PSLS Game of the Year 2020 Awards – Biggest Surprise of the Year

2020 was a tough year for surprises. It’s hard for anything to outdo what was quite simply a surprising year in and of itself. E3 getting canceled outright was big, but it was a drop in the bucket next to everything else that COVID ripped through and changed throughout the year. Still, even during this decade-long year, there have been a few surprising moments, games, and things that happened, events that are likely to shape the industry for years to come, for better or for worse. Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed multiple times, but it still wasn’t enough. Kratos and Master Chief both released in Fortnite. Here are the PlayStation LifeStyle nominations for Biggest Surprise in 2019.

Biggest Surprise of 2020

Pax west 2020 not cancelled yet covid-19 coronavirus

COVID and the Industry Adapting to It

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The COVID pandemic might just seem like a way of life now, but it was a huge surprise and made for quite a few shocking changes earlier this year, and it continues to reverberate throughout the industry. It’s hard to believe that it was just back in February that we were reporting on Sony pulling out of PAX East out of an abundance of caution of this new infectious and deadly virus that was going around. Yes, that was less than a year ago. Little did we know that PAX East would be the last major physical gaming event of the year. The pandemic would end up impacting not only these special gatherings of fans, media, and creators, but everyday life as we knew it. Most studios transitioned to work from home protocols, setting up network infrastructures so that employees could continue to develop games from the comfort of their own spaces. E3—already having a rough time even finding its footing and direction after a lackluster 2019—was canceled for the first time in 25 years. Next-gen consoles launched amid the pandemic and all of its restrictions.

Looking back to this time last year, there’s no way that we could have predicted the state that the entire industry would be in right now thanks to COVID. From the massive boost gaming saw as everyone had to stay at home, to new ways of developing games remotely, and adapting an industry that loves physical events to all-digital platforms, COVID changed the entire video game industry in some big ways that are now becoming more normalized than they ever were before.

Reader’s Choice Winner

COVID and the Industry Adapting to It

While it was a close vote between this and how surprisingly good Ghost of Tsushima was, our readers ultimately remembered that time nearly a year ago when the industry was forced to adapt to the growing threat of the COVID pandemic. After having dealt with these changes for nearly a year, it doesn’t seem so surprising now, but remembering back to the first half of the year and how things had to shift to account for COVID, it was a chain of events that was absolutely shocking at the time.

Don’t miss our full lineup of nominees for the PlayStation LifeStyle Game of the Year awards. We’ll be revealing more winners all throughout the week, leading up to the Game of the Year on Friday January 1.