In the year 2012, we're getting used to having less sports games and not more. In the past few years, we've seen support for more niche and 'off-the-beaten' path games wane significantly.
With the rise of more mainstream gaming devices which require less detailed development work, it's becoming clear there is a new market for sports games if the folks holding the licenses are willing to part with them for more reasonable prices or if developers who want to take a risk on an unlicensed customizable title are willing to take a risk.
Here are three games that would make great additions to a gaming lineup on a mobile device or as a free-to-play online type of game or even as a big box console title near you:
1)NCAA Hoops - What did you expect? We haven't had a college basketball game for two years now, and we're going to enter a third, fourth, and fifth if nothing changes soon. If someone could just mirror the Legacy Mode and some of the gameplay of older (but good) basketball titles, this would be a worthy type of game on the more niche devices. Good luck getting licensing though.
2)Gymnastics - Call me whatever you want, but my favorite Olympic Sport is Gymnastics, and creating a game around the sport could be done by a creative but niche development group. You'd have to create your character (male or female) you'd have to grow their skillsets in an RPG fashion and you'd have to have some sort of a routine mechanic that was a strange mixture of QTEs, Rock Band, and a turn-based strategy game. If you did it right, and made it an MMO type of game where you compete against others -- it's so crazy it might just work.
3)High School Football - High School football is one of the most attended sports in America, it's incredibly popular, it captures our imaginations via cinema and television and many folks who play NCAA Football dare call the High School football mode a highlight. I'm not sure if I'd want High School football to be a niche or a big box title, but I think the passion and camaraderie of communities against each other in friendly (or sometimes not so friendly) sport would be a joy to play. Thus far, it seems most gaming companies feel I'm in the minority. But imagine the money that could be made off of State School packs in a free to play game -- or better yet a roster/school sharing center which charged a monthly fee for access. I'm just saying.
Sound off: What sports do you think are screaming for games currently?