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OS Roundtable: How Long Do Sports Games Last for You?

Operation Sports

OS Roundtable: How Long Do Sports Games Last for You?

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?

MLB The Show 19 World Series

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?

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  1. Back in the day almost 6 months per cycle. Nowadays I am lucky if I am not sick of a game after 2 weekends. I am strictly an office player and sports games are just not engaging like they used to be. Combined with the fact that game get absolutely butchered by patches to accommodate the online crowd, I just don’t have the stomach for these games anymore
    Depends on the game of course -the current yearly release major sports titles are usually good for the length of the actual season. On the other hand I still play Earl Weaver Baseball on my Amiga so go figure.
    I agree with Matthew Ederer.
    -Im still playing CH2k8, NCAA11 ps2, NCAA 14 ps3-occasionally, NBA2k15.
    MLB THE SHOW 15 still playing my season modes 29 game. MLB2k12, and Ill get in 1 season of NFL2k5 every year.
    in the last 3 years with the newer titles, Ive yet to get a full season on any. might be because of the releases dates being so close together, that I cant get immersed in any one. Im speaking of Madden, NBA2k, and the soccer titles.
    havent played a full season of any madden game since maybe MAdden12 on the ps3.
    tril
    I agree with Matthew Ederer.
    -Im still playing CH2k8, NCAA11 ps2, NCAA 14 ps3-occasionally, NBA2k15.
    MLB THE SHOW 15 still playing my season modes 29 game. MLB2k12, and Ill get in 1 season of NFL2k5 every year.
    in the last 3 years with the newer titles, Ive yet to get a full season on any. might be because of the releases dates being so close together, that I cant get immersed in any one. Im speaking of Madden, NBA2k, and the soccer titles.
    havent played a full season of any madden game since maybe MAdden12 on the ps3.
    This is me as well with sports games and all other games too. My backlog is so massive that I never buy games day 1. The exception will be NCAA football if it comes back.
    On the sports front I am playing through seasons/Dynasties in NCAA 12 and 14, MLB The Show 17, NBA 2K17, and WWE 2K19. No intention of upgrading these any time soon.
    At this point I'll just wait for next gen and see what the new consoles have to offer. Sports games, to me, often feel like a roster refresh that isn't worth it annually.
    Sent from my SM-N960U using Operation Sports mobile app
    Usually get a year out of 2k but this year I stopped playing entirely after a few weeks. Too many fun stopping bugs, money grabs, VC pits, updates and lack of accountability by Devs spoiled it for me.
    Therebelyell626
    Back in the day almost 6 months per cycle. Nowadays I am lucky if I am not sick of a game after 2 weekends. I am strictly an office player and sports games are just not engaging like they used to be. Combined with the fact that game get absolutely butchered by patches to accommodate the online crowd, I just don’t have the stomach for these games anymore

