COG Considers: Where Do You Put All of Them, Even
With a fresh crop of sports games out on the shelves, so too returns that age-old quandary: how much longer is this weird grift going to keep working? I don’t mean sports games in general. Those are an essential service, one that keeps the industry afloat, provides endless fun for millions of people, and requires an insane amount of work to produce. I mean the ‘new one every single year’ grift. What am I missing here? Are these not just the same game with an updated roster and a handful of new features?
Feel free to drag me through the mud on this one, sports fans. I freely admit to an outsider’s bias, here. I don’t play sports games, and I don’t play actual sports. Nor do I watch them? Just a big old nerd, is the picture I’m trying to paint. So instead of solving this impossible mystery, I’m going to propose a couple of different solutions. Maybe one of them will make sense, or maybe they’ll all be complete crap. Let’s spin the wheel and find out!
What if sports were just MMOs? Instead of buying a full-priced game every year, you spend less money every month. The upside to this is you no longer feel like you’re buying an identical title over and over. The downside is that developers would almost certainly make that monthly payment add up to a AAA title. It might even end up being more! No one wants that. On the other, other hand, a Basketball MMO could be hella rad. You could have dungeons, raids, all-star drafts, horrific scandals. You know, regular sports stuff.
Option B would be the DLC route. Players purchase the base game one time, NBA 2K__. Then they have the option to grab seasonal DLC packs every so often. New rosters, updated jerseys, additional game modes, and so on. That way, if you just want to keep playing the same game with some mechanical fixes forever, you can do that. People would probably still spend a ton of money every year, but the optics would be better.
Okay, so maybe the games can go free to play? Most modern sports games are already a garish hellscape of in-game ads and microtransaction prompts, why not crank that up to its natural end point? Just cram every menu with a Times Square’s worth of ads for seven different kinds of currency. You could have new limited-time campaigns every couple of weeks, seasonal content, giveaways, and promotions. Okay, that might be the worst one yet.
In conclusion, having players buy the same game once a year is somehow the least offensive option available. If any sports game developers are reading this, please forget everything you’ve seen. Otherwise, let me know if I missed an obvious solution to this problem.