I think a game needs to come out this year for it to be on a GOTY list. I make no exceptions. And that is law.
I totally respect that, but if I applied that to myself my list would be a list of like 7, and that would include boring shit like March of the Eagles.
My WiP GotY list has a game in open beta, SolForge, a game in closed beta, Hearthstone, and the Citadel DLC for ME3, although I expect Hearthstone and Citadel to fall off by the end of the year. However, games like Dust and Mark of the Ninja which I only just played this year were never in contention.
I think for a game to be GotY 2013, it (the main game) has to come out in 2013. That being said, I have no issue with listing some fantastic DLC as its own separate entity on a list, even if it is for a game that came out the previous year. As far as the in beta stuff, that's kinda iffy. I feel that games should not show up on multiple years GotY lists, so if you put it on a list while it is technically not fully out, and then it comes out the following year, what do you do? I don't really have an opinion on ports, but for game that you just got to this year, I like the idea of 2013's 2012 GotY like they do with GotY deliberation here on GB.
Just my thoughts.
DLC and ported yes.
A middling game with amazing DLC can totally make my list and i already have Trials Evolution that released on PC this year on my list. I had Alan Wake last year because it came out on PC last year.
Edit: I think i misinterpreted what you say about DLC. If you mean consider only the DLC personally i wouldn't for a small piece like say, a Mass Effect 2 DLC but i totally count full proper expansions like Civ 5 Brave New World. But smaller chunk of DLC can sometimes enhance a middling game enough for it to make my list on the strength of its DLC but the base game has to also have come out during the current year.
If it was ported to my platform of choice within the year of release, then yes. If it's a game where the main title is worthy of consideration by itself than yes. If I liked the dlc a lot but the main game wasn't worthy than I'm not sure. Does my opinion or any of ours matter on what goty is? No. Should people stop making their own goty lists? Ummm?
Well, that's why I have a separate list of my favorite games that didn't come out this year. Of course, given that I haven't actually played a ton of this year's releases... maybe they will just be one list this time. Or I only do a top 5. I dunno.
Standalone expansion pack type DLC is okay in my mind (for example: The Walking Dead: 400 Days).
I'm undecided about how BioShock Infinite DLC should work - if the first Buried at Sea is released this year, does that count as a release, or are the two Buried at Seas one single entity split up?
Also, old releases on your platform of choice should never count. it's a big can of worms where games from decades ago could be considered current releases - There has been a heap of old Nintendo games released via the eShops this year (Metroid, Super Mario Bros. 2, Mega Man etc...). You could basically construct a top 10 list of classics that have been released in previous years/decades. New is not the same as new to you.
Beta/Early Access games should not count as they have not actually been released yet.
Putting in a game that you just played that year is plain silly.
That fourth option is the only thing I do come GOTY season (at least if we're not counting the creation of crazy categories in their alliterative madness).
you are the one I was thinking of when I added that last option actually!
I would only do so for these situations for a game I REALLY like. I was going to put P4 Golden on my list last year, but I hadn't actually played all the way through it yet so I left it out. I don't have issues with those who put re-releases on their lists (and only slight issues with games from previous years on lists), but I feel like it's cheating by putting those on my own list.
What I'm doing is noting which DLC, that were released this year, that I really enjoyed this year in the description field but not including them in my actual Game of the Year list since it'll have to be me adding a title that didn't release the same year of the list. So Mass Effect 3's "Citadel" DLC and Civilization V's "Brave New World," as much as it pains me, will not cross the line. Whatever my top game of the year is really the only one that matters to me anyway. How the rest are ordered or mentioned just becomes some sort of half-remembered truths or particulars that decide how they're ordered.
Games in beta or games that I've played this year that were not released this year have no chance of entering that list as they aren't "completed" products (regarding beta games, early access, whatever) to me, and I typically don't buy into those things unless word of mouth reaches me. With Minecraft, I had just forgotten by the time it was "really" released, but had I remembered, I'd just lump in the memories I had with the game before then as my judgement for whatever appropriate list its release date corresponds with.
With games that were ported to a platform of my choice that previously did not have it, I'll lump it in there. If it's a substantial port of a game I've already played on another platform previously, it depends on how much content was added to it (ex: Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden). If there's enough, I'll definitely consider it for Game of the Year. Persona 4 with so many improvements and just a lot of everything, hard not to really fall in love with that game again.
In order for me to consider it for my own GOTY list, it must have come out that year. It can be a remake or a re-release but it must have been given some kind of upgrade, touch-up, re-balance, or new content or something. It can't just be a Virtual Console "here's the exact same game that was released 20 years ago".
DLC and betas just don't count at all.
if it's a self contained dlc (like minerva's den or the lost and damned or something) than i think that can kind of stand on it's own. i also think that ports to other systems can count if something significant has been added. i saw persona 4 golden on a lot of people's goty lists, and i think that was totally okay.
game of the year lists are a personal thing, anyway. if you felt something you played this year was phenomenal enough to appear on your top ten list then, regardless of the state of completion of the game, how the game was distributed or when it was originally released, let the world know about it, man.
Post-release support can definitely change my opinions on a game, even if it came out last year, but it would not go into consideration for what I take as my game of the year.
Though I would consider including games that are ported to a different platform/are in early-access.
I have never included a piece of DLC on any of my GotY lists. If it was something like Fallout 3: Point Lookout then I'd probably consider it. I wouldn't put a piece of DLC and the game in the same list though.
I've run across the port problem before with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The game was released for both the Wii (2009) and the PS2 (2010). Though I had a Wii at the time, I waited for the PS2 version and decided it was ok to put it on my 2010 list.
I wouldn't include 1 and 4. That's just me though, don't let people judge your list.
Since I never have enough free time to keep up with the number of games coming out that I want to play, my GOTY list - if I ever made such a thing - would mostly feature games that came out years ago. I'm playing Dark Souls right now. It might be my favorite game I've played this year, though 2013 is not over, and I also finally got around to playing Red Dead Redemption this year, which is another strong contender.
In any case, results for 2013 seem pretty predictable. Top three for almost everybody will be GTA V, The Last of Us and Bioshock: Infinite in whichever order according to personal preference. With a smattering of Tomb Raiders, Raymans, Saints Rows and the usual token few indie titles and PC exclusives.