Are Sports Games Worth Buying Every Year?

- Geoff Barry

When it comes to football, EA has a monopoly that cannot be touched. Consumers lineup each and every year for the annual Madden release. After one of the all time great sports games (NFL 2K5) devastated Madden sales, EA bought out 2K’sfootball franchise. Ever since then the competition to rival EA has vanished, and many would say that the Madden games are getting worse each year. So, while the money continually gets poured into the pockets of the publisher and developers, the quality of game has gotten soft due to there only being one football title for gamers to play. Madden is one of the top grossing games every year, so all that money should be invested in a solid product that consumers really want. I, for one, refuse to get the Madden title each year because, to me, it’s a game that isn’t worth $60. I’ll keep one title for three or four years, then finally get a new copy.

The same could be said about EA with their annual hockey game. I do end up getting the latest NHL game each year, because I love playing online and the best way to to that is to have the newest game. After another lackluster year in sales with NHL2K11, 2K has shut down their hockey productions, leaving EA as the only publisher making hockey games. NHL 10 was a highlight in EA’s history of releases, but I haven’t been nearly as satisfied with the 2011 and 2012 releases. This could have something to do with EA getting lazy without their rival, 2K. I’m hoping each game gets better from here on out, but also fear the NHL games might suffer the same results as the Madden titles. 

I’m also a huge baseball fan. In this case, I actually miss EA’s presence. With only Sony’s MLB The Show and 2K’s subpar game to choose from, I haven’t been impressed with a baseball game since EA’s MVP Baseball 2005. 2K’s game appears to have the same fate as their football and hockey titles, so I imagine they’ll be out of the Pennant Race within a few years. As for Sony’s baseball simulation, I haven’t been satisfied since the ‘10 release. The Show is still the best option available, but it’s only offered on the PS3 so Xbox gamers don’t have as much motivation to go out and buy a new baseball game every year, other than the die hards.

One genre that 2K does have success in is basketball. Even with EA’s NBA Live franchise struggling to put out a new game over the last couple of years, 2K’s annual release has gotten better and better, including a Game of the Year award in 2011. Consumers are getting a better product for their money lately with the basketball title 2K makes, and lately, soccer games. Soccer is at a new high in terms of popularity, and there are numerous titles to be released each year including: Fifa, Pro Evolution Soccer, and Winning Eleven. Gamers have plenty of options to suit their ball-kicking needs. 

Is it worth spending money on the new sports game every year? In some cases yes, in others no. For now I can say that each new hockey game is worth getting, to me. But with the lack of competition the quality may suffer. I’m not 100% on getting The Show next season, the difficulty would have to be knocked down a notch. I’ve never been a huge soccer fan, but maybe it’s time to see what all the hype is about.