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

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

2 min read


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.

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


  1. Admiral Chief

    November 17, 2017 at 10:41

    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


  2. Magoo

    November 17, 2017 at 10:47

    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.


  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    November 17, 2017 at 10:51

    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

      November 17, 2017 at 10:52

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


    • RinceThis

      November 17, 2017 at 12:05

      Oh man… I… Ag… Agree with you!


    • Yondaime

      November 17, 2017 at 12:54



  4. Ottokie

    November 17, 2017 at 10:53

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


  5. Magoo

    November 17, 2017 at 10:59

    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.


  6. The Noob

    November 17, 2017 at 11:07

    “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

      November 17, 2017 at 11:10

      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?


  7. Pieter Kruger

    November 17, 2017 at 11:25

    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?


  8. Original Heretic

    November 17, 2017 at 11:27

    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.


  9. Captain JJ

    November 17, 2017 at 11:30

    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.


  10. Ottokie

    November 17, 2017 at 11:49

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


    • Captain JJ

      November 17, 2017 at 11:49

      of course 😀


      • Ottokie

        November 17, 2017 at 11:50

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


        • Captain JJ

          November 17, 2017 at 11:51

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


          • Ottokie

            November 17, 2017 at 11:53

            I forgot!

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

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      November 17, 2017 at 11:57

      You spelled Hellblade wrong.


      • miaau

        November 17, 2017 at 12:00

        You spelt Uncharted Legacy wrong

        Not that I played it


        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          November 17, 2017 at 12:05

          No I didn’t. Hellblade. See?


          • miaau

            November 17, 2017 at 13:32


            not that I played it.

    • miaau

      November 17, 2017 at 11:59

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


  11. miaau

    November 17, 2017 at 11:58


    Now, about that World Cup Rugby decision, then?


    • Ottokie

      November 17, 2017 at 12:02

      We can thank our economy for that one.


      • Admiral Chief

        November 17, 2017 at 12:06

        And the criminals, both in and out of parliament


  12. RinceThis

    November 17, 2017 at 12:03

    nope, it can GITFS!


  13. Ottokie

    November 17, 2017 at 12:10

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


  14. Yondaime

    November 17, 2017 at 12:41

    I should buy PUBG before it costs 800 bucks!


  15. Matthew Holliday

    November 17, 2017 at 12:59

    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.


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