Well here we are, and it’s been one hell of a year. Between COVID-19 lockdowns, electronic shortages, panic shopping, and many other things that happened this will be a year for the history books. It doesn’t surprise me that even my own game awards have changed drastically due to the video game landscape shifting. I’ll explain what categories have been excluded and why, what has been added, and the overall view of video games this year.
Let’s start with what’s been removed. The biggest change we saw this year was the lack of console exclusives. These are what usually drive sales of systems, especially with a new generation of hardware launching, and there was a serious lack of them. For another year Xbox One has been excluded and it will remain that way since this is the year Microsoft announced all exclusives will be on the Xbox Series X. With a lack of handhelds this year that entire category is gone most likely forever. We have seen the dawn and dusking of dedicated handhelds, but I am also excluding mobile awards this year. Over the years mobile games’ quality has declined and there are maybe only a couple a year. The microtransaction heavy shovelware is in full force this year. Even the iOS and Android reddit pages have almost jumped ship due to this. The mobile landscape is a hot mess indeed.
With all that said, that leaves the PS4, Switch, and PC and this wasn’t the best year for exclusives for any system. Not to mention PS5 and XSX launch games were mostly ports and upgrades. This is a strange year for exclusives as we are in an in between where only a few big budget ones released and then mostly smaller ones. I am also excluding a few achievement categories such as music as there weren’t enough games whose music blew me away like previous years. Fighting games are also excluded as there just wasn’t much. It was a sad year for fighting games and every single heavy hitter was also absent outside of continued DLC. Puzzle games are also out as it was a lackluster year. Mostly just small tiny budget games that didn’t make much off an impact.
The only category I added was Best Single Player game. Single player games are making a huge comeback as gamers are getting tired of online multiplayer features never evolving. I’m actually really happy about this as we saw a ton of great single player only games this year. This year was also a heavy year of botched releases. Cyberpunk 2077, Watch Dogs Legion, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Fallout 76 Wastelanders, Horizon: Zero Dawn Complete Edition, Crysis Remastered, the list goes on! This is one of the worst years for buggy releases I have ever seen and it doesn’t seem to be trending downward.
With that said this was still a great year for gaming, and hopefully after the lockdowns lift more games can be released on a timely manner. It’s been an odd year for software and hardware developers around the world.