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Do Core Gamers Even Care About Sports Titles Anymore?

I don't mean to insult hardcore sports lovers. But here's the scenario and I'm sure everyone old enough has noticed it:

When I was a kid growing up in the '80s, and as a teen in the '90s, sports games were simply a staple of the industry. Just about everyone played them. If you were into video games, you invariably owned at least a few sports games.

There wasn't anybody I knew who didn't own a Madden, NHL (Blades of Steel, baby!), R.B.I. Baseball, or NBA Jam. And I think we forget how many different sports games we had; there were volleyball games (Kings of the Beach!), for instance, and miscellaneous sports titles (California Games, anyone?). The ironic part is that unsurprisingly, a lot of gamers in those days weren't exactly athletic and didn't even watch sports on TV.

Those same kids have grown up now, and not a one has played a single sports game in many years. They still play but sports are out. If you ask them, the answers are pretty much the same: "I have other games I want to play," and "sports just aren't my thing and I have tons of other options now." That's definitely part of it; we've got a crapload of available games in all kinds of different genres these days. Back then, we basically just had a bunch of side-scrolling action/platformers, the occasional RPG, and yeah, lots of sports games.

So, it seems that now, unless you're a die-hard sports enthusiast, you're just not interested in playing the latest MLB: The Show, or something like that. Heck, the majority of all sports games today are simulators, anyway, so they're only targeting the avid followers. It seems like those who play sports games these days only play sports games, because they're more sports fan than they are gamer. The more of a gamer they are, the less they seem to play sports titles.

And again, I don't mean it as a slight against those who love sports games. But I'm willing to bet that those who spend eons with their favorite sports simulators aren't spending anywhere near as much time with other games. Am I wrong?

Tags: sports games, sports video games, sports simulators, gamers

4/12/2015 10:38:21 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (29 posts)


matt99
Sunday, April 12, 2015 @ 11:04:42 PM
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This may be true of people of your generation who grew out of love with sports games but I am an avid gamer who put several hundred hours into games like Skyrim, Mass Effect, Deus Ex, Battlefield, etc, etc. But I also LOVE sports games and have put just as many hours into FIFA, NHL, and Madden. Maybe I'm an exception though?

I do get your point though, and it does seem like there is a great divide between "core gamers" and "sports gamers". I think it's because they're all simulators now as you said, and so you have to be really into the sport to enjoy it, whereas a more arcade-y game like NHL Hitz was a ton of fun to play whether you like hockey or not.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, April 12, 2015 @ 11:20:44 PM

Yeah, even games that proposed to be "simulators" back then were still arcadey, and that's probably why everyone played them. Nowadays, simulators are so authentic they're bound to only appeal to the hardcore enthusiasts of that particular sport.

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PS3_Wizard
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 10:59:38 AM

I miss NFL Blitz...

I'll even settle for NFL Street and NBA Street.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 11:09:32 AM

I miss all those too. :(

It's why I take great solace in games like Super Mega Baseball and NBA Jam.

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MrAnonymity
Sunday, April 12, 2015 @ 11:27:17 PM
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I tried to retain my love for wrestling games, but it just isn't there anymore. I also funneled many hours into Gameday '98, but football just doesn't really matter to me anymore. While I retain my love for RPGs, sports games just don't have a place anymore.

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pavlovic
Sunday, April 12, 2015 @ 11:29:42 PM
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I play fifa... A lot. This year I've played more than 500 games on line. The difference? Every game is diferent caise you're playing a real person.

Also I buy Madden every yeat but play less and less every year.

I play many other games from almost any genre, and put some serious time in some of them.

And yes, every year less of my friends get sport titles.

