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Press Row Podcast - eSports Growing Pains

Press Row Podcast

Press Row Podcast - eSports Growing Pains

While it’s uphill battle for sports games in the world of eSports the likes of EA Sports and 2K Sports are dedicated to carving out a place for their franchises in the lucrative competitive arena. The games are battling the actual real-life sporting broadcasts for interest from viewers, while also struggling to prove a compelling watch when they often fail to look like the sports they are supposed to represent due to the way they are being played.

Madden NFL 17‘s first competition of the year is underway and a major exploit is already being utilized. When money is on the line will the video games ever be able to present a fair playing field and will an audience ever follow? Bryan Wiedey and Rich Grisham discuss the potential for eSports to grow within the genre and the stumbles that have been encountered in the early days in the latest episode of the Press Row Podcast presented by Hit The Pass.

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  1. people always cheat, glitch and exploit because they cant take a loss in regular online games let alone with money on the line. if that was somehow eliminated then everything would be fine.
    people always cheat, glitch and exploit because they cant take a loss in regular online games let alone with money on the line. if that was somehow eliminated then everything would be fine.

    Games like Madden and FIFA that have 20 computer-controlled players on the field at all times will always be nothing more than a contest of who can exploit those 20 AI bots the best. The particular exploits may change from year to year, but they will always exist so long as you are pitting a human brain against AI routines that have predictable patterns and limited behaviors.
    Madden and FIFA need to follow the model employed by NHL's EA Sports Hockey League and NBA 2K's Park/Pro Am and start using game modes for their eSports competitions that only allow human players on the field.
    For Madden, I would make a 7 vs. 7 mode. For FIFA, I would make a 6 vs. 6 mode.
    In the past two years, MyPark has become the most played online mode in NBA 2K. I believe that FIFA and Madden could have similar levels of success with a competitive team play mode if their developers added something like MyPark/Pro Am/EASHL.
    FIFA does have Pro Clubs already, but the problem with its current 11 vs. 11 setup is that there are large stretches of time where multiple players are not involved in any of the action. That is why I would shrink the field and the player count to 6 vs. 6, so it would be more like basketball/hockey where everyone is constantly involved in the game.
    I'm also not a fan of FIFA's current player attribute growth system, which starts you off with terrible ratings that you can only improve by purchasing boosts from the in-game store and grinding out tons of matches. NBA 2K has the same problem, to an even higher degree. It takes over 100 hours of playing NBA 2K's offline MyCareer mode just to get one character enough attribute points and badges to where he can compete against the best online Pro Am/Park players. That is a terrible way to design an eSports mode that's trying to attract the largest possible audience of players.
    The best eSports (Counter-Strike, Street Fighter, et al.) give players all the tools they need to succeed the moment that they turn on the game, instead of hiding those tools behind timesinks and paywalls. In the sports genre, only NHL's EASHL understands this concept, and has a good model of instantly selectable and diverse player classes that are basically the equivalent of fighting game characters. It is a shame that EA has done nothing to support the competitive EASHL scene since their initial NHL 09 tournament, because it is currently the best mode for eSports in the sports genre.

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