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Five greatest innovations in sports gaming 
Posted on August 8, 2013 at 07:19 PM.
The world of video games have seen its fair share of incredible innovations over the years, and the sports genre is part of that. While they may not be as recognized in the industry and fan-base as say story-telling, mod-support, or the dialog tree, there have been some outstanding innovations in this niche genre none the less. We wanted to take a look at five innovations that have helped shaped sports video games as we know them today.

1. DYNASTY/FRANCHISE
If you are an older gamer, than you surely remember early console sports titles were a lot of things, but deep wasn’t one of them. The inclusion of the dynasty/ franchise mode has given some much needed depth and replayability to these titles. It is common place now, but try remembering back when exhibition and tournament mode were the only 2 options available.

2. ONLINE PLAY
While developers have done a decent job of providing digital opponents for the masses to play against over the years, they never could quite mimic that of a human one. The ability to grab a friend half way across the nation, or even a “random”, and play against an opponent who can give the user a different type of challenge consistently has been a god-send to this genre.

3. ANALOG INCLUSION
Whether it’s swinging a bat, sending a slap-shot across the ice, or throwing up a 3-pointer at the buzzer, there is no amount of button pushing that can make it feel realistic in a sports video game. When the analog stick was introduced it pushed the genre forward by leaps and bounds, and it makes it difficult to think back how one use to enjoy hitting a 450 foot bomb by pressing A.

4. ONLINE LEAGUES
As important as online play has been in the world of sports video games, online leagues have been equally as important. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Sony’s MLB the Show, 2K’s NBA series, or EA’s Madden and NCAA series, the inclusion of online leagues have expanded the popularity of each of these titles(and others of course) exponentially. While there is still plenty of room for growth and improvement in this area, one simply cannot deny the importance of them.

5. ROSTER SHARING/CREATING/EDITING
It is very difficult to quantify the true importance of having the ability edit, create, and share rosters in the day of licensing and exclusivity. All pro games are shipped with relatively current rosters, and even though EA will never admit it, even the college games incorporate extreme likenesses of the individuals who play the real sport. With that said though, games like 2K and Madden, who have the legal right to create actual rosters, still ship with omissions and mistakes that many feel the need to correct in order to create a feeling of authenticity while playing said title. In the case of NCAA, can one even imagine trying to play a collegiate game with randomly named rosters, or worse yet – a team full of numbered individuals?

Obviously this list is subjective, but there is no denying the fact that fans of sports gaming are better off with the above mentioned innovations. While there have been many over the years, some great, some not so great, developers need to keep pushing the envelope, and refining what is available now. We can’t imagine gaming in today’s world with the innovations listed not available, and we are excited to see what the next generation of gaming consoles will bring .
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