So we're halfway through the year now and I was wondering who or what the community thinks should sit atop the hottest mess podium come GOTY 2019. A few stick out for me so far (mid-writing edit: wow there's way more than I initially thought), and apologies for the first few being not particularly exciting:
* Layoffs (again): Between the start of the year and April, roughly 1500 people have lost their jobs in the game industry. Almost half of these are attributed to Activision "Record Profits" Blizzard who announced a layoff of about 8% of their staff (a process that is still ongoing in countries with better labor legislation like Blizzard's Versailles office in France who currently have to argue their case against unions and local government to lay off the ~134 staff there) during a conference call.
* Loot boxes (or "They're called Suprise Mechanics and they're quite ethical, actually"): Where to start? EA's recent contemptuous appearance before the House of Commons in the UK? The FTC's ongoing investigation into loot boxes and proposed bills stateside?
* Crunch: Too many companies to list but notable ones are Epic, Rockstar, EA/Bioware, ActiBlizz, Riot Games, Netherrealm among many others.
* Epic Games Store & Exclusives: Not a particular fan of mentioning this one, but it's bound to come up in discussion, especially in regards to crowdfunded games that were expected to get a Steam release but have recently signed a deal with the Epic Store or in some cases were bought outright by Epic to become part of the store (e.g. Rocket League).
* Riot Games COO Scott Gelb: Among many accusations of sexism and harrassment, Scott Gelb's other fratbro activities included grabbing other people's genitalia and farting on coworkers. Last I checked he has not been removed from the COO position and got a paid slap on the wrist.
* THQ Nordic and that AMA: AKA "Shout out to Mark".
* Anthem: Myriad issues on launch, dwindling playerbase, awful stories indicating a rushed development
* Bethesda: 2019 started without a bang because Fallout 76's nukes stopped working on New Years Day, and started banning people who either played the game for too long or for having too much in their inventory space. Also, they plagiarized a TTRPG campaign damn near word for word.
* Randy Pitchford (or "Why would you fuck me on this"): Rather than promote his company's upcoming game Borderlands 3, Randy Pitchford spent most of Meltdown May arguing with games journalists on twitter for directly quoting him, culminating in him tweeting out a video of animal abuse. This month-long mess led to criticism from former employees, contractors, and childhood friends going public with extremely concerning stories about Pitchford's personal behavior and business activities among which are allegations of physical assault, the supposed misappropriation of 12 million USD and alleged molestation of minors.
* Sega halting sales of Judgment due to actor testing positive for drugs: Don't see this winning but it made headlines all the same and set the release back a few months.
* Sekiro's lack of an "easy mode": Again, it was in the news for about a week but I don't see it winning.
* E3 being kinda... eh: Hey did you see T-Pain and Lil Yachty play Rainbow 6 Siege? Me neither.
Please feel free to add your own as I'm sure I have missed some. IMO the GOTY discussion will, short of something drastic happening later this year, circulate around the themes of labor issues and monetization (again), albeit with honorable mention to Pitchford for single-handedly demolishing the reputation of the Borderlands franchise.