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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The opinions stated within this blog post are mine alone and in no way associated with OperationSports.com or anyone in an official capacity for this website. This blog post contains my thoughts.

NBA 2K14's post launch failure is a good thing for the future of sports games and let me tell you why. Imagine a world in which 2K14 had a flawless launch. No server issues, no corrupt save issues, no crashes to the dashboard, and no broken features. As a gamer this sounds like basketball utopia. However, in this scenario, I believe 2K's implementation of virtual currency would not have come under the same scrutiny that it has. Now that's one man's opinion but I think it needs to be discussed. As people's frustration grew over a broken game with broken saves and broken features, people also started to notice other things wrong with NBA 2K14. The virtual currency implementation, the lack of local save files to your HDD, and the reliance on always connecting to 2K's server to name a few.

In many ways, NBA 2K14 embodies that "always online" spirit that gamers erupted against en masse when the Xbox One was initially revealed. Microsoft walked back these features and the rest is history. 2K14 often feels like a game made for that always online world. The always online nature of the game didn't reveal itself right away either. I paid my $64 at launch and bought 2K14 like many of you did. I went home and was blown away by the graphics and gameplay, like many of you were. Many gamers were in the "honeymoon" period with 2K14 and rightfully so. It wasn't until after the launch of the game and after the reviews were posted by every major site, OS included, that the gaming world woke up to what was going on.

I myself might have downplayed or diminished the grumblings of fellow gamers on some issues had I not experienced a broken MyCareer save that couldn't be played until Patch #2 was released. At the time I was furious. But now I'm glad that it happened the way it did. It gave me a chance to stand back and reflect on the game and it's various issues. It afforded me the opportunity to look at the implementation of VC as a universal currency across all modes. It gave me the chance to wonder why it took so long to boot the game up sometimes. It game me a reason to wonder why I couldn't find the roster I had worked on unless I was disconnected from online (as I was when I first worked on the file). I'm not saying that all of these issues wouldn't have been noticed by gamers eventually. But I do believe the roar over them would not have been as loud and I don't believe that major websites and even our own Press Row Podcast would have devoted entire stories to "vc", had 2K14 had a trouble free launch and fantastic post launch support. We'd have all been too busy playing the game!!

So yeah, I'm glad that NBA 2K14 launched with so much broken, now that I reflect on it. It gave sports gamers a reason to question the future of our hobby and to start speaking up about our concerns for this generation of sports games. Without gamers and critics crying fowl over the way that "vc" was implemented, would we as a gaming community have had any meaningful discussion about the state of micro-transactions, in-app purchases, and always online in December and January? I don't know the answer but I'm glad we didn't have to face that. In large part because of NBA 2K14, baseball gamers the world over now ask questions about SCEA's "universal currency", scheduled to debut in MLB: The Show 14. All sports gamers have rallied around the idea that we shouldn't have to connect to a server in order to access our local save files. I think some really positive discussion came from the failed state of NBA 2K14 and it just might be the tip of the spear for gamers to shape what kind of experience we demand and accept from our sports games going forward. And it even expands beyond sports games to console games in general. NBA 2K14's failures have been a massive story. And rightfully so in my opinion.

I believe that in the long run we might look back at NBA 2K14 and be thankful that we had to address some of the issues that we have addressed as a gaming community. It might prove to be this generation's Madden NFL 06 moment for some of us. For different reasons obviously but perhaps more important. The failure of NBA 2K14 on so many levels is a good thing for the future of sports games.

If any of you would like to comment, I'd be happy to know what you think about it.
Blog: JohnDoe8865
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The injury saga of Derrick Rose has been a tough one to follow for those that empathise with the plight of the Bulls' talented point man. It's not as easy, however, for us to relate to the front office in Chicago. What is life like when the heart of your franchise goes down for an entire season -- or more? The injury to David Robinson that led to San Antonio drafting Tim Duncan was one of the most impactful twists of fate for any professional sports organization in recent memory. But allowing your organization to struggle in the current season with the hope it leads to gains in the future (draft positioning) is a tough call to make.

Last year the Bulls pushed forward to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals despite the void Rose left. This year, however, Chicago is struggling with a sub-.500 record and the organization has responded in kind. Luol Deng has been traded away and Andrew Bynum immediately released -- perhaps a sign that Chicago is looking past the current season and banking on the future when Derrick Rose returns.

