It might not be the most prestigious of video game honors, but Valve’s yearly Steam Awards has its own distinct role to play in the video gaming industry. This year is no different, as Steam set and broke its own record for concurrent players multiple times all throughout 2020. A swing toward digital gaming happened thanks to mandatory stay at home procedures from the global pandemic, and Steam was a major recipient.
The Steam Awards Game of the Year, the event’s biggest reward, has been given to Red Dead Redemption 2. While the game technically released on PC back in 2019, it still fits into this year’s consideration window because of an offset schedule.
Red Dead Redemption 2 won over popular games such as Hades, Fall Guys, Doom Eternal, and Death Stranding, all high-quality releases and some of Steam’s most famous and highest-grossing games of the year.
Also significantly featured is the Steam Awards’ VR Game of the Year, for obvious reasons. The winner was Valve’s own Half-Life: Alyx, the much-awaited sequel to the superbly famous Half-Life series. Half-Life: Alyx did have a few tough competition, however. The hit multiplayer horror game Phasmophobia was also nominated along with Thief Simulator, The Room VR: A Dark Matter, and Star Wars: Squadrons.
Eight other glamorous awards were given during the 2020 Steam Awards event. Labor of Love, the award given to live service games, went to Valve’s own Counter-Strike: Global offensive. Meanwhile, the multiplayer Better With Friends award was given to Fall Guys.
The Outstanding Visual Style was awarded to Ori and the Will of the Wisps while the Outstanding Story-Rich Game also went to Red Dead Redemption 2. Most Innovative went to Death Stranding, Best Soundtrack was awarded to Doom Eternal, Best Game You Suck At was awarded to Apex Legends, and the Sit Back and Relax Award was won by The Sims 4.
The Steam Awards are bizarre in how they do nominations. Players have the ability to nominate games, but Steam will still decide the games that will enter the five finalists in each category. Steam players will then decide the winners from those options and as such Valve has a considerable amount of control over the process. Several categories appear to allow for older titles, while others don’t.
For those interested in revenue and sales from the recently concluded year, Steam revealed this information just a few days ago. The bestselling Steam games launched in 2020 include Fall Guys, Doom Eternal, and Cyberpunk 2077.
The service’s most-played games also include the three aforementioned games, as well as a few surprises such as Life is Strange 2. Regardless, it was still a great year for Steam and the video game community at large, despite having a very frustrating year in general.