Guidelines

Which types of games are eligible?

Any console, PC, handheld or mobile video game is included, provided that it is named the overall GOTY from an eligible media outlet.

  • (1) "Expansions"/DLC, whether standalone or add-ons, to otherwise eligible titles are included.
  • (2) "Remake" versions are included from 2019 onward.
  • (3) Votes awarded to non-remastered or non-remade "ports" (i.e. a game re-released on new platforms in largely the same state) will be counted toward the totals in the year of the title's initial U.S. release.
  • (4) To be eligible, the awarded title needs to have been released in the country of the media outlet. For media outlet critics, the title needs to have been released for review to critics before the publication of the award. For "readers' choice" votes, the title needs to have been released to the public before voting begins.


Which media outlets are eligible? 

"Media outlets" include websites, magazines, newspapers, radio and TV broadcasts, podcasts, and online entertainment companies/content creators on streaming sites such as YouTube and Twitch.

  • (1) Any media outlet operated by a single individual is not counted toward the total, for both the outlet's and the readers' choice votes.
  • (2) Internet-based outlets must have their own website/domain name (i.e. outlets that exist solely on community sites/social media like Facebook or Instagram are not eligible.)
  • (3) User community sites are generally not included; exceptions are made if the community has low potential for abuse (i.e. trolling, brigading and spamming the voting systems). User community sites that allow free-email or anonymous registration are not included from 2020 onward.
  • (4) Forum votes, site polls, and "reader's/viewer's/fan's choice" votes are counted toward the award totals provided that the poll results are officially announced on behalf of the outlet. Unofficial forum polls from otherwise eligible sites are not included. 
  • (5) Student-operated newspapers are included provided that they are from a college or university with a regularly updated online presence, and they meet all of the other criteria. Student-operated newspapers from high schools are not included.
  • (6) To avoid platform bias, votes from media outlets that are exclusively focused on a single platform or family of platforms (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, etc.) are not counted toward the total.
  • (7) Outlets with an overly restrictive scope -- focusing on a particular region, genre, or concept to the exclusion of most games -- are not counted toward the total.
  • (8) If a media outlet's award is posted by an individual (rather than the whole staff), it needs to be the only overall award the outlet posts for that year. If the outlet states that the award does not represent the site's overall view, or if the outlet has multiple, competing GOTY lists from different individuals, they will not be counted.
  • (9) Some examples of excluded awards will be listed in a separate section at the bottom of the year's award page from 2020 onward, with a reason explaining why they are not eligible.


Which awards are eligible?  

Only overall GOTY awards are eligible. An outlet's overall GOTY is the single title that they give their highest award of the year to, except in the case of a tie. Individual genre, platform and technical achievement awards do not count toward a title's total GOTY awards.

  • "Best of the year" lists are counted as a media outlet's GOTY if the top choice is clearly communicated, and the site does not have separate, formal GOTY awards.
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