Opinion – Overwatch Should Be On Game Of The Year Lists

by Andrew Reiner on Nov 24, 2017 at 02:00 PM

A game that launched in 2016 shouldn’t be eligible for a 2017 list, right? Wrong. I know this is a strange thing to say, but some of the best games of the year may not have hit in 2017. The landscape of gaming changed long ago, and lists that just celebrate new releases don’t tell the entire story for the year.

The more accurate way to breakdown the best games of the year is moving beyond new releases to new content. Any new content, whether it be a new release or a new map, should be eligible for consideration.

That’s why I love Game Informer's approach to end-of-the-year voting. The main focus – the Top 50 Games of the Year – is an encyclopedic look back at the best titles that hit within the calendar year. The supplemental content tells a much bigger story, including a section that highlights the best games as services. These are the games that continue to pump out content year after year. Last year’s winner was Dota 2. Heathstone, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Path of Exile also made this Top 10 list. They also made the list last year. This is a fun thing to follow year after year, as the juggernauts that pump out content are hard to bump.

Looking back at 2017, I realized I devoted more time to Overwatch than any other game. I did the same thing in 2016. On the surface, I can’t get enough of a good thing. Overwatch is that damn good. I’ve played the same maps hundreds of times, and the feeling of “this is getting old” still hasn’t sunk in. I also come back for the timely delivery of new content. Blizzard has done a phenomenal job of providing meaningful content, such as heroes, maps, and events. Blizzard also deserves credit for updating the existing content. The changes to Mercy alone have completely changed how some strategies work. I also love how one map receives a festive seasonal update for specific holidays. The team is also quick to tweak anything that may not be working or balanced correctly.

Yes, the loot crate system is a big driving force for me. And yes, even though the crates only contain cosmetic items, the push of “you have to get everything you want in just one month” for special event content is somewhat evil. I hate that feeling, but it keeps me playing. Blizzard has been good about bringing back the exclusive items from previous years, but this act does lead to more variables in loot crates, and an even bigger push to earn more money to buy what you want.

All of my yearly Top 10 lists have been for games that released within a calendar year, but I think that’s going to change this year. The game I played more than anything should be there, right? That doesn’t mean it will be number one, however. I put Overwatch down for weeks on end to play other games that I didn’t want to drop until they were completed. I also have a handful of games I’m currently working my way through that are all contenders for this list.

By adding Overwatch to my list, I’m not breaking Game Informer’s system. Our editor-in-chief, Andy McNamara, put World of Warcraft on his list two years running, and Dan Tack listed League of Legends and Dota 2 on a list.

My advice to you: When you start thinking about your list, don’t just think about the new releases. Focus instead on the new content that released in 2017. I think it’s a better window into the year of games and what people are playing.