When a game is released as a Game of the Year, or GOTY Edition, it will often have some extra content. Fallout 3's GOTY includes all of the Downloadable Content (DLC) that was released after Fallout 3 hit store shelves. The same goes for Gears of War 2. Its Game of the Year Edition included all of its post-release DLC, including the the map packs and bonus levels.
However not all games have DLC. Most of the GOTY Editions are simply re-releases of the original game. Usually this is due to overwhelming positive reception a particular game received during the year prior. The games will often preform better in the marketplace than their initial releases, as GOTY Edition has become a sort of code for "Better Value Edition". For example, if someone has gotten rid of a game for whatever reason, or hasn't played it at all to begin with they might be tempted to buy the GOTY Edition if the perception is that it's a great game with free bonus content.
GOTY Editions are also beneficial for the developers, since not everyone has the ability and/or awareness to purchase and/or download DLC. If developers can manage to get their post-release content back onto a disc and into stores, they get their content played by people who would otherwise be unable to do so.
Additionally, simply having a new version labelled "Game of the Year" may be enough to convince people on the fence about a game to pick it up, so because there is no actual rule or law about what publishers call their re-releases, it isn't entirely unheard of for games that were never actually named "Game of the Year" by any publication or website to release a Game of the Year Edition. Such cases include Worms Reloaded, Two Worlds, L.A. Noire, and Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns.
Note: The dates shown on this page are refer to the original release date and not for the Game of the year re-release. Because of the way Whisky Media's servers work, we are unable to display the re-released dates on this page without making an entire new page for the GOTY edition.