If you were the GM of a sports franchise that lost a star player to injury, would you push forward or plot for free agency and future draft picks?

Bonus Question: What strategies have you tried in the virtual world as a sports video gamer?


Sports Headlines for January 8, 2014
Blog: jmik58
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
10:23 AM - January 7, 2014. Written by jmik58

It wasn't quite Vince-Young-over-USC good, but last night's finish that saw Florida State steal a national championship from Auburn and the SEC -- in one word, 'Wow!'

College football isn't like its professional sibling in regard to parity as much as we like to think it is. So when two evenly-matched teams square off and the game comes down to the final minute -- that's what championship moments are meant to be.

Today also marks the first day of the post-BCS era and with it some unintended positives. Sure, we get our computers exchanged for a playoff format. But one thing that stands out in my mind which may go unnoticed by many is the boost in quality of play we'll get in the title game. No more four-week layoffs from conference championship week to bowl week for the nation's elite. The semifinals will be the time to work out the jitters with a quick turnaround allowing for a regular season type of preparation -- the routine teams and players are used to.

What aspects of a college football playoff are you most excited about?


Sports Headlines for January 7, 2014
Blog: jmik58
Monday, January 6, 2014

Sure, America's economy isn't what it used to be, but football fans have never been more ravenous for their sport. Yet tickets are sitting on cold Midwestern shelves and are at historically low prices for tonight's BCS championship game between Florida State and Auburn. So what gives?

It's the final game of the 2013-14 college football season and the final hurrah for the infamous BCS system. It's the undefeated Seminoles with Jameis Winston versus yet another SEC school -- everyone has a reason to watch and something to cheer for or against. Maybe everyone is still watching, they're just doing it from home.

Is the cost of traveling too much for the fine folks of Southeastern USA to trek to the nation's opposite shore? Or has the in-home experience finally surpassed that of the in-person spectacle? One thing is for sure, the view may be just as good with HDTVs and the food and companionship can't be beat from the comfort of your own man cave.

Has your preference shifted regarding your favorite way to watch big sporting events? Are you as satisfied watching at home compared to the in-person experience?


Sports Headlines for January 6, 2014
Blog: jmik58
Saturday, January 4, 2014
10:29 AM - January 4, 2014. Written by Steve_OS

Kobe Bryant couldn't make the interview after shoot arounds, so Nick "Swaggy P" Young stepped in as the Black Mamba in this funny video interview.

Source - Lakerholicz
Blog: Steve_OS
Friday, January 3, 2014

Maybe Bob Stoops knew what he was talking about. The SEC may field the top team in the nation each year, but the rest of the bunch appears to be just as vulnerable on a neutral field with the nation's other elite teams -- especially their quarterbacks. And what happened to the vaunted Alabama defense? Forty-five points surrendered to Oklahoma, thirty-eight on the shoulders of the staunch Crimson Tide defense.

South Carolina defeated Wisconsin by a respectable ten-point margin, but LSU struggled to beat unranked Iowa, Georgia was upset by Nebraska, Texas A&M squeeked by Duke, and now Alabama has lost to the Sooners. God forbid in SEC-land should Auburn lose the national championship game on Monday. Sure, the SEC is full of good teams, but when you talk yourselves to a level so much higher than the rest of the nation, it takes more to verify and maintain that elite status.

Is it "open season" on the SEC after their less-than-dominant performances thus far in the Bowl Season?


Sports Headlines for January 3, 2014
Blog: jmik58
Thursday, January 2, 2014

September is a long way from now, but unofficial reports have surfaced that point towards a September bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. For months, both sides have postured and fired verbal shots towards the other as numerous attempts to schedule a fight between the two continued to fall through.

Both are set to return to the ring for separate matchups sometime in April or May. This would allow for a natural progression towards a September face-off between arguably the world's two most-revered boxers. But nine months is a lot of time for plans to fall through the cracks or for an injury to derail plans -- not to mention a return to the blood-test saga.

On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather to fight?


Sports Headlines for January 2, 2014
Blog: jmik58
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Where do we draw the line in post-game corrections? According to the NFL, an apology is all that is given when officials miss calls that determine playoff qualifiers, but stats and records can be shifted arbitrarily to fix missteps by official scorers.

Peyton Manning's seven-yard pass to Eric Decker at the end of the first half may be reversed to reflect a running play since the pass appears to have been a backwards lateral. The change would slip Manning behind Brees' mark with 5,470 yards -- still an impressive feat.

