We’ve reached the halfway point of the NFL season, and we’re still coming off the high of the World Series. With that in mind, how long do you keep playing a sports game year to year before hanging it up?
Jim Harris: There’s always so many new games to play, so once a sport’s real season comes to an end I’m usually ready to move on from the related video games by that point. It’s very sport-specific though. For a sport like baseball, which has such a long, drawn-out regular season, my interest in MLB The Show tends to peak in the lead-up to Opening Day and then again once the playoffs roll around. The NFL’s more condensed regular season often means my interest in Madden is pretty consistent from launch until the Super Bowl wraps up. The lone exception is the NHL series, which usually keeps my attention nearly year-round.
Matthew Ederer: It really does not matter to me where we are in a sport’s season. Especially in this era of rushed products and botched launches, it’s foolish to abandon games just because a new, likely inferior product is out. If a game is a classic, I will never, ever put it down. I am still playing Madden and NCAA Football 09 for PS2 (the best NCAA/Madden combo for PS2). I regularly play Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball on Nintendo 64 — I have played it at least once a month since it dropped in 1997. I played multiple games of NHL 95 this summer. A quick game of any of those provide more fun than my 30-40 hours of NBA 2K20 have given me this year. My point is, if you automatically stop playing a video game just because a shiny new version has come out, I think you’re doing this the wrong way.
Josh Houtz: For me, there are two things that factor into how long I play a sports title. Obviously, the game itself is a huge part of it. For instance, I usually play Madden religiously for the month before and after the season begins. But from there, patch updates will impact whether or not I continue playing. Before, I’d have 32-man online leagues to participate in, which would keep everything fresh and exciting. Now, as a father of two, leagues are not feasible so I have to find other ways to enjoy games. The second factor is the NFL season itself. For example, I’m a Dolphins fan. So, with the ‘tank’ being in full force, there’s not much to get excited about on game day. So after I suffer through a few hours of Dolphins football (somehow they now have two wins, to my dismay), the last thing I want to do is boot up my PS4 and play with a bad team. However, I do think once we approach the end of the season, I will be more inclined to build this once-storied franchise into a perennial Super Bowl contender.
TJ Henderson: For me, it’s really irrelevant. Whether I play FIFA, MLB, WWE, NBA or whatever else (even some PGA the other night), it’s completely dependent on what sport sounds good in the moment. Naturally there are some moments, such as watching a big game, where the adrenaline flows a bit more for that sport. That said, there is a period of time where my play time starts to dissipate, and that’s when we’re only a few months out from a sport’s new release. The reason is that I primarily play franchise modes, and so I begin to feel that my time is better spent elsewhere if the progress I made is about to be cut short anyways. This comes with one obvious exception, of course. The industry needs to match MLB The Show and provide year-to-year saves.
Phil Varckette: For me, I think I play the most when the game is first released, which I’m sure that’s the case for everyone else. As far as when the seasons move along, I tend to play MLB The Show a lot up until around the All-Star Break, then sporadically through the rest of the season. Near the end of the MLB season, I like to set up the playoffs, play through that and that’s pretty much it. As for Madden, once again, a lot at release. I slow down a little and then slowly start to play less and less. But when the Browns win, it makes me want to play. Of course, that means I’ve barely played it this season. NBA 2K is fun for a bit as well. I don’t play it regularly, but I do play it here and there all through the season. And finally, WWE games. I am a huge real-life WWE fan and wrestling fan in general. And since there is no offseason in wrestling, I play the games all year long. I actually played WWE 2K19 from release day all the way until about a week before the release of WWE 2K20. Sometimes I feel like maybe I don’t get my money’s worth out of these games, but in the end, I enjoy the way I play.
What say you OS faithful? How does your video game time align with a real sport’s season?