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Which Sports Game Has the Most to Prove in the Next Year?

Sports Gaming

Which Sports Game Has the Most to Prove in the Next Year?

As we continue to move quickly into another sports game release season, things are beginning to heat up for sports game developers looking to ship next year’s products to all of us.

Before we get too mired into the nitty gritty details of each game and lose the ability to have a more high level discussion about the genre as a whole, we are taking a few minutes to pause and reflect on which games we think have the most to prove during this upcoming release cycle.

Joel Smith

Despite the fact that NBA Live is making its return, I’m going to actually say NBA 2K18. NBA 2K hasn’t had any REAL competition in some years now, and they’ve really upped the bar in terms of what a complete sports game should be. As not only a fan but a heavily critical person when I pop in my games each year, I like to see and almost expect a complete product from top to bottom; presentation, gameplay, control(s), rosters, respective updates and a proper sim experience are just a few things that I want to see in a successful game. Again, NBA 2K has arguably done that the best out of all AAA titles for the last three to five years.

“NBA 2K has arguably done that the best out of all AAA titles for the last three to five years.”

This year though, EA Sports and the NBA Live team are really trying to put a lid on the pipe that releases the steam that the 2K machine releases. Some would say I’m crazy, but despite the issues that plague NBA Live 16, I actually enjoyed playing it when I’d throw it on from time to time. Looking at NBA Live 18 and what we’ve been shown at face value, if the team over at EA can nail down a strong Live 18 release, the 2K Sports team might have to look at their product and figure out how they can separate themselves — again — from the game that helped build EA Sports’ dynasty and refuses to die.

On a shorter-winded level, but in a somewhat similar situation, I would say FIFA 18 would be a close second. PES 2018 looks phenomenal and the guys at Konami have always brought a level of on-field authenticity to the PES series that the FIFA series sometimes struggles to find. If licensing rights were shared and PES had all the licensing FIFA had, I think there would be some extremely strong and aggressive opinions and battles that would be playing out during the last 12 months.

Robert Kollars

I would go with MLB The Show. While I appreciate The Show and all it does right, the legacy issues are starting to take their toll even on the loyal.

While other games struggle with the same legacy issues, it’s a larger issue for The Show because it’s the only game in town. And while baseball is my favorite sport, I’m not blind to the fact that the NFL, FIFA and NBA games also have more flexibility to make mistakes because their fan bases are global, and their sales probably reflect that.

The problem would be even more compounded if there was actual competition within the baseball genre, but at least for right now there is not.

“…the NFL, FIFA and NBA games also have more flexibility to make mistakes because their fan bases are global”

Again, I absolutely love the authenticity of MLB The Show, but it is possible to love a title, and still recognize that its development team has the most to prove.

Mike Lowe

There are a few games I’d consider for the top slot here, but I’ll go with NBA Live. Full disclosure: I do not play NBA Live, but used to back in the ’90s. I’m surprised NBA Live is still being made, but also surprised that this seems to be the year a lot of folks are taking notice. Is it finally going to pay off? NBA 2K is a strong effort every single year — the measuring stick for all sports gaming — and 2K is a company to me who gets how to make a sports game not just for online, but also work great in a franchise mode setting offline.

I think a lot of folks may say “Madden” for this question, but without any competition, I don’t think there is much of an argument to prove anything. We’re either buying it or not if we want a NFL game.

The other game I was considering for the top spot was MLB The Show. While there is also no competition for a AAA baseball title anywhere to be seen, I do think this is the game that could be the first to end up as an afterthought one day if they don’t proceed with care. People love the game, but when you really break down the game of baseball at an analytical level, the game is setup more for competitive, online play.

“…but without any competition, I don’t think there is much of an argument to prove anything.”

I’d be curious to see whether Microsoft (with licensing) or another independent game comes along and, for just a few examples, teams up with Out of the Park Baseball or produces a fully customizable game with sharing capability for the community to have their way creating everything from jerseys and rosters to stadiums. Is this all a pipe dream and incredibly unlikely, most definitely. But MLB The Show is the most vulnerable of the games with “no competition” right now. If Microsoft, 2K, EA, etc. somehow were to get involved, we could see a shift in not just which baseball game we play the most, but even in which gaming console people prefer down the line.