Should statistical adjustments and rulings changes be allowed once a game is complete? Or should leagues implement an all-or-nothing philosophy in regard to post-game corrections?


Sports Headlines for December 31, 2013
Blog: jmik58
Thursday, December 26, 2013

It always feels good seeing highlights of the year's best plays or moments. But maybe none of your favorite stars or teams gave you anything to cheer about in 2013. To paraphrase a certain brewing company in St. Louis, Missouri: This one's for you!

If you count yourself among the loyalists to the Knicks, Spurs, Bulls, the health of Kobe Bryant or Derrick Rose, The LBJ Haters Club, San Francisco 49ers, the read option, defense in general in the NFL, the St. Louis Cardinals (hey, it was still a great run!), Big-Ten Football, anything other than SEC football, or just a fan of anything Cleveland -- it's safe to say 2013 wasn't all roses.

What were your most disappointing sports moments or letdowns of 2013?


Sports Headlines for December 26, 2013
Blog: jmik58
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jason Garrett is by no means the world's greatest head coach -- but then again, is he even really in charge of his own team? Tony Romo is reportedly out for the rest of the regular season with a back injury. That is, unless you're the omnipresent Jerry Jones who has decided to interject by stating that Romo may actually not be done just yet.

Jones owns the team and likely will never "fire" himself from its self-appointed general manager duties (of which there is a consensus he is out of touch in the salary cap era). The captain of the ship once known as America's Team (is it still?) has gone so far as to shift around the play-calling duties of his coaches mid-season and it wouldn't surprise many if he adds his opinion to game-planning as well.

Jason Garrett understood the micromanaging he would experience from his boss when he took the head coaching job in Dallas. But public interjection (that often contradicts previous team reports) may be slightly extreme, even for a control freak like Jerry Jones.

Do you think Jason Garrett has the most frustrating job in the NFL? What other players, coaches, or general managers could argue for the title?


Sports Headlines for December 24, 2013
Blog: jmik58
Monday, December 23, 2013

With one week to go, Peyton Manning already owns the single-season record for passing touchdowns (51). I posed the question last week regarding your thoughts on the emerging offensive explosion within the NFL -- to which many are not a fan -- Tom Brady, however, is very impressed.

Granted, Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, but the rule changes favoring the offense and pourous defensive play make it somewhat difficult to judge apples-to-apples the passing achievements of seasons past.

Where does Peyton Manning's single-season passing touchdown record rank and is it muddied by the NFL's favortism towards offense?


Sports Headlines for December 23, 2013
Blog: jmik58
Friday, December 20, 2013

Kobe Bryant has had a brilliant career and despite how it ends, his legacy will likely go untarnished. Still, it's difficult to watch his basketball days wind down with a lack of grace. After a devastating achilles injury last season, The Black Mamba is down again -- this time for six weeks with a bum knee -- but what happens when he returns? Another injury?

There are a wide variety of ways to finish a career. The NFL's Barry Sanders left in his prime (too soon?) without ever sniffing a championship while John Elway went from Super Bowl champ to retiree. Michael Jordan, on the other hand, possibly stuck around too long. The lasting image of each, however, is still the height of their prime -- with a little cringe mixed in for guys like Sanders, Jordan and possibly now Bryant.

Should superstars like Kobe Bryant retire at the end of their careers when their bodies start falling apart, or does it have an impact on their legacy?


Sports Headlines for December 20, 2013
Blog: jmik58
Thursday, December 19, 2013

The first glimpse at one of the NBA's so-called "nickname" jerseys was unveiled by Spike Lee on his Instagram account yesterday. The image shows the jersey that Ray Allen will wear when the Celtics and Heat match up on January 21st. Allen will don "J. Shuttlesworth" across the back of his uni, a reference to Jesus Shuttlesworth -- Allen's character from Lee's 1998 movie "He Got Game."

The NBA plans additional games in March and April with the nickname jerseys and fans can nab one of their favorite player starting Jan. 14. The price tag: $109.95.

Do you like the idea of 'nickname' jerseys, or does it come across as tacky or a money-grab by the NBA?


Sports Headlines for December 19, 2013
Blog: jmik58
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top Sports News for Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sound Off on the Question of the Day and today's links in the comments section below.
Blog: jmik58
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Sports News for Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sound Off on the Question of the Day and today's links in the comments section below.
Blog: jmik58

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