Friday Debate: should “Early Access” games like PUBG be up for Game of the Year?

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FridayGOTY

As we head towards the end of the year of our lootbox lord 2017, we begin to head in to “Game of the Year Award Season.” The first to kick off is arguably the most “official” of the lot, The Game Awards. As usual, there are five games up for nomination as the best game of 2017.

It’s caused a bit of consternation and controversy – because one of the five games is not like the others.

For reference, the games are:

  • Horizon: Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)
  • Persona 5 (Atlus)
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG Corp.)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

All of those games are single player affairs, with the sole outlier here being PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – which is a multiplayer only game. That’s not the only differentiator, nor what’s caused the controversy. No, rather it’s the fact that PUBG is still technically an Early Access game – and many contend that it shouldn’t even be up for consideration.

Some argue that it’s being released properly in mid-December, and thus should be eligible. Others assert that it’s a beta, and could change heavily once it’s released, making its inclusion a mockery.

Me? I absolutely think that PUBG deserves the nomination, if not necessarily the win. It’s a game that millions of people have been playing for the better part of a year now; is the best, most tense and exciting pure multiplayer experience you can have right now; and it’s changed the industry, with a billion or so other Battle Royale styled games now vying for a slice of that pie.

Read  PlayerUnknown’s Battleground is having a terrible time running on Xbox One

As for the argument that it could change – becoming more predatory in its microtransactions – between now and release? Moot. Many games are services now, and almost “live” games change once they’re out. The beloved Rocket League added Lootboxes and microtransactions a year after it was out. Just this morning, Star Wars Battlefront II had its microtransactions (temporarily!) yanked out. Games can change whether they’re in beta, early access or well after they’ve been released.

Discounting what you may or may not feel about PUBG itself, do you think that games that have yet to be officially released should be up for GOTY awards?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: November 17, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief

    Considering how much concurrent players it has, and the popularity, then absolutely yes.

    If CoD or ANY EA game is mentioned, that person should be shot, repeatedly, and then the corpse should be burned, and the ashes should be frozen, and shot into a red dwarf, and the red dwarf should be caused to go supernova by a small, but powerful dark matter bomb, that will be fueled by the hate by all the true games who hate everything gaming has become

  • Magoo

    No. It’s an award for the developer. If the developer doesn’t have the balls to “release” their game and take on all the hardship that comes with it, they don’t deserve to win the award.

  • Hammersteyn

    Game of the Year Awards are silly. It pisses 90% of the people off because their precious wasn’t picked. Or you get exclusive games that win like Bloodborne, The Last of Us or Mario. Games that other people can’t play because they bought the wrong console. Or heaven forbid another COD game.

    • Admiral Chief

      Also true

    • so you’re saying that some games, because they’re exclusive, shouldnt win – because some people can;t play them? Then no games should win, because many people can;t play them at all.

      • Hammersteyn

        It creates division among gamers. There’s two PS exclusives and two from Nintendo on the list and one that’s on PC and XBOX.

        • JacoZAB

          Then Microsoft should pull up their socks and make good games. Look at Scalebound they cancelled, I am sure that would have been awesome. Like I said before, Breath of the Wild should win, Nintendo looked at the Zelda formula and completely changed most mechanics. It’s a fun game and after 200 hours I am still discovering new things. That is the type of game that should win

          • Captain JJ

            Why MS? Their games haven’t been available on pc for years.

          • JacoZAB

            Sorry, i was actually referring to XBox, PC has awesome games that deserve to be game of the year like Divinity: Original Sin 2

          • Captain JJ

            Oh yea. I agree. They really should just split it up into platforms. It makes better sense. Or split consoles and pc, because certain styles of games that you get on pc don’t even exist on console, like Grand Strategies and turn based RPGs like Divinity.

          • JacoZAB

            Agreed, at the end of the day it all comes down to your own preference. You might think COD is game of the year and i think it should be Zelda. People’s tasted vary…

          • Captain JJ

            Yes for sure, and goty will always be some of the most played games because they’ve received the most feedback and attention. I just feel like some games might be unfairly overlooked.

          • JacoZAB

            Definitely, I personally think Sundered was overlooked this year. It might have been repetitive in some parts, but man, that art was awesome

      • Captain JJ

        I get what Hammer is saying in part. The Last of Us might have been an excellent game, I don’t know. It can win GOTY for PS and that’s fine I have no problem with it. As a game of the year overall, The Last of Us means nothing to me who can’t play it.
        And your last statement I disagree with. That’s like saying we shouldn’t have car of the year because not everyone drives a car.

        • Hammersteyn

          Perhaps have a best exclusive category for each platform?

          • Captain JJ

            I have no issue with that. To be honest, Game of the Year usually doesn’t get my attention anyway, so it doesn’t affect me, but that could even be because most of the time it’s games that I’ve never played and possibly never will.

          • Matthew Holliday

            Split the categories even more and there wont be any competition.
            How many PS or Xbox exclusives are there a year?
            And how many of those would even be worthy of a nomination?

            Competition is healthy for the market.
            Its a comment on the platform aswell as the game,
            I think the need for choosing an overarching winner is important.

            Thinking specifically on The Last of Us, its hard to dispute its quality, that game deserved its nominations/wins.
            I didnt play it, (No playstation) but even I can see that.
            HZD and zelda aswell, both look quality.
            But I couldnt give a shit about mario or persona, they look like diversity picks to me.

          • Hammersteyn

            I’m just saying you get comments sections and Twitter filled with salt if there’s one clear winner. I want gamers to celebrate these awards, not fight among themselves about which brand is better.

          • Matthew Holliday

            Why cant we all just get along?
            Thats asking alot.

