Starfield & Red Dead Redemption 2’s Steam Awards wins leave gamers confused

Noelle Corbett
Starfield and Red Dead Redemption 2 key art with The Steam Awards in the center

The winners of The Steam Awards 2023 have been announced, and several of the victors have gamers calling the entire event a joke.

Since 2016, Steam has held its own annual awards event in which users can nominate and vote for their favorite games. 2023’s winners have just been announced, and some are attracting quite a bit of criticism from gamers.

While Game of the Year unsurprisingly went to Baldur’s Gate 3, a game that has won numerous awards and topped many end-of-year lists – including Dexerto’s own – other categories were more surprising.

These include Starfield winning Most Innovative Gameplay and Red Dead Redemption 2 winning Labor of Love.

Gamers frustrated by Starfield, RDR2 & more winning Steam Awards

Much of the criticism of this year’s Steam Awards stems from Starfield and Red Dead Redemption 2 winning in categories they arguably don’t belong in.

Starfield has been fairly controversial since it launched in September 2023. While it received generally positive to mixed reviews, its Steam user reviews have dropped to “Mostly Negative” in recent weeks.

Much of the criticism has to do with Starfield’s gameplay loop, which has been called repetitive and stale. With that in mind, many were surprised to see it win Most Innovative Gameplay.

Perhaps more baffling is Red Dead Redemption 2 winning the Labor of Love award. The category is meant to acknowledge a game that has been out for a while but continues to receive support from its developers, but RDR2 hasn’t received an update since 2020.

Even Red Dead Online has largely been abandoned, with Rockstar announcing in 2022 that no major content updates would be coming.

All of this makes RDR2’s win pretty ironic, with many pointing out that the award’s description is pretty awkward given the circumstances.

Starfield and Red Dead Redemption 2 aren’t the only winners that are attracting criticism. Others have questioned Hogwarts Legacy winning Best Game on Steam Deck, Atomic Heart winning Outstanding Visual Style, and The Last of Us Part I winning Best Soundtrack – all games that have been the subject of some controversy in the past year.

It is important to remember that the Steam Awards are entirely based on user nominations and votes, which is bound to favor mainstream releases over lesser-known ones.

Certain wins like Starfield and The Last of Us Part 1 make a little more sense when considering the other games nominated in those categories are not as widely known. After all, Starfield is still one of the highest-earning games on Steam even despite the mixed reviews and Game Pass availability.

About The Author

Noelle is a Senior Games Writer for Dexerto who can usually be found playing an RPG. Her favorites include Persona, Pokemon, and DnD. When she isn't writing or gaming, Noelle is probably making silly noises at her dog. She can be reached at