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Sports games are at a crossroads with many new ideas starting to pop up as to how sports games should be released.

One school of thought is obviously the current one, with iterative and (mostly) yearly releases for the biggest sports games. There is also the old alternative which many bring up of an every other year release cycle, which EA Sports UFC and (seemingly) Rory McIlroy PGA Tour are on. Another possibility is one of a continually updating subscription model, where you pay a fee for access to one or a group of games.

Which of these do you think makes the most sense for the future of sports gaming? Also, sound off on any other ideas you have if you happen to vote other...

Member Comments
# 1 RayRay34 @ 12/10/15 01:52 PM
I would like to see a hybrid of the two year release cycle and a paid subscription. Have a two year development cycle on a game like 2k, but after the start of what would the second season charge a 25 dollar fee for the upcoming year roster updates and jersey and court files. The companies are still making money of the retail release ($60) then year two they make the additional $25. I also feel a business model like this would also increase micro transactions for things like VC or what ever currency the game chooses to use.
I feel that if consumers know they'll have a game for two years they might be more inclined to invest more money into micro transactions. And ultimately a two year development cycle might release even better sports games.
 
# 2 pslieber @ 12/10/15 02:51 PM
Agree as well with the above x 1000.

I endlessly rant (to myself, in most instances) about this, seeing publishers seemingly obligated to reinvent the wheel every year when they should be perfecting the car. Let alone the exorbitant development costs inherent in doing so.

I'd gladly pay for yearly updates knowing there no crap shoot if new features actually work.

What would also be nice are online lobbies based on registered age (noting kids can use parents' machines). Also more casual gamer options.
 
# 3 BSchwartz07 @ 12/10/15 03:39 PM
I really can't imagine EA skipping a year of Madden. I mean most of features in the game are geared around those card games that attempt to get people to spend more money. I hate to say it, but The Show has followed the same model the past few years as well.

Honestly, every other year with paid updated rosters, uniforms and stadiums would be ideal. Especially for those in career and franchise modes, who can just get the teams updated in their game.
 
# 4 Td1984 @ 12/10/15 03:51 PM
I say two-year cycle, with roster, jersey, court/field updates in-between, as long as the developer uses the full cycle to make substantial improvements that can't just be implemented via patch. If they won't use the two-year cycle to their advantage and put out improved games, may as well stick to the current model.
 
# 5 BDrizz @ 12/10/15 03:59 PM
The problem with this method is that the developers would lose money. They are going to release a game, 2K for an example for the standard 59.99. Next season, after a year of the same teams putting the same work into new features, updates, etc. and now they're only going to make $29.99? Thats not going to fly...
 
# 6 tril @ 12/10/15 04:24 PM
it all depends on the sport.
the five major sports need yearly releases.. every other year for these titles makes no financial sense.
I think games like Golf, Tennis etc, cam have an every other year releases. the model as is witrh releasing new courses work well.
 
# 7 Hassan Darkside @ 12/10/15 04:25 PM
They wouldn't do anything that would cause them to lose money, and that's my concern.

I could definitely see them adopting some sort of subscription model like what RayRay described above or similar to EA access, but they would push paid DLC alongside of it. The subscription may entail on demand roster updates and gameplay patches, but art updates and new features may be outside of it and require paid DLC (think NCAA Football unis). It just feels like it opens the door for developers to flood us with microtransactions which would have you paying more than $60/year to keep your game current.
 
# 8 sethisthegoat @ 12/10/15 04:30 PM
I love the idea of the two-year cycle, with some sort of "Season Pass" content in year two. I think that would be very consumer-friendly.

But is it business (or even employee-) friendly? If 2K sells 8-10 million copies per year, would that number really increase enough to account for a two-year release schedule? If they did switch to this cycle, would employee teams be cut down due to the expense of building out a game for 2 years (instead of just the one)? And FIFA is annually EA's largest title, worldwide. They aren't giving that up.

I don't know how accurate these charts are, but: http://www.statista.com/statistics/189592/breakdown-of-us-video-game-sales-2009-by-genre/
That shows that sports games account for more than 13% of total game sales in a given year.

If consumers currently buy the games at $60 every year, why would they want to change anything? What it would really take is for gamers en masse to not buy the big games year-after-year.

Anyway...I'd gladly buy a new game in year 1, then pay $20-$30 for "Season 2" of roster updates. I think there could even be fun things they could do with this, like allowing you to start a new franchise in the 2nd season, after draft order is known, and with the real rookie class.

I also like the idea of the EA Access model...where, maybe you have the current "Vault" tier, with older games, and another tier (maybe $10/month?) that gets you newly released games all year long. (Maybe this would be closer to $15/month, or something like that?) The problem there gets to be that there are not many game companies that could offer this sort of well rounded subscription model. EA. Sony. Microsoft. Ubisoft. 2k.

I like playing games from each of those publishers (sans Microsoft), but certainly won't be buying subscription services to all...
 
# 9 Instant C1a55ic @ 12/10/15 05:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BSchwartz07
I really can't imagine EA skipping a year of Madden. I mean most of features in the game are geared around those card games that attempt to get people to spend more money. I hate to say it, but The Show has followed the same model the past few years as well.

Honestly, every other year with paid updated rosters, uniforms and stadiums would be ideal. Especially for those in career and franchise modes, who can just get the teams updated in their game.
Honestly, skipping a year wouldnt make much difference for the card games/ ultimate team modes TBO. Think about it, people that enjoy doing those modes will see it as more of a value long term.

For example, I used to work customer service for one of the big three console companies, and you would be surprised how many gamers would comment on how much BS it was that they would have to start over with their ultimate teams for Fifa each and every year when the new game came out.

