While most all of you will immediately scoff and respond in the abrupt negative, I believe it's a legitimate question. Bear with me.

When you look around the Internet and visit gaming communities and forums, you will see countless discussions concerning the best games of the the year; this tends to happen as we get towards the end of December. And you will notice that someone will mention something about sales numbers and quickly thereafter, dozens of people will slam on this dude and laugh at him for thinking "sales have anything to do with quality." Heck, I did something similar when we announced our Game of the Year Nominees and the concept of sales numbers caused me to reply with those very words. But ever since then, I've been starting to think outside the box a little, so-to-speak. While I will never believe that the consuming public will always reward the best-quality entertainment products (there's a reason why so many have never even heard of Oscar nominees these days), there's something else here…

The purpose of any given entertainment industry is to cater to as many members of the targeted demographic as possible. That's basically the goal in any business. Therefore, when something like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or Grand Theft Auto IV sell millions of copies in only a few days time, that's very clearly a rip-roaring success, regardless of your own personal preferences. Should we not reward developers for being able to win over so many of the intended audience? Is this not worthy of positive attention? Furthermore, there's the social gaming aspect of the industry, which is – for all intents and purposes – almost brand new, especially in the console world. A game like MW2 really relies on multiplayer, for instance, and it must please entire groups of gamers who come together to play. To continue to succeed in that is another success.

Clearly, the games that sell well are doing something right. You could blame it all on over-the-top marketing but gamers have never rewarded crappy productions; they may have rewarded "great" games more than "excellent" ones, but we shouldn't be complaining about that, should we? Perhaps we should also look at sales numbers when determining awards and say to ourselves, "well, how many people did they really snag with this one?" On the other hand, we could simply hand out awards based on how we – the staff in question – view the merits of each game, and that's that. Of course, I'll still go with the latter but it's not quite as cut-and-dry as one might think…

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