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smileys_007
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 3:00:07 AM
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@Ben

we're on the same generation ben and the only sports game that I'm playing until now is the nba games, which is the nba2K games now.. ^_^

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Shauneepeak
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 3:18:46 AM
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Unless you are from EU or SA and playing FIFA I honestly don't think sports games have mattered all that much for I don't the know the past 5 years, maybe more?
I remember NFL, NBA, PGA, NHL, and to a lesser extent MLB being hugely popular when the PS2 was the king system and were the go to multiplayer games but once online FPS games became more accessible in the next generation I think Sports games lost their throne and the FPS took the crown for the mulitplayer category and so much so I think sports games have sort of died off.

Last edited by Shauneepeak on 4/13/2015 3:20:01 AM

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Broady
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 5:58:28 AM

Yep, FIFA is still huge here in the EU. Only game I really play with my friends at home - good for a pre-game day session.

Don't really play it that much on my own as prefer to have a game with a story, rather than win the league, cup, etc.

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matt99
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 9:14:05 AM

NHL is still one of the best selling games here in Canada every year...but that's because we're a bunch of hockey mad lunatics with a ridiculously long winter and nothing else to do.

It's probably still popular in parts of the US but nowhere else really.

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GMRX
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 3:45:44 AM
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Avid player of Fifa, I buy a Fifa like every 2-3 years, skipping out on 1 or 2 in between. It's become religious. Not only that, there is guaranteed to be a friend to come around to play Fifa more so than there ever will be one to play any of the other games I buy.

Sports games are among the VERY few games anymore that support local multiplayer, besides CoD. So you end up with a bunch of people watching you while you play a game and being anti-social, or them joining in on a game of Fifa.

I used to religiously buy WWE titles, but they slowly stopped being fun, separating divas from matches so there was less desire to create female characters, gimping or downright removing some of my favorite modes, limiting the fun and hilarity of create a character / career modes and overall making the game so serious and somehow more empty than ever before. I haven't had the desire to buy a WWE title in a while, which is a shame, Royal Rumble and other 6 man matches as Spiderman, Alien, One of my teachers, Daredevil, Catwoman and Nicolas Cage used to be the most epic matches ever.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 11:10:46 AM

It's a good point about local multiplayer. Drives me NUTS that more games don't include it. How hard can it be to put into a game? And why is it the prevailing belief that nobody wants it anymore?

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Broady
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 11:17:00 AM

One of the best things about goldeneye was the 4 player split screen.

Playing fifa with a few mates can result in some epic goals, and shocking defending. Clearly remember a friend shouting a the computer for a player to 'track the bloody runner you idiot'.
Either way that sports games can easily implement local multiplayer is a big plus for them.

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matt99
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 2:10:18 PM

I miss split screen racing games! Playing NFS Hot Pursuit 2 on the PS2 with a few friends was awesome.

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Kevin555
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 4:02:35 AM
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The only sport game I've ever cared about is the Pro Evolution Soccer series.

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FAREEZ
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 6:58:13 AM

PES ftw, and Fox engine make c.Ronaldo look super realistic...

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Snaaaake
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 4:28:31 AM
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Really?
Cause FIFA is still fun to play for everyone and sales is good.

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mk ultra
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 6:02:22 AM
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California Games was awesome. I'm saying it again. Someone needs to make a new surfing game. A new Skate would be awesome too.

I always upgrade all my sports games when I transition to a new generation. Then again every couple years or so. I used to buy and play a lot more though. Now it's pretty much just Fifa, MLB The Show and NHL when friends are over. Sports games are still great for local co op. But they are getting more simulator like and a lot harder to pick up and play if you dont play them often.


Last edited by mk ultra on 4/13/2015 6:04:15 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 11:12:11 AM

"California Games was awesome. I'm saying it again. Someone needs to make a new surfing game."

Truth. And a new volleyball game.

