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The *real* necessary next step in sports games. 
Posted on December 29, 2009 at 10:15 PM.
As the decade comes to an end, many thoughts, lists, and videos are being compiled on the best and worst of the past 10 years. Technology specifically, is a great case study for how far an industry can come in 10 years. Sports gaming has come a long way since 2000. From graphics to game play, and even presentation many things have changed. Looking at games I played in as a kid in the 90's, games like NHL 94, and Sports talk football, to games I played as a teen and college student in this decade, Madden and "The Show", it's hard not to be amazed.

I had a thought a few weeks ago while driving, an idea which the more I think about, the more I realize must be implemented sooner rather than later. To me, the next revolution in sports gaming *has* to be the ability to carry on a franchise from one year's installment of a game, to the next. Furthermore this should include carrying over any single player career mode (i.e road to the show, be a pro) from one installment to the next.

Let's face it, some years a particular franchise may be able to fight through deadlines, and bugs to produce an award winning sports gaming experience. Unfortunately sometimes, for whatever reason, a team just can't get the formula right in a given year. We all know those years and games were everything clicks, when you play through 4 5 or 6 years of a franchise mode, without simming a single moment. Likewise, some years we can barely seem to make it through one year of franchise before dumping a game for the next seasonal sports offering.

But imagine a world where you have the ability to take that team you crafted over half a decade worth of trades, drafts, and signings from one installment to the next. In my opinion it would allow me to get through the years were a game isn't quite up to snuff. Now I know many people would say, well why not just continue to play the game that got it right, there's no need to get the newest yearly update if you are so content with your current situation. Valid, but I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for hype, new features, and the desire to always have the "newest tech".

Sometimes I just donít make it very far in a game, and some years I make it through multiple seasons. Let me take that one year and build on that and allow me to continue it. If and when I decide Iíve had enough with one team, I can start all over when *I* decide to. Look, it's great that you offer me a 30 year dynasty mode, or that I can take my starting pitcher to the hall of fame in "the show". But guess what, I don't have the time to take all of these players, and teams through dozens of years in a single calender game cycle.

Either way allowing us to continue franchises, and careers through installments should be instituted as soon as possible. Developer's are constantly being hammered for not being "next-gen" enough, not providing things that were offered on the previous gen, and not delivering on promises and hype. If you want to truly do something groundbreaking and monumental, allow gamers the opportunity to continue to play with players that we have come to love. I would give anything to be able to play with my current Madden, or NHL team in next year's installment. Every year since "Road to the Show" has been implemented I've been able to just get my player to his 2nd or 3rd year in the majors (after grinding out 2 or 3 years in the minors) before the next years offer comes out and it's time to start all over. It would be unreal to be able to actually see my SP from MLB 09 get his 300th win, or my 1B from 08 get 500 Home Runs.

So to any developers out there that may come across this. Think of how you can further the immersion, and convenience of being a sports gamer by figuring out a way to allow us to extend our experience for as long as we want. Now I'm not here to say that it would be easy, but surely it can't be impossible right? As another decade comes to an end, let's try to make the next 10 years as fun as possible
Comments
# 1 superstarshad @ Dec 29
Excellent read bro! Its surprising that developers haven't installed this feature before. Why should you have to redo your create a player, from year to year-especially if you're buying the same sports brand from year to year. Although Im not a that big on offline franchise, this feature could possibly pull me in. I spend the majority of my time playing online games and leagues. So the features I would like above all else is the ability to watch other online games for scouting purposes. They should also have a message board following each game where viewers can leave a comment or rate that particular gamer. I would also like the ability to save up to 3 online games (for scouting purposes) and the ability to share said game with gamers on my friend's list. These feature's are a must have moving into 2010. Here's hoping EA is listening...
 
# 2 RaychelSnr @ Dec 30
This is a great blog man! Very well written and thought out.
 
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