I’m always cognizant of the fact that you can’t spell Fanatic without fan, and I guess I would say I’m a sports Fanatic. I’m talking about just about every sport out there but let’s take a look at where the sports game industry is at entering 2016.
Football – Well, the Madden Monopoly continues unabated, and it’s quite likely that Madden 17 will be the only major football video game released next year. NCAA Football series is still dead, and on the Simulator side, it’s Front Office Football’s next version and possibly new versions of a couple classic sims (Second and 10 and the Bowl Bound College Football series, and perhaps a couple others), but it’s kinda funny to see the biggest sport in America be so bare in the cupboard when it comes to the video game industry.
Basketball – Again pretty much a one horse race as well, but the NBA 2K series looks to be getting better each year. Adding a psuedo-college mode in the latest version was pretty ok.. and the situation continues to trend upwards. (getting past the semi-popular Spike Lee mode in 2K16). NBA Live 2016 was a decent enough return to the NBA arena for EA Sports, but they’re still far behind. Not much coming in the pipeline for sportssims, although rumor has it that a new couple games in the Fast Break series could be a thing in 2016.
Baseball – Yup, a one horse field again in the console field, as MLB the Show continues to be the only MLB game released yearly, although Super Mega Baseball, RBI Baseball and a new Power Pros game (unknown if it will be a Japan-only release or also come to the US). On the text sim side, it’s a clear field for Out of the Park Baseball, which will have its yearly update come out.
Hockey – Console wise, yup, you guessed it, you want to play hockey, you go to EA Sports and hand them your money. NHL 16 bounced back from a sub par year, but they’re going to need to start adding features if they want to move the game forward. It’s actually pretty crowded on the text sim front, with Sports Interactive’s Eastside Hockey Manager recently emerging from Steam early access, competing against Franchise Hockey Manager 2. More games is a good thing!
Soccer – Wow, compared to the other sports, we’re absolutely flooded with choices. Prefer your games to be done with a controller? FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer are always neck and neck (although Konami’s treatment of their employees and fans over the last twelve months have cost them. More of a manger then a player? Well, there’s the 9000 pound gorilla of Sports Sims, Football Manager, and Soccer Manager as well. You even have Rocket Powered Soccer with Rocket League. But apparently, being a fan of the beautiful game pays off.
Golf – The PGA Tour series returned this year with Rory McIlroy PGA Tour. Unfortunately, several months after release, it’s still pretty thin on courses, and this might be an every other year type of thing. It’s a bit stronger with PC games like the Golf Club, Perfect Golf and the like.
Wrestling/Fighting: Well, there’s the WWE 2K series, but it seemingly took a step backwards on next generation systems. EA Sports UFC will return this year on next generation systems, and it looks pretty good. On the text sim side, we have Total Extreme Warfare, a new Wrestling Spirit game, and rumors of a new World of Mixed Martial Arts game.
So, there’s a lot of sports games, but in some categories, it’s pretty slim pickings. Did I miss something? Let me know!
David "SirFozzie" Yellope is the operator of the "An 8 bit mind in an 8 Gigabyte World". (an8bitmind.com) While not QUITE yet at the stage of waving his cane and telling the kids to "get off his lawn", he does admit he owns three canes.