Expectations vs. Reality: How Gamers Predicted the 2020 Game Awards

For those curious to know how players forecasted the 2020 Game Awards, we have all the data you need! From what gamers predicted was the most overrated 2020 Game of the Year candidate to the biggest snub, there's a lot of relevant info into the minds of the average player.

Expectations vs. Reality: How Gamers Predicted the 2020 Game Awards Cover

The Game Awards have cemented themselves as a popular foundation for celebration and, perhaps more notably, debate of video games. A yearly event where a panelist of judges decide upon the best of the best from individual categories based on genre, accessibility, and others. Seeing as the video game industry has grown into the massive market that it has, there will always be predictions and discussion about what will, won’t, or shouldn’t win in such events, with 2020 being no different. Now that the 2020 Game Awards is about a month behind us, let’s look back at some data collected before and after the Awards from normal gamers and see what we can learn from the general gaming populace. See how gamers predicted, and reacted, to the 2020 Game Awards nominees and results, including what came to win Game of the Year.

The following is comprised of data collected through optional polls and viewer responses. What all was collected includes:

  • 2,093 total respondents through 10 questions.
  • Polls spanning roughly a month prior to the 2020 Game Awards and a month afterwards.
Data taken from viewer input about the 2020 Game Awards/Game of the Year.

Data taken from viewer input about the 2020 Game Awards/Game of the Year.

The following is information collected in more detailed form, going over every aspect of the graph listed above. Summarized information and some occasional discussion will also be present. Showcased in the following sections:

  • Best Action Game
  • Best Multiplayer Game
  • Game of the Year
  • Fan Expectations

Best Action Game – Expectations

What players predicted would win Best Action Game.

What players predicted would win Best Action Game.

Action has become so ingrained in human culture that violence in video games has almost become accepted universally as being more fun. When it comes to action, there’s no shortage of games that ramp it up to extreme levels. Take DOOM Eternal for example, which was the clear favorite for taking home the gold in this category. Its entire purpose, present since the franchise’s very beginnings, is ruthlessly slaughtering demonic beasts. With slight tweaks to gameplay and a more elaborative story, it seemed only a BFG shot away from glory, but alas…

The winner of Best Action Game went to indie darling Hades.

Best Action Game – Reality

How players reacted to what won Best Action Game.

How players reacted to what won Best Action Game.

Given the prior results, this bit of information is not totally surprising. With nearly five times the amount of votes as the second-place option, which went to Half-Life: Alyx, DOOM Eternal‘s loss ended up as a huge upset. What’s even more curious is that Half-Life: Alyx, a game only available in VR, finished above Hades, a well-renowned indie title from a developer with big hits in its past. Whether this is an indication of how accessible VR has come or how little reach indie games actually have is hard to say.

Nevertheless, most readers were shocked to see DOOM Eternal lose.

Best Multiplayer Game – Expectations

What players predicted would win Best Multiplayer Game.

What players predicted would win Best Multiplayer Game.

The era of “sus” began in mid-2020, and the firm grip it has on most facets of gaming culture has yet to yield. Technically released in 2018 but nominated for the 2020 Game Awards anyway (for whatever reason), Among Us, like DOOM Eternal before it, was the definitive choice for Best Multiplayer Game, with far more votes than any other option. Call of Duty: Warzone had a more established second spot, yet the simple game of truths and lies won the hearts of many around.

The winner of Best Multiplayer Game did end up going to Among Us.

Best Multiplayer Game – Reality

How players reacted to what won Best Multiplayer Game.

How players reacted to what won Best Multiplayer Game.

What may look like a far lead ends up looking less impressive when all the other choices group up and form a conga line. Despite more “Yes” than “No” answers, the overall results look as if all the people who believed Among Us would win vs. the people who believed everything else would win combined. When it comes down to it, the win was certainly expected, though perhaps not as surefire as one would expect given the popularity of the indie hit.

Nevertheless, most readers correctly predicted an Among Us win.

Game of the Year – Expectations

What players predicted would win Game of the Year.

What players predicted would win Game of the Year.

Much like our own list of the best games from 2020, the choice for what would win Game of the Year came down to two games: Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us Part II. Both games received great praise from both regular players and critics, but there seems to be a disconnect between the two groups regarding one option. Critics loved The Last of Us Part II; many players despised it.

