December 2023 is fast-approaching and that means The Game Awards are almost upon us. In fact, the ceremony is so close that all the official nominations have just been announced and everyone’s able to vote now. Xbox fans hoping to see a Starfield sweep, though, will be disappointed to learn that Bethesda’s RPG has been snubbed somewhat and isn’t nominated for Game of the Year. This shockingly means Xbox has only had one GOTY nomination since the The Game Awards’ inception.
Bethesda’s Starfield might be one of the best Xbox Game Pass games available right now and a stand-out experience among the new Xbox games we have been fortunte enough to play throughout 2023, but it has failed to capture the interests of The Game Awards’ voting jury and is surprisingly not nominated for Game of the Year at this year’s awards. In fact, it’s only nominated for “Best RPG” at The Game Awards – which, as one of the best RPG games out there at the moment, is at least something.
However, as this thread of all The Game Awards’ nominations this year shows, Starfield is also missing out on nominations for things like “Best Art Direction”, “Best Audio Design”, and “Best Score and Music” – all of which you could make a case for. To make matters worse for Xbox, though, missing out on a Game of the Year nomination means Xbox has only had one first-party exclusive nominated for Game of the Year at The Game Awards since The Game Awards started in 2014 – and it’s well over a decade if you look at the show’s predecessor.
You can watch all the nominations from host Geoff Keighley down below:
Since 2014, PlayStation has seen 12 GOTY nominations with Bloodborne (2015), Uncharted 4 (2016), Horizon Zero Dawn (2017), God of War (2018), Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018), Death Stranding (2019), The Last of Us Part 2 (2020), Ghost of Tsushima (2020), Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart (2021), God of War Ragnarok (2022), Horizon Forbidden West (2022), and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (2023). We know the developers might not all be part of PlayStation here, but every single title on this list was published by SIE. If we’re talking PlayStation exclusive titles to be nominated for GOTY at The Game Awards over the years, Persona 5 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake are also on that long list.
On the flipside, despite Bethesda’s successes over the years with GOTY nominations for Fallout 4 (2015), Doom (2016), Doom Eternal (2020), and Deathloop (2021), Xbox really only has Psychonauts 2 – which was nominated in 2021 – to its name. This is in spite of some of the best Xbox games of all time dropping over the last decade – titles like Quantum Break (2016), Sunset Overdrive (2014), Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice (2017), and Halo Infinite (2021).
If you look back even further, at the Spike Video Game Awards for 2012 and 2013, PlayStation can also add The Last of Us and Journey to its tally. It’s really not a good look for Xbox.
However, there’s actually quite a good reason for this absence of GOTY nominations and Xbox players shouldn’t despair just yet. The reason, really, is that Xbox just hasn’t been delivering on single-player experiences – but Xbox Game Studios hasn’t really been trying to that much, either.
We know it isn’t a prerequisite for being nominated for Game of the Year at The Game Awards, but almost every single non-Nintendo game nominated for Game of the Year over the last decade from PlayStation is a fantastic single-player focused game. While Xbox has been presenting players with some of the best racing games of all time through both the Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon series, and some fantastic shooters in Gears 4, Gears 5, Halo 4, and Halo Infinite, PlayStation has been pushing boundaries with narrative direction and slick single-player experiences. These emotional stories are always going to draw critics in more than a racing game when it comes to Game of the Year. It’s why you never see a big-budget superhero flick nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars; they’re fun, and they make a lot of money, but they’re not necessarily what people think of when they think of the best piece of art in the medium.
This, though, could very well be one of the final years we see PlayStation dominate The Game Awards – thanks to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. Blizzard president Mike Ybarra says the Diablo 4 studio has some big plans for its future under Xbox and the list of Xbox exclusives is only going to grow going forward. Of course, we can’t guarantee anything, but Starfield’s snub isn’t necessarily indicative of a wider problem. It’s just the result of some truly excellent titles coming out in 2023 – a couple of them being new PS5 games.
For now, though, nominations at The Game Awards or otherwise, you can enjoy Starfield and many more of the best open world games and best FPS games out there with Xbox Game Pass. PlayStation’s PS Plus isn’t nearly as good, and it might never be. So, critical reception aside, Xbox is still in a pretty good spot going into 2024.
Still looking for more? While a good Starfield wiki can be a handy source of information, our new Starfield Database goes further, offering you daily news, searchable databanks, and even interactive tools like a New Atlantis map for exploration.