Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog and Genshin Impact are fighting over various claims of foul play in relation to this year’s Players’ Voice fan vote at tomorrow’s Game Awards.
The Players’ Voice category is a 100 percent fan-voted award which this year has five possible choices as its finalists: Elden Ring, Genshin Impact, Stray, God of War Ragnarok and Sonic Frontiers. Over the past week, the vote has become mired in controversy amidst accusations of a broken poll, bots and bribery.
To be clear, there’s no credible evidence of bribery, despite various fan claims foul play must be to blame for both Sonic (with a lower Metacritic score than other entrants) and Genshin Impact (whose detractors point out was first released in 2020) being way-off in the lead.
The closest I’ve seen to “bribery” is in fact a simple call-out for Sonic fans to vote from a Sega employee, and the suggestion Genshin Impact fans are being encouraged to support their choice in the hope of some free gacha rolls, as the game’s win last year for Best Mobile Game resulted in developer HoYoverse handing some out in celebration.
Discussion of the vote has become so toxic that it has been banned by the main Sonic the Hedgehog reddit.
“We get it. You’re upset because a 2020 mobile gacha game is likely going to win the 2022 Player’s Choice poll,” Sonic head moderator AndTails wrote. “Nevertheless, the posts have become so repetitive and, in some cases, toxic that we are putting our Sonic-style block feet down and no longer allowing new posts on the subject. Several comment threads have also been locked.”
Over the weekend, The Game Awards host Geoff Keighley commented on the situation, and specifically the accusations that bribery and botting were being used to affect its outcome.
“I don’t know it’s bots – I think it’s fan bases activating to support a game, or a game promoting its nomination to its fan base,” Keighley said. “This is part of the reason we don’t have 100 percent fan voting in the main categories. It tends to be which companies promote their nominations and which fan bases activate the drive the voting. But we’ll looking into this now!”
Other claims have been made that Sonic and Genshin Impact were the only vote choices initially working for some visitors to The Game Awards’ website.
Set your alarm clocks: The Game Awards is scheduled to kick off at 12.30am UK time tomorrow night (technically, Friday morning). We’re expecting the usual flurry of game trailers and world premiere release date announces, amidst the awards and adverts.