In the end, Ghost of Tsushima ended up the more popular choice, though its lead wasn’t anywhere near the sure-thing as DOOM Eternal or Among Us were. Game of the Year has a lot more nuance of discussion among gamers in what deserves to be the exemplary title of 2020. From these results, one thing is certain: not many believed it would be an indie title.

The winner of Game of the Year was The Last of Us Part II.

Game of the Year – Reality

How players reacted to what won Game of the Year.

How players reacted to what won Game of the Year.

With Ghost of Tsushima being the popular pick for Game of the Year, The Last of Us Part II‘s eventual crowning proved to be a surprise. With as much critical acclaim as Naughty Dog’s latest title received, it’s easy to see in hindsight how it managed to win, given critics weren’t as keen on Ghost of Tsushima.

It’s become a common topic with gamers to say that Ghost of Tsushima was 2020’s “real” Game of the Year, given it won the Player’s Voice category, which is based entirely on viewer voting. When it comes to representing players around the world, there seems to always be a disconnect between those within media and outside of it.

Nevertheless, most gamers didn’t predict The Last of Us Part II to win 2020’s Game of the Year.

Game of the Year – Most Overrated

What players considered the most overrated Game of the Year candidate.

What players considered the most overrated Game of the Year candidate.

What was discussed in the previous section is in full effect here. Despite eventually winning Game of the Year, The Last of Us Part II was overwhelmingly the choice for most overrated candidate for the award. Whatever the reason may be, the game has had a profound effect on the gaming populace, creating a palpable “Love it or hate it” mantra that seems to go unchallenged.

While not as widely chosen, Animal Crossing: New Horizons ended up second place on the list. Releasing just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it offered an escape from reality when many needed it most. Its impact on the gaming community is hard to ignore, and the popularity it gained on social media is also a focal point to its success. When you think about these things in context, its nomination makes sense, but some may have seen this as too superfluous. “Judge the game for the game,” I imagine some would say.

The Last of Us Part II was the game people found most overrated.

Game of the Year – Biggest Snub

What players considered the biggest Game of the Year snub.

What players considered the biggest Game of the Year snub.

The PS5 era started with a bang, with two prime candidates appearing at launch that many considered worthy enough to warrant a Game of the Year candidate. The biggest one ended up as Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the smaller-scope sequel to 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man. Brimming with the same cinematic energy and web-slinging finesse as the original title, it’s much of the same sense of adventure and fun with a different coat of paint, and an ample focus on diversity in characters.

Not too far behind was Demon’s Souls, a remake of the game of the same name, which initially debuted in 2009. Offering a significant graphical boost and relatively similar hardcore-difficulty beats, it’s much of what those fond of Soulsborne games are used to, reborn for current consoles. This and Miles Morales were clear favorites for an already significant fanbase, and the decision not to include them likely raised eyebrows.

In the end, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales was the biggest Game of the Year snub, according to our readers.

Game of the Year – The True Winner?

What players felt deserved to win Game of the Year.

What players felt deserved to win Game of the Year.

Ghost of Tsushima, from all data collected, seemed to be the belle of the ball in last year’s contest. Winning Player’s Voice and leading most categories for Game of the Year predictions, it comes as no surprise that the title should also lead the poll for what readers believed should’ve won. What may be somewhat surprising is just how closely all other options followed.

For example, New Horizons squeaked past DOOM Eternal for second place, despite also being second in the Most Overrated category of our poll. Second place in general here seems to be a near-three-way tie. The only clear last place finish went to Hades, which didn’t score well with other polls regardless.

Nevertheless, a majority of gamers believe Ghost of Tsushima deserved to win.

Did the Game Awards Results Meet Fan Expectations?

How players reacted to the 2020 Game Awards results.

How players reacted to the 2020 Game Awards results.

Someone shield Geoff Keighley’s eyes. According to our readers, the outcomes to the awards presented at the 2020 Game Awards weren’t satisfactory, to say the least. If not for some surprise announcements and some interesting commercials, there wouldn’t be much to tune in for.

It’s unclear just how much of it was unsatisfactory, however. This could be backlash solely to the Game of the Year winner, or it could be an accumulation of everything that won and everything that was shown. Whatever this entails, viewers were expecting more when they sat and watched for three-plus hours.

In the end, the 2020 Game Awards were a disappointment to readers.

The Game Awards 2020 Official Stream (4K) - Video Game's Biggest Night Live!
What did you think of the 2020 Game Awards? Were the results provided by our study surprising to you? Let us know in the comments below!
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