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The Steam Awards are selected in two phases:

1. In the first phase, Valve selects a number of categories, atypical of those used in gaming awards, and allows any registered Steam user to select one game available on Steam for that category. Valve also allows each user to offer a suggestion for a new category. During this period in 2016, Valve stated they received about 15 million nominations.

2. Valve subsequently reviews the nominations. For the pre-defined categories, Valve selects the five top games for final voting, and then reviews the user-defined categories to select a number that represent the most-frequently suggested ones, and the top five games nominated for those. These nominations are then presented to Steam users during another week-long period, giving each user the opportunity to vote for one of the five nominated games in each category. Following this, Valve announces the winners.

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