Over the past couple of weeks, Steam users have had the opportunity to nominate their favorite games of 2019 for consideration in this year's Steam Awards. The nomination window is now closed, which means that it will soon be time to announce the final nominees across eight categories—slowly.
The plan is to reveal one nominee per day, beginning today with the Outstanding Visual Art category and concluding on December 18 with the finalists for the Game of the Year category. Voting will begin on December 19, which—not coincidentally—is also when the 2019 Steam Holiday Sale begins. So we can consider that confirmed, too.
Steam Award nominations will be revealed via video at steampowered.com. There are eight categories in this year's Steam Awards, four returning from previous years and four brand new:
- Game of the Year: Maybe it was its immersive gameplay, or its gripping story... its well-crafted characters, immaculate design, or addictive multiplayer. Whatever the reason, the winner of 2019's Game of the Year Award is an instant classic.
- VR Game of the Year: When it comes to breaking new ground in games, there is no greater pace of advancement than in VR. If we had our way, all VR devs would get an award for building the future of immersive games and experiences unparalleled by any other medium. But since there’s only one trophy, it’s up to you, Steam Awards Selection Committee member, to crown just one as the best of 2019.
- Labor of Love: This game has been out for a while. The team is well past the first unveiling of their creative baby, but being the good parents they are, these devs continue to nurture and support their creation. This game, to this day, is still getting new content after all these years.
- Better With Friends: There are some games out there that just aren't the same when you play by yourself. Maybe you need to have a friend to watch your back. Maybe you need to have a friend that you can stab in their back. Either way, mirth is awaiting those who gather friends to play these games.
- Most Innovative Gameplay (New): This game is at the front lines of experimentation, pushing the boundaries of the medium with exciting, novel interactions and brain-breaking surprises. This game thinks outside the box, and pulls you out with it!
- Outstanding Story-Rich Game (New): Some days, only a narrative-heavy game will hit the spot, and this one packs a wallop. It's as gripping as any soap opera, and as well-tuned as a prestige-TV screenplay. Bravissimo -- for making us feel things!
- Best Game You Suck At (New): Games have a way of pushing us past any limits we thought we had. Like a montage sequence, we put in work, training our fingers to be quick and nimble, mastering timing and placement over weeks and weeks. At the end of the gauntlet, we're rewarded with profound beauty and a deep sense of personal growth. Unless you hurled your monitor through a plate-glass window on the first day.
- Outstanding Visual Style (New): These devs are the Willy Wonka of eye candy. Visual style doesn't aspire to real-world graphical fidelity (though a noble goal in itself)… it describes a distinctive look and feel that suffuses an entire game. This game displays visual cohesion and expression that not only fit the game's world, but make our world look paltry by comparison.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.