          • Hammersteyn

            It is unfortunately.

        • gam3jaxx

          Good reply, it can win game of the year for Switch, but not overall, but if you need to be this high to enter believe exclusives for XBOX one and PS4 should go up against each other, that allows them to compete against each other, push the boundaries and make better games at the end of the day…

      • gam3jaxx

        I agree for Nintedo consoles, if you look at the percentage sold against PC, XBOX and vs Wii and Switch (Switch is looking better but not yet) but if Mario and Legend of Zelda wins everything like it did with E3, yes it is going to ruin everyone’s new year again.

        • gam3jaxx

          I have both consoles because there are brilliant games on both consoles, does make the console war battle a bit boring 🙂

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Only games with an official release before the nominations cut-off date should be eligible for GOTY in that year. The base game is feature complete and released. The fact that the game can change due to DLC is irrelevant, the GOTY isn’t judged on DLC, it’s judged on the base game. An early access or beta isn’t even complete.

    • Magoo

      In laymans terms, IT’S NOT EVEN A GAME YET

    • Oh man… I… Ag… Agree with you!

    • Yondaime

      AGREE

  • No and it should not even have lootboxes in. Let the cow become an adult first before you start milking it.

    • Hammersteyn

      But if it stays in Early Access they can take their sweet time fixing bugs.

      • The second the lootboxes came into the picture I quit that game then and there.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          You need to git lut

        • Hammersteyn

          It’s still amazes me that people buy games that’s in early access, I mean do they buy cars without doors?

          • Early access I have no pains with, I buy mostly early access games and most of them are a dream to play. But then the corruption came. Indie dev’s became mini EA’s

          • Hammersteyn

            Meh, I draw the line at paying to Beta test other people’s work.

          • Take ARK for instance, I payed R160 on the first day. Put 100+ hours into it and loved it all. Sure now its a mockery and the dev’s are snakes with the game costing R1200. But the time I spent in early access was amazing.

          • Hammersteyn

            At least you got your monies worth.

          • More than enough worth xD

      • Captain JJ

        On the flip side you get guys like the bad bunch who developed ARK and released a clearly unfinished game just out of haste.

  • Magoo

    Maybe I’m just biased because I don’t think that PUBG deserves GOTY for a number of reasons. It’s fun and it’s popular. But on a more critical level: It is terribly optimized. The graphics are generic. The concept and mechanics of the game are not original (blatant copy pasta, actually.) The developers have not done much to put money back into the game.

  • MonsterCheddar
    • OneLargeBanana

      Short and sweet, the Cheddar does it again!

  • The Noob

    “Early Access” is just a fancy word developers learned recently that they slap on their fully released games to cover their own behinds against criticism if they need to fix bugs later or to release extra content without calling it DLC. Big companies don’t have this luxury, but is there really any difference?

    AAA releases get patches to fix bugs. Games like Dota2, LoL and Overwatch balance their games often with patches. Are these early access as well, as it’s not the final form of the game?

    So in short: Early Access is simply a fancy term slapped on a released game, so it should be eligible to criticism and awards like any other game without this term slapped on them.

    • Magoo

      You’re saying that selling a game in early access has mostly malicious intent in avoiding the hardships that come with releasing a full game, but it should be allowed to reap the rewards of the latter?

  • Pieter Kruger

    Sure why not? It’s a game you can buy and play not? I mean we’re actually reviewing DLC as if they’re new games so why not this?

  • Original Heretic

    Look at the impact PUBG has had. For that alone it deserves to be on the list.

    Will it win? Personally, I doubt that. Regardless of how many people out there are playing it, it’s still very rough. A well-polished game should take that honour.

  • Captain JJ

    No, absolutely not. It’s not a game yet until it’s fully released and in final form. I’m all for supporting good Early Access games, but to me they are not finished products yet and should not be treated as such…that’s pretty much what Early Access means.

    • Hammersteyn

      Agreed

  • Game of the year should be Fishing Planet in my opinion. Runner up is Farming Sim 2018

    • Captain JJ

      of course 😀

      • It’s the only logical choice. It’s the game I spent most time in this year.

        • Captain JJ

          I think Stardew Valley co-op should win so long…even before it’s out 😛

          • I forgot!

            Yes, Stardew should win because MP is coming out later.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      You spelled Hellblade wrong.

      • miaau

        You spelt Uncharted Legacy wrong

        Not that I played it

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          No I didn’t. Hellblade. See?

          • miaau

            Hellblade.

            not that I played it.

    • miaau

      Halo Wars Definitive edition, currently playing the campaign is not a contender at all, but is a load of fun.

    • OneLargeBanana

      Farming Sim should win every year!

  • miaau

    No.

    Now, about that World Cup Rugby decision, then?

    • We can thank our economy for that one.

      • Admiral Chief

        And the criminals, both in and out of parliament

  • nope, it can GITFS!

  • Star Citizen is making huge waves and its only in Alpha. So it needs to be on that list as well.

    • Hammersteyn

      LOL!

  • Yondaime

    I should buy PUBG before it costs 800 bucks!

  • Matthew Holliday

    Challenging question.
    PUBG has performed remarkably well this year, but at the same time, its not actually out yet.
    And we know that with early access titles, its all downhill post release.
    But it is a game, it is being played and people are loving it. Thus, its GOTY nomination.

    Objectively, theres nothing to argue.
    Subjectively, there is alot to argue about.

    Would have been safer just sticking Early access in its own category.

  • OneLargeBanana

    No! But once it leaves early-access, and its a TRUE and HONEST retail game, then maybe we can re-consider it’s entry.

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