The Beijing Olympics 2008 are upon us. And those who were intimidated of the sulphur soaked airwaves of China and chose to stay home, the video game’s here to enhance the experience. Ironically though, Sports games have always made me curious of the market they belong to. And since now I have a forum to myself of which I am an admin, and the interwebs is a place where you get supporters even if you shit in reverse – I am not afraid to make my views public.
All the opinions in the article further, belong solely to the author and none of the other authors or the website takes any responsibility of any nuisance or offense caused hereto.
(First of all, noone plays Madden NFL in this side of the world, we’re more of a football and cricket generation here. There’s the occasional NHL and NBA, then again that’s a mere niche of expats who found themselves in the wrong place. We’re from the Middle East so my opinions are formed out of the above considerations. Feel free to comment though :D)
Whenever some non gaming friend pops at my place all he ever wants to do is play soccer/cricket/tennis on my lean mean fat enhancing, gaming machines. And almost all of the time I need to explain to them how it’s operated and how the ball can now swing with more pressure on the x button or the left analogue stick is really a trick stick and how the RB shoulder is a power shot an all. Yet in my heart and on their face I see that the excitement is only momentary; to understand the controls bit.
The envelope that I’m pushing here is that every new sports game that comes around wants to make things real. And the pin was pushed all the way through when Euro 2008 was released and was touted to be one of the best football experiences. Why? Coz the ball can swing in the aaaiiiiirrrrr, like so reeeeaaaaall!! Yet what is the audience which actually consumes these titles?
Sports games are supposed to be mass market. Also, I know one of you would probably play Madden for MLG, but taking a macro look at the consumer base, these games should never be too complex. The point is that a hardcore gaming market may love all those fancies that they put out, but does the general public really require all those real to life stuff? All they need are good graphic models and loads of options to customize their team.
It was great when FIFA used to be the pick up and play game. Even though the critics mauled at the bread factory that EA was becoming, it still sold better than Winning Eleven/ Pro Evo (the better game of the two, albeit harder and more ‘realistic’). In my honest opinion though, the critics’ scores never matter when a franchise is as powerful as FIFA, and when their current route to being the way they are, is not a very wise decision; especially when it comes to growing the market. Coz I always remember playing FIFA before I ever stepped into Pro Evo.
But then cometh a million dollar question….
Since the corporates have to churn an installment every year (sometimes even 2) like an annual religious pilgrimage, the pressure only seems to go into ‘innovate’. Here I’d like to point to something I heard N’gai Croal discuss..
He said, it’s about time that the corporates should change their whole business strategy and crap the whole annual installment idea. Instead make it two yearly or even longer, and then implement a better system, be it story, clips or just the whole feel of the game. Overhaul the system, since the sports games are reaching saturation point.
Atleast most of the games are. I’d like to think that the future of sports games is probably a reverse cycle, where the developers rethink and create something exclusively accessible. That’s my two cents.
PS: I know about the whole DNA thing that’s happening in the new EA titles, but lets wait first to see how it pans out. It seems interesting, but again too much nuisance for someone who just wanted to play a few hoops before he catches the bus to college.