has to be the case with The Last Of Us Part 1 winning Best Soundtrack – not that the game’s OST is bad in any way, but there is no way it should beat some of the other nominations in that discipline.

Part of the problem is that the nominations for the Steam Awards are determined by the public as well, which obviously favors popular games with established fan bases, but also makes the awards highly susceptible to organized trolling efforts like the one that propelled Red Dead Redemption 2 to victory in the Labor of Love category – and at that point you might as well scrap the whole thing as being even more meaningless than awards already are.

Steam Awards 2023: all winners

  • Game of the Year Award: Baldur's Gate 3
  • VR Game of the Year Award: Labyrinthine
  • Labor of Love Award: Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Best Game on Steam Deck Award: Hogwarts Legacy
  • Better With Friends Award: Lethal Company
  • Outstanding Visual Style Award: Atomic Heart
  • Most Innovative Gameplay Award: Starfield
  • Best Game You Suck At Award: SIFU
  • Best Soundtrack Award: The Last of Us Part 1
  • Outstanding Story-Rich Game Award: Baldur's Gate 3
  • Sit Back and Relax Award: Dave the Diver