    This pretty much sums up where I am. I think the NCAA Football series getting cut short took a lot of the fun of gaming out of me. I pretty much still play NCAA 14 more than any other title...and now as the years go on even that is becoming sporadic. I don't have the same amount of time as I used to being 44 with my wife and family. So, my gaming time has pretty much been cut to weekends at night when everyone is asleep. That's not enough time to really do anything other than play now games.
    I've been on a retro binge lately so right now I've dug back into Fight Night Champion and NBA Live 10. I also purchased me an OG XBOX and modded it and bought several of the best sports games from 2004-2007. My goal is to try and get a Dynasty in on MVP NCAA Baseball 06 starting around the holidays when I have a few days off. I also have ESPN College Hoops that I wanna do a Legacy mode in. It's just hit or miss.
    I agree with Matthew to an extent. 80-90 % of my sports gaming is either the current NBA 2K  or a very recent The Show as I buy that every other year. However, I tend to still hang on to all my sports games  because sometimes you just get an inkling to play an older engine. I’ve put hundreds of hours into NBA Jam  2000, NBA Live 2004, and CH 2K8 and still play them from time to time. 
    2-3 years. As a franchise guy, only significant gameplay changes can move me to make a purchase, and those are few and far between.  If College Hoops 2k8 was backward compatible on my PS4 Id still be playing that. 
    With MLB The Show being free on PS Plus last month I feel like I might've got into too many sports now but typically I'll buy the new Madden or NBA every couple of years because you can download the next season's roster and the uniforms don't really change. There's unlimited play with those to be honest because you can download different rosters historically and draft classes to keep it fresh.
    PES I've bought every couple of years and FIFA every year (apart from this year) and I usually stop playing those once the season ends and the transfers start happening in real life.
    To be honest, The moment the last whistle sounds usually marks the end of that gaming cycle for most pro sport video games. The knowledge of new, upcoming talent entering the league usually leaves a void. College sports games usually had a longer life span due to the fact that players come and go and new undiscovered talent is on its way. The NCAA to Madden formula certainly made the life cycle longer. I actually still play Madden 25 in conjunction with NCAA Football 2014, as well as College Hoops 2k8 in conjuction with NBA 2k8 for the same reason. I would actually prefer sports games with fictional teams and players so I can write my own story. The fact that Madden has relocation prolongs things for me, but I still lose interest once the season winds down.
    I'm still playing  NCAA Football 14 and given Phillip Lindsay being a rookie in Madden 19, I'm playing Madden 19 for a long time.  I'm starting to realize the appeal of EA Access given that I love Need For Speed as well.  Those services are the future because some of us are not willing to deal with broken games at launch.
    As an older gamer that used to play everything, now I only just play the sports games and that helps a lot time wise but even still i jump from sport to sport and can take a few years just to finish a season in each sport.
    NCAA Football was the only sports game I could play after the season was done. Mainly because the rosters constantly change with recruiting so you don't get locked in to how a team should be. I bought Madden for the 1st time in years and am pretty much done with it. The franchise isn't that much fun to build teams on, they also don't allow you to control teams like NBA 2k Myleague. Sometimes I want to help out the CPU since they seem lost on who to keep. NBA 2k I play usually up to the finals and some off season.
    I used to play every year's release but became stale when NHL 2K tanked and EA's very unrealistic and focused more on stupid online games. Now, my last NHL was 19 but before that was 17. NBA 2k 16 was my last. Every year i buy the MLBTS i alternate being a pitcher or batter. 
    But the one that really "stole my hours" was CH2k8...man that was a deep game...how i wish the current gen sports games could be like this deep.
    I become more and more disinterested in gaming year by year. I don't know if I have grown out of them or if the quality just isn't the same. The graphics sure are cute, but I just see less value these days for the initial money one lays down on a game.
    Maybe it is the microtransactions that have made me lose interest.
    Overall, I just feel like more developers pump more time into modes that will make them money, featuring microtransactions, and I suppose I can't blame them. They are trying to maximize profits.
    I just miss games of old. The last NBA 2K video game that I truly loved, the one that I think is the all-time greatest basketball game ever made, is NBA 2K11.
    I thought 2K20 could overtake it. How wrong I was.
    Madden feels so stale to me.
    Sorry, I'm long-winded. I lose interest in modern sports games so quickly because I wind up wondering where all the depth is. They don't feel as immersive as they once did.
    I still can't believe, over fifteen years later, Madden's presentation isn't anywhere close to NFL 2K5.
    You can add a new dimension to Madden 16-20 changing the view to sideline aka Tecmo Bowl. I feel you run better in that perspective. Put it on practice mode and train running one play over and over again.
    Ok, I am currently playing NCAA FB 12, Madden NFL 12, College Hoops 2k8, NBA 2k18(and up until the summer I had been playing 2k13) all on the 360. And for context, I played Madden NFL 06 and NCAA FB 06 for about 4 calender years until I got a 360 in 2010.
    For me, I can recycle sports games because of dynasty mode. and I extend the life by only playing the game when the real season is ongoing. So each offseason, I try my best to edit NCAA FB to get a good projected draft class, and to get a fair real roster for the upcoming season. I take the draft class into madden and try to atleast manipulate trades so that atleast the top draft picks end up on their real teams. When I was playing 2k13, I would create draft classes and then force trades to get the rosters realistic. Thats the same thing I am doing with 2k18. Now for college hoops it has been atleast 2 or 3 yrs since I was able to download a roster file. Prior to that I was all over the forums here when the fellas were cranking out amazing CH2k8 rosters year after year.
    right now, i'm starting to keep the better playing sports games since they really don't change all that much from year to year......with roster sharing, you can keep a game alive for some time with some great up-to-date rosters (and classic rosters). mlb the show 17 and nba 2k19 right now for me.....the show 17 for the editable season mode/retro mode and 2k19 still works for me for the time being. madden 20 for me now but man,  it is horrible at changing anything from year to year....we FINALLY have roster sharing with it but nothing new other than that. no historic teams, no create-a-team,  no arcade style mode (tecmo bowl mode, please), nothing. they added pro bowl teams (about time) but they aren't editable at all. 
    on a side note, just thinking that madden 20 can really capitalize on the NFL 100 year celebration by adding the NFL 100 all-time team to the game as dlc.....(and NOT just to madden ultimate team). would be great to add these legends to the game to use as we want. maybe divide them into two separate teams (of 50 each) with some throwback pro bowl uniforms or something like that. maybe red/blue unis with the NFL 100 logo on the helmets.
    the old games had offline modes you caould play forever and never get old. The Jordan Challenge, The Lebron Greatest mode and the NBA Greatest, create a legend etc... The modes now are boring and just looting your wallet.  So to answer the question, I'd say, I play these games in quick spurts now with friends, that's about it. Maybe on the weekend. I get bored wiht most sports games within a few weeks time. That was unheard of back in the day. 
    currently playing in Caulfield's console: MLB the Show 14. Now, I've also played Show 15-19 also, but 14 is the sports game on ps4 that has lasted me the longest. The only real reason my old sports games still appeal to me is rooted in their rosters. It also helps if the game is enjoyable to play, which they still are. I still have Show's 06-13 on ps3 but it's awful hard for me to regress to ps3 games. Need to fire 'em up and give those years another once over though. 

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