End of the year awards traditionally reflect the year that was, and though Waypoint was no exception, the first annual Steam Awards was. The results of Steam's community-driven awards push back on the the idea that everyone's 2016 favorites were necessarily games from 2016.
Granted, some of this has to do with the categories themselves. Steam didn't ask people to vote for their favorite game in 2016; rather, they came up with a series of clever categories that gave people more leeway to vote for games that could have been released in 2016—or 2009.
The 2009 game was Left 4 Dead 2, winning "Better With Friends", flanked by Magicka (2011), Golf With Your Friends (2016), Gang Beasts(2014), and Don't Starve Together (2016). Side note: am I the only person surprised Gang Beasts is still hanging out in Early Access?
The only 2016 games to walk away with wins were Doom in "Boom Boom" ("These games understand the fine art of detonation") and Dark Souls 3in "Love/Hate Relationship" ("Your chill friends will ask you 'why do you play something that stresses you out' … and you will stare at them with steely eyes and reply, 'Because I love it.'") Both good choices.
These awards better reflect how people—aka people who aren't in the media—play video games, a mixture of the new and the old, and taking advantage of sales to play the games people were raving about years back. No service better reflects that than Steam (maybe GameStop?), and while I think it's fine for most lists about 2016 to focus on 2016, the Steam Awards are a good reminder that games don't suddenly disappear when a new year begins.
(Oh, and if you're one of those people playing older games and find people doing cool things, make sure and give me a heads up! At Waypoint, we're committed to covering what's new and old.)