Sports games have long been on of the types of games that a company can rehash over and over, year after year and still make a huge profit from the game as they have a fan base or they have exclusive rights to the genre of game that they can count on people buying their game over and over, year after year. In this lies my problem with sports games. Rarely do they live up to the $60 cost of the game and because of this, our expectations lower as we expect the next in the series to be better than the last.
Let’s start with the mainstay of problems in the sports gaming world, that of the Madden series. One of the problems that Madden never seems to get better is that the company that produces the game, EA, has an exclusive rights contract with the NFL prohibiting any other sports game made based on the NFL or any players or coaches involved in it. This makes it so that there is absolutely no competition for Madden and because there is no competition, the game’s development team has no incentive to create any new features or change the problems that were in the old version of the game, instead making several features that are hashed over from older versions of the game and called something different to create a feeling of their being something “new”. As a result, it’s like the same game has been made over and over again without many improvements and mainly only a roster update to look forward to. The NCAA is much like this and follows mainly the same concepts as the Madden series but seems to add actual legitimate new feature every year but also has many of the same problems as Madden.
Then we move onto the Hockey series in comparison to that of the Madden series. Unlike Madden, there is actual competition from another company, 2K, as a result, over the past ten years or so, it has gone back and forth between which company produces the better NHL game. In the last few installments, the game produced by EA has been the better game because they were forced to create new features when the 2K games were beating it out in popularity. Now that it has been on top, they are not introducing the new features that they had in previous years because they become complacent with where they are at. My hope is that the 2K series becomes much more improved this year and gives the EA version a run for its money so that they will be forced into making more of these innovative features.
Unfortunately, I am not as familiar with the Fifa franchise and where it has come from as I have only recently become involved in playing the game. Also, since I live in the United States, I am not as familiar with the series and how it has changed and as such I cannot comment on how it is and how it has improved or gotten worse as time has gone by.
The other main sports franchises in that of MLB and NBA which follows much of the same principles that the NHL ones do, with one brand dominating for a while until the other pushes it and becomes the better of the two versions and it continues as they switch on and off for several years dominate before the brands switch over in popularity.
As such, many times sports games are not something that changes on a regular basis and because of that, are not worth the full price for a game. They do not offer up the value that they should and honestly, if there was not the fan base already built up, many of these games would not succeed and as such, almost render the sports genre obsolete in todays gaming world.