With that being said, I really hope sometime in the future they do a skip a year cycle. Like the OP said, charge a little for roster updates/stadiums/jersey updates and then hopefully a little the following year.
 
# 10 omega412930 @ 12/10/15 05:56 PM
Prolly one initial release then if its nothing but ratings and roster stuff and tweaked a.i. just do maybe a yearly fee like $20 for the next season update if theres major changes like game modes then thats when its time for a new game maybe like every 3 years
 
# 11 asu666 @ 12/10/15 06:58 PM
When they stop making physical copies of complete games, I'm done buying new content unless the total price comes down a lot and developers do some amazing work. Video game companies always take servers down and then we lose all our digital content.
 
# 12 mkilcNYR @ 12/10/15 07:03 PM
There could be a model in which you release a game which could be played in perpetuity with the gamer only paying a $20 upgrade fee every year fro access to new jerseys, rosters, attributes, and the sustaining of online game play for the game. Meanwhile every two years a new game would be released with updated features, graphics, etc. Either way it makes sense at this point to give developers a longer time to stretch out the process and institute more fleshed out changes to the games which can lead to better and stronger products (and potential challenges from different studios in the future)
 
# 13 BA2929 @ 12/10/15 07:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by asu666
When they stop making physical copies of complete games, I'm done buying new content unless the total price comes down a lot and developers do some amazing work. Video game companies always take servers down and then we lose all our digital content.
They won't stop making physical copies for a long, long, long time. Not everyone has access to internet speeds needed to download 50GB of data in a reasonable amount of time.

Plus, consumers won't allow it as they won't be able to resell or lend their games.
 
# 14 Bobhead @ 12/10/15 08:28 PM
The problem with the current system is that a finished product never ever comes out. Every franchise is just rushed out the door with holes and bugs all over. Maybe some of the major issues get patched, but beyond that, as soon as the game comes out, they are scrambling to work on next year's game. There's never any polish and I think consumers lose a lot in the end. I remeber NBA 2K's MyCareer mode was forcing point guards to play at Center for entire games, for SEVERAL YEARS, and they never fixed it.

If we moved away from yearly games, things like that would surely get fixed sooner.

My ideal model is simply a monthly subscription. $5 a month (per game, though they could probably do package discounts or whatever) and you get the game immediately when it comes out (Disc-guys could get it shipped). You have full online access, patch access, etc...

It's better for consumers because if the game sucks I can cancel after a month and only be out 5 bucks. This inevitably puts more pressure on developers to put quality products on the market instead of just throwing stuff together and making it look shiny.

It's better for developers because they are spending a lot less money on manufacturing and marketing, and there's less of a time crunch. And they won't be pressured to completely reinvent themselves every single year, they can focus on improving the franchise little by little. Making big changes only where necessary.
 
# 15 Bobhead @ 12/10/15 08:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDrizz
The problem with this method is that the developers would lose money. They are going to release a game, 2K for an example for the standard 59.99. Next season, after a year of the same teams putting the same work into new features, updates, etc. and now they're only going to make $29.99? Thats not going to fly...
It's important to remember that in this hypothetical second year, the developing companies are spending a lot less money too. The actual process of creating a standalone game, manufacturing it onto a CD, and distributing it is not cheap.
 
# 16 Instant C1a55ic @ 12/10/15 08:45 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobhead
It's important to remember that in this hypothetical second year, the developing companies are spending a lot less money too. The actual process of creating a standalone game, manufacturing it onto a CD, and distributing it is not cheap.
Exactly, we know for a fact that the majority of the dev staff moves onto the new game once the current one is released. You figure you keep a small staff working on the next years minor update, and like it was said above, you dont have to put it on a disk and spend money to ship it to the retailers. Thats easy money.

You all also have to remember, they are still making money on the microtransaction modes as well. You got the crazy few that spend hundreds, maybe even thousands on these modes and thats just icing on the cake when you dont have to ship out a new game.
 
# 17 fballturkey @ 12/10/15 09:43 PM
I think an "every other year" system will lead to the best games, but an "every year" system is going to keep happening because it'll make more money.
 
# 18 Barnsey @ 12/10/15 10:10 PM
I think "Every other year".

Give the devs time to put out the best product possible, and then have it well supported (patches, roster updates, player faces, etc) during it's time until the new game comes out in 2 years.

I think this would only work with well developed games like 2k though, who have reached their peak, because if a company puts out a ****ty game then they have to wait 2 years to compensate for it with a new release
 
# 19 BizDevConglomerate @ 12/10/15 10:35 PM
I'm glad this is finally being discussed and I hope the companies look or lend an ear to it.

Subscription would be great for games just breaking in I.E. Backbreaker. Had they used this model, they game would have grown given a pledge to patch and improve upon the foundation.

I.don't see them.losing money, it's all relative, if 2K or Live offered a DLC college bb game that would interact with the Pro game and had all the fixins we expect; they would need to use disks, they update rosters, we would update the college rosters, all they'd need to patch are things that didn't work well or a few additional features. That's less man hours, and gives then all year to do it. As the leagues rotate, we normally stop playing the games not in season. So that gives then less stress and demand from us, but freshening up things here and there.

That's what I'd like if we could have games, options, and modes we ask for.
 
# 20 BizDevConglomerate @ 12/10/15 10:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Instant C1a55ic
Exactly, we know for a fact that the majority of the dev staff moves onto the new game once the current one is released. You figure you keep a small staff working on the next years minor update, and like it was said above, you dont have to put it on a disk and spend money to ship it to the retailers. Thats easy money.

You all also have to remember, they are still making money on the microtransaction modes as well. You got the crazy few that spend hundreds, maybe even thousands on these modes and thats just icing on the cake when you dont have to ship out a new game.
I like this
 

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