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  1. FIFA has the most to prove. Are they going to ever be anything than just a mode to push micro-transactions via FUT and nothing else? FIFA 17 was dreadful and their customer service and fan interaction is non-existent. It should not only be the best sports game on the market but one of the top video games period and it's just skating by on that stupid card mode. They are still pimping something called the "Futties" for FIFA 17 non-stop and have barely said anything about FIFA 18. 
    NBA 2K for me.  17 had great ideas and great depth, but the execution was horrible.  When you don't bother going back to play it because it's near impossible to load the game, that's pretty bad.  Server issues are also still there.
    Live is the obvious choice but I'm going to say 2K.
    2K has lost me for now, for the first time ever I'm not planning on buying 2K's NBA offering. The gameplay is so sloppy and I rarely feel like I'm in control of what's happening on the court, whether offensively or defensively. The game feels more animation-based than ever. CPU teammates are brain-dead. I couldn't get into 2K17 when it launched but have tried repeatedly to get my Knicks MyLeague going the last two months and it's a struggle to get through a single game.
    The game tries to do everything right - it's insanely deep, the devs listen to the fans, the customization is amazing but the gameplay is a mess right now.
    For the first time in a dozen years, I played more games of Madden than I did of 2K. I'll probably get Live this year and play 2K17 if I need a change of pace.
    FIFA and NHL for me. Madden is going frostbite so that looks interesting, 2K18 will still be phenomenal   And PES looks great. FIFA is getting stale.
    It is without question that it is NBA 2K, for him to say the best 3 out 5 years is ludicrous. NBA 2K needs to be gutted in a lot of areas. The only thing it does good is run offensive game plays and freelance and that's about it.
    I'd say NBA Live, but since they haven't really existed for 5 years I can't really say they have anything to prove. They just have to have a working title at this point.
    So, I've got to say MLB The Show.
    The game has felt identical every year since they moved to PS4.
    I buy it every year, for some reason, but the improvements are negligible. I'll definitely pass next year unless they fix some legacy issues and change other things.
    if they finally add a legit baseball sim with MLB licensing on XB1, it'll be a game changer. The Show is the only reason i'm considering purchasing a PS4 in addition to the XB1 I already have.
    I would go with The Show too. The team stripped out a lot of depth after MLB 12.
    I get that there was a push to start fresh and fix things, but in the interim, a lot of the other sports franchises surpassed The Show's feature depth (ironically buy putting in features The Show lost like Owner-mode centric items, e.g., stadium upkeep, travel expenses, etc.) and ability to put the player in the shoes of a more-fluid, realistic gaming world (e.g., NBA 2K owner meetings during the season, NHL showing what is for sale in the team shop or a player bobble head camera cut on bobble head night,  etc.)
    Lowes comments are interesting on Madden/Show.
    We either buy Madden or don't if we want an NFL game. True, but I think Madden can take the blow of X amount of buyers not buying year to year.
    The Show cannot. Being exclusive to PS4 there sales are not as much as the other big games, and I still feel it has a ways to go.
    It's my favorite game. I've probably played over 500 online franchise games this year, but they have been focusing to long on online play and diamond dynasty. Franchise mode needs an overhaul, and has only gotten minimal improvements the last few years.
    Also, figure out online franchise. Me and by 3 buddies are in season 10 playing about 40 games a year. We love the game, but Online Franchise has not been touched since it's debut in 14, and is largely broken. It needs extreme patience and many workarounds for the franchise to sustain. And many things don't work, Injuries, Stamina for position players, contracts are wack, budget problems, I could go on forever. SDS is great with the community pre-release but the last 2 years during streams we have gotten one sentence in regards to online franchise. And it's a complete BS response.
    I think the show had a good leap in gameplay. Hit variety is amazing. But between the extremely bad server issues that plagued the game, and the patches that continue to fruturate users, the Show has alot to prove.
    It shocks me that NBA 2K & MLB The Show are in this conversation. These games are vastly superior to NHL & Madden NFL. Criticise the lack of progression of these 2 games over the last couple of years as much as you like. The fact that the NFL/NHL games haven't come anywhere close in this time underlines the greatness of these games. Any game at any time in the history of video games can be subject to negative criticism. But to call out weaknesses in the 2 franchises that set the standard.....that seems crazy to me. 
    The reality is that we are so used to the below par offerings of NHL & Madden that we subconsciously make allowances for the standards of they 2  franchise games.
    I constantly read write ups of people praising the likes of 2K's College football games or EA's MVP Baseball series. Yes they were great titles at the time. But they're nowhere near the standard we now, all too complacently enjoy.
    Dazraz
    It shocks me that NBA 2K & MLB The Show are in this conversation. These games are vastly superior to NHL & Madden NFL. Criticise the lack of progression of these 2 games over the last couple of years as much as you like. The fact that the NFL/NHL games haven't come anywhere close in this time underlines the greatness of these games. Any game at any time in the history of video games can be subject to negative criticism. But to call out weaknesses in the 2 franchises that set the standard.....that seems crazy to me.*
    The reality is that we are so used to the below par offerings of NHL & Madden that we subconsciously make allowances for the standards of they 2 *franchise games.
    I constantly read write ups of people praising the likes of 2K's College football games or EA's MVP Baseball series. Yes they were great titles at the time. But they're nowhere near the standard we now, all too complacently enjoy.

    To me, NBA 2K17 is a mess. Yes it has plenty of content, and if the game worked properly it would be great. But when I have to spend a minimum of 20 minutes just to load into the game then the game is on the verge of being broken.
    I don't care how "deep" a game is if it's not playable. Madden or NHL? They maybe are shallow, but I can play them. I also feel playing them I have far more control over players compared to the canned animations of NBA 2K.
    Don't even get me started on the online servers for NBA.
    What I find crazy, are people who blindly defend NBA 2K and seemingly give them a pass for every failing.
    Definitely Mlb the Show, this year was such a drop in quality unlike any past year I can remember. And definitely the most overall negative reaction they've received in recent years.
    Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
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