Cyberpunk 2077 wins the Steam Labor of Love Award, beating major contenders
As last year’s game awards season begins to wind down, Steam has released its user-voted awards, and while most of the results make sense, many are flagging how RPG Cyberpunk 2077’s Labor of Love award wins over some potentially more deserving titles. Although it may come as a shock, the Steam Game of the Year was Elden Ring, which surprised no one.
While awards certainly aren’t all about which games were the best, especially when public voting pretty much just turns it into a popularity contest, there’s one Steam award that caught my eye, and the eyes of many others as well. Cyberpunk 2077 won the “Labour of Love” award, which is about nurturing and improving a game long after its release date.
Now, I’ve played Cyberpunk 2077 this year and it really is a great open-world game (after CD Projekt Red turned it into one after the less-than-desirable 2020 launch), but winning this poll really shows how divisive public voting can be, and how it skews towards popularity over games that are perhaps more deserving.
Even many players in the Cyberpunk 2077 subreddit are calling for games like Dwarf Fortress, No Man’s Sky, and Deep Rock Galactic to have won the vote. While Dwarf Fortress had a Steam launch late last year, it’s certainly still a labor of love, as it took two people 20 years to actually get it there, and the success it’s seen since is sure to warm even the coldest of hearts.
No Man’s Sky may have had a rocky launch similar to Cyberpunk 2077, but the 2016 game has been up and running on Steam ever since, with players also lamenting how it keeps coming close to winning the award but never does.
If you really want to see how lopsided some of the past few years have been (not all), just take a look below.
Steam Labor of Love Awards
- Warframe (2017)
- Grand Theft Auto 5 (2018)
- Grand Theft Auto 5 (2019)
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (2020)
- Terraria (2021)
- Cyberpunk 2077 (2022)
All of these are good, if not great, games, but it’s pretty clear how skewed some of these earlier years have been towards bigger live-service games versus those that feel more like a true labor of love (I’m talking about GTA 5 ) .
Terraria’s win is also very interesting, as the 2021 win is part of the reason for its recent Steam success, and it’s literal “Labor of Love” update.
Many of these awards are just for fun (for more, check out the PCGamesN Awards) like “Best Game You Suck” and “Sit Back and Relax”, so it’s hard not to see these awards as anything more than a way for Valve to engage with its Steam users, but it’s still a little weird.
Anyway, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a bit of a shame that the way votes like this Steam one is made often favor big-budget AAA games over the smaller teams that put their heart and soul into something, especially when it also comes across as a success story.
If you are one of the many who are playing Cybperunk 2077 for the first time and want some similar games, we also have lists of the best cyberpunk games and the best hacking games.