Genshin Impact emerges victorious in the bitter Game Awards war against Sonic Frontiers

The Game Awards was such a bizarre fever dream this year. The show alone housed an eight-minute acceptance speech straight off the bat. Then there was the stage-crasher who appeared during Elden Ring's GOTY speech and somehow wasn't immediately booted off. Perhaps the weirdest thing throughout all this, though, has been the bitter fight between the Genshin Impact and Sonic fandoms over the ceremony's most pointless award: the Players' Voice.

Despite the category whittling down to five games by its final round, it didn't matter. Elden Ring? Irrelevant. Never heard of it. God of War Ragnarok? Who is she? Stray, Minecraft, Sifu, MultiVersus, Cult of the Lamb… nothing but collateral damage in the war between waifus and speedy hedgehogs. Reddit posts were made, internet fingers were pointed and lifelong virtual rivalries were formed. 

The whole thing started as a surprising representation of two communities' adoration for the games they spent so much time with. Sonic Frontiers fans wanted the game to get the recognition they felt it deserved, having earned zero juror nominations across any category. In Genshin Impact's case, it's unsurprising that a community boasting around 60 million active players was causing the vote to weigh pretty heavily in their favour. Regardless, Sonic Frontiers came out on top for the first two rounds, with Genshin following closely behind.

The third round is when things started to take a turn and the war between fans began. The two communities began to point fingers at each other, accusing one another of using bots to skew the votes. Despite both sides wanting to show enthusiasm for their respective games, things turned a tad sour and insults were flung around. Sonic fans accused Genshin fans of being bribed to vote, while Genshin fans pointed out that artwork of Sonic characters beating the shit out of Genshin characters had begun circulating during a Chinese day of mourning, which spurred the country's fans into mass voting. There have also been accusations of the Sonic fandom expressing racist or xenophobic remarks towards Genshin players.

Well, things are finally over, and it seems not even Sonic's ultra-passionate community could stop the Genshin Impact train. During The Game Awards, Geoff Keighley awkwardly laughed through the "100% fan-voted category" nominees, adding "you guys were very busy voting the past few days." He even threw in a sly jab at the bot accusations, all but confirming some foul play had taken place. "Once we took out all the bot votes, the game award goes to Genshin Impact."

I say things are over, but taunts from both sides are still incoming. The Sonic subreddit is looking pretty hunkered down now, with mods quickly cleaning up toxic posts and comments and many of its top posts are currently locked. I also spied a few tweets of Genshin fans teasing the Sonic community for allegedly starting the whole beef, claiming the blue blur would've taken the crown if fans had stayed quiet.

Now listen, I'm apathetic to all this. I've played and enjoyed Genshin and I've played and enjoyed Sonic games. I'm a fence-sitter—I can barely pick a pair of socks in the morning let alone side with one of two equally frightening fan bases. But it's a shame to see two clearly passionate sets of fans going against one another in increasingly mean ways. The Game Awards—and especially the Players' Voice vote—are a bit of fun at the end of the day, and I'm sure many fans cross over into both communities and won't appreciate the ongoing beef. It's locked now, but I hope this nice bit of artwork of Sonic and Lumine hanging out will remind people why we love these games in the first place.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.