I ruled at the hackey-sack in California Games. :)

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mk ultra
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 10:58:50 PM

Hell, they should remake California Games. Totally forgot that had hacky sack. I loved that game on Genesis.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 7:30:03 AM
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i think thats a fair comment ben and i'd say thats true tbh 90's kids lke myself that between 5 and 10 played crash, sphyro, tony hawks pro skater and thats about it maybe SSX as well but no one really played NBA 2K or Madden, NHL, R.B.I. Baseball, or NBA Jam and there were volleyball games(DOA these days) we don't really play that sort of stuff as much any more. times have changed and tastes in games have changed alot i think alteast as far of diversity goes that includes sport games.

i thinks thats a fair assement tbh but feel free to chim in is i missed something or if you think i'm of the track with that assessment a bit. is like mostly the action/adventure, FPS,TPS and RPG and action/RPG and other such games that usually take up most of out time these days i guess my teens was then included circuit and arcade racers if they are sports game(motosports) if that counts in no sports are techincally their own genre but just though i'd mention that

the only sports game we have recently is FIFA 15 that my brother go for all us boys to play on the ps4 since i the ps4 at launch they can buy and play the next gen versions

happy gaming

Last edited by Rachet_JC_FTW on 4/13/2015 7:32:02 AM

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Underdog15
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 7:45:36 AM
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My friends list says, yup.

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rogers71
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 8:00:52 AM
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I think you have a point Ben. The problem with sports games is that there is no competing company making a rival sport game so EA pretty much just throws out the same game every year. I still play NBA 2K, it seems like they consistently put out a game that is different enough and compelling enough to make people want to buy the new iteration. EA will throw out a new animation, maybe a new touch to their multiplayer but otherwise, it is the same thing every year. I was more into college games so I played the hell out of NCAA Football and Basketball and when they quit making those games, I quit playing. The main problem with pro sports games, for me anyway, is that there really isn't any reason to play after you finish one season. It's all the same and it gets old and monotonous really fast. I am not an online player so I completely ignore that facet of a sports game. I will play my NBA 2K until Batman comes out and then shelve the sport game.

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Underdog15
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 11:32:08 AM
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Like the screenshot. My cousin and her husband have season tickets just a little bit above his left elbow.

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Beamboom
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 1:28:05 PM
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Well, I'd buy a new SKATE if that was released. :)

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Weaverpsu
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 4:25:05 PM
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It is sad. I am about the same age as you Ben, and I grew up playing sports games like 10 Yard Fight, GameDay, Joe Montana's Sports Talk Football, Tony Larusa's Game, etc. I play video games maybe once every two weeks now. I play GT6 with wheel, Top Spin 4, and I love The Show. I do play Uncharted 2 (have 3 but haven't got to it yet lol), GTA, and some downloaded games like Back to the Future every now and again. I am not a hardcore gamer at my age anymore. Not sure I ever was. I wish they were more popular because I would really, really, love a new Top Spin game! How could they not sell well overseas?? Europeans love tennis!?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 5:23:29 PM

I'd love a new Top Spin, too. I guess it just didn't sell really well anywhere.

I liked TS3 more than TS4, though. I forget what it is now, but there was something about the progression in TS4...if you opted to go a certain way, it was basically impossible to win top-level matches. And you couldn't subtract and add skill points whenever you wanted, as you could in TS3.

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FM23
Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 7:46:26 PM
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Hhhhhhhhmmmmm The only sport I play on a regular basis is basketball and let me tell you, I have no interest in NAB2k or Live. I just rather play the actual sport. The thing is, I barely even pay attention to the NBA or NCAA unless my team is playing or it's the playoffs. Basketball games are usually only interesting to me when me and a friend are competing in the same room. That's when I have a blast. But sports games solo, no thank you. lol

But back in the day, I played all basketball and football games on a regular basis. Now, just participate because free time ain't so free anymore.

Last edited by FM23 on 4/13/2015 7:47:31 PM

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Gordo
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 @ 2:42:30 AM
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Never watched a ice hockey match in my life but love NHL 15. I know it is lacking modes but never play more than a few games or a final series so it is fine for me.

Wouldn't buy it full priced or every year though, maybe just once a generation.

There are a big contingent of gamers however who only play COD and Fifa. That can keep them occupied for the whole year!

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