Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently launched a new feature for Xbox. Its 2014 Xbox 360 Game Awards is effectively a gamers’ choice awards, where the gamers get to vote on which game is the best of the best in their opinion. Xbox has provided a list the categories and nominees, but who brings home the golden Xbox controller depicted on the website is entirely up to the gamers. They get to vote, and in exchange, Xbox gets some valuable info about what games Xbox 360 owners really like.
Xbox is framing the event as a celebration of games in its post announcing the contest. “Xbox has handed out awards for arcade games before, but this is the first time Xbox has rolled out the ceremony across all Xbox 360 games,” wrote an Xbox representative.
Many of the nominees are popular games that have topped NPD’s sales reports. Most are large studio names, with the notable exception of quirky indie game Minecraft. Titanfall, the debut product of Respawn Entertainment, is the product of a fairly new independent game studio. Several franchises make appearances including Call of Duty, Assassins’ Creed, and Grand Theft Auto. Xbox knows these games sell well. The company knows how often these games are played based on data from Xbox Live, but which ones are the favorites among the top picks? This promotion is a great way to find out.
This isn’t to say that the 2014 Xbox 360 Game Awards is a bad idea. Xbox should continue to put out interactive features to keep its audience engaged, but contests like these can also be opportunities for data submitted by Xbox Live users who own and play Xbox 360 games. Plus, it’s a pretty sizeable audience to poll.
While the Xbox One has sold more consoles than the Xbox 360 had at this point after its 2005 release, more than 80 million Xbox 360 units have been sold in nine years. (Xbox claims that approximately 48 million Xbox Live accounts are active, but this figure also includes Xbox One users.) Even if less than one-fifth of one percent of Xbox 360 owners voted, that could be more than 100,000 gamers voting. A group that size even is larger than many study samples conducted by some major research firms.
Even if Xbox doesn’t have this intention for the vote data the company will be collecting over the week-long period, it will still provide some information about the fandoms. Gamers can vote once a day, meaning multiple votes are fair game. That could create some interesting results, especially if a smaller group of passionate fans takes to daily voting for a particular category. Fandoms are a huge part of any subculture, including gaming. The awards for best hero, best villain, and tearjerker awards are all examples of this. Some categories are more about the gamer culture in general — like best game to play with friends, what kept you up all night, and which was the biggest challenge to master.
Official results come out on June 5.