There’s a corruption controversy rocking The Game Awards, and it’s about...Genshin Impact? Apparently, there are a lot of Sonic Frontiers fans and TGA fans who think the gacha game’s ascent in the Players’ Voice award category has been suspicious, and they’re loud about their displeasure. Things got so heated that TGA host Geoff Keighley addressed bribery and botting accusations in today’s Reddit AMA.
Genshin Impact has a premium currency called primogems, which is used to roll for limited time gacha characters. Primogems are distributed sparingly compared to other gacha games, so the community likes to joke that Genshin players will do anything for them.
You probably see where I’m going with this. Rather than organic popularity and interest, there’s been speculation that Genshin players are instead motivated by primogems. Last year, Genshin Impact won the “Best Mobile Game” award at TGA. After the show, HoYoverse gave 10 gacha rolls to all of its players. Kotaku reached out to HoYoverse to ask whether or not it plans to distribute free primogems after TGA this year but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
One redditor went on Keighley’s Reddit AMA to ask what he was going to do about “bribery” and “botting” in the player’s choice awards.
“I think it’s fan bases activating to support a game, or a game promoting its nomination to its fan base,” Keighley wrote. “This is part of the reason we don’t have 100 percent fan voting in the main categories.” However, he promised that TGA would be “looking into this now.”
It’s been interesting to see which games players believe should win over Genshin. Some were upset that it might win over God of War Ragnarök or Sonic Frontiers. God of War, I understand. The blockbuster action-adventure game was beloved by critics across the board. On the other hand, critics panned Sonic for being tedious. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that both Sonic and Genshin are benefitting from having a high profile IP. Except one series is considered more institutionally legitimate than the other.
To those who are genuinely upset about the possibility of HoYoverse utilizing its fanbase to push Genshin to the top: You know that The Game Awards is a marketing engine, right? I promise you that this is not a corruption scandal on par with the Panama Papers or Watergate. Personally, I prefer to rely on friends or certain video game bloggers to tell me what games are good.
As of writing, Sonic Frontiers is at the top of the Players’ Voice category with 17 percent of the vote.