August 18, 2022

Opinion: State of virtual sport games is troubling

Sport games usually fall short of expectations.

Games like Madden and FIFA have received extensive criticism, and most of that criticism is valid. In games that come out annually, there has to be some level of newness to encourage people to buy the latest game, but lately, these features have been lackluster. 

Madden is in a particularly rough state. Most years, the biggest feature is simply being able to play with the new rookies, and that really isn’t enough to keep most players coming back. The games seem to get worse each year. 

Some series are in a better position than others. Game series like NBA 2K and MLB The Show do get some criticism but are generally regarded as the better games. 

Electronic Arts’ Madden and FIFA franchises are seeing too much emphasis placed on microtransactions and online play, and that leaves an entire section of the fanbase, the ones that play for the franchise modes, wanting more.

As much as I complain, I am guilty of being someone who usually ends up buying a copy of the latest Madden each year, even while knowing there isn’t going to be any real substantial changes from the previous years. When you are as dedicated of a fan as I am, you make the purchase and live with the consequences. 

One feature that I am desperately waiting for to return is the “create a team” feature. It was last featured in Madden 12, and it was replaced with a relocation option. That newer option has severely outstayed its welcome and hasn’t even gotten so much as a facelift in recent years. 

Even just copying the “create a team” features from games like NBA2K, or even NCAA 14 would be a major feature that would almost certainly entice some fans to try the Madden franchise again. 

One beacon of hope for football fans is that 2K Games once again has NFL rights to create a football game. The important distinction here is that they have NFL rights, not NFLPA rights. 2K has access to logos and uniforms, but no actual players. This means that these games are likely to be more party-style rather than a Madden-esqe simulation game. 

Looking back, games like Madden 05, Madden 12 and the wildly popular NCAA 14, are all generally regarded as better games than anything that has come out recently, and that is a major problem. 

Speaking of the NCAA, one of the other bright spots for fans to gravitate towards is the fact that EA has announced the return of their popular college football video games. Name, image and likeness rules have helped pave the way for the game to come back. Even though it is not due out for some time, it is something many fans are looking forward to. 

Even though sport games almost always face heavy criticism, and rightly so, I hold out hope that one day, they will get it right. 

  • Anthony DiCerbo is a junior at Capital majoring in professional writing/ journalism. Anthony is an avid sports fan and enjoys watching and writing about football, hockey, and various esports.

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