Update: Studio Wildcard has taken down the original post, and released a new one that promises the Sheep regardless if they win the victory. You can learn about it here, and if you want to see what the original post covered in the story below, you can read this archive as the original was taken down.
Original Story Below
The Steam Awards are well underway, with most categories already having been voted on, and while most contenders have been happy to just watch the voting unfold, some have decided to take matters in their own hand. Namely, ARK: Survival Evolved, the Early Access survival game with dinosaurs, has promised a new in-game item if they should win the award for "Best Use of a Farm Animal". Fitting with that category, ARK announced they would introduce a sheep named Ovis. "Best Use of Farm Animal" is the last category to be voted on and also include Goat Simulator, Stardew Valley, Blood and Bacon, and Farming Simulator 17. Comments under ARK's announcement of Ovis includes some criticism that the developers are attempting to bribe players or "buy votes". Steam did not announce any formal rules for the 1st Annual Steam Awards, at least not publicly, so the offering or promise of game updates for votes is technically allowed.
So be sure to show your support for ARK, if not for your tames: mobilize your Tribe to help win the Steam Award on Dec 29, and then get your Sheep! Thank you for your help everyone, and happy shearing :)
Those who win their categories don't receive anything special, except for the honor of the award itself, according to Steam. ARK: Survival Evolved has been criticized before for some questionable decisions made during development and is often pointed to as an example of the problems with Steam Early Access. It introduced a paid DLC with Scorched Earth even while still in Early Access back in September, as well as some legal issues which the plaintiff (the former employer of ARK Director Jason Stieglitz, Trendy Entertainment) has since requested be dismissed. More recently, there's been confusion with them releasing the title on PlayStation 4 (despite the platform lacking an early access program, and the game still being incomplete), canceling the work on the Ark: Survival of the Fittest mode (which had, at one point, been a standalone game), and the announcement of a VR spinoff title by another studio, Ark Park.
Despite controversies though it has continued to be one of the most popular Early Access survival games on Steam and Xbox One, selling over 5.5 million copies by August before every being officially released. Whether their self-promotion going into the Steam Awards has any effect is yet to be seen. If you haven't yet, you can still cast votes for the remaining categories which along with "Best Use of Farm Animal" includes "Best Game Within a Game", "I'm Not Crying, There's Something in my Eye" and the community categories. Winners will be announced on December 31st.
Do you think it's fair to offer extra content in exchange for votes or on the condition a game wins an award? Give us your take in the comments!