Feature Article
Fact or Fiction: 2016 Sports Gaming Predictions
1. When it’s all said and done, this will be said: “NBA 2K17 is your sports game of the year.”

Mike Lowe: Fact. NBA 2K16 would already win sports game of the year a year from now and probably in 2018 too; it's that far ahead of the others.

Ben Vollmer: Fact. The game has built such an enormous foundation. The Show is as solid as ever, but it doesn't take the necessary risks in its gameplay to make large leaps forward.

Fraser Gilbert: Fiction. I hate to put this in the fiction category, but I'm just not a big fan of basketball. That said, I can appreciate how good the NBA 2K series is, and I'm sure we'll get another excellent entry this year.

Caley Roark: Fiction. I have played MLB The Show 16 more this year than any other in recent memory. A large reason are the Diamond Dynasty modes, which have really become something great on their own. Gameplay, lighting and the overall feature set is a good as we've seen in this franchise. I know the NBA 2K series is a favorite, but for me, it will take a lot to knock The Show off the peak this year. (And I've even left FIFA out of my discussion.)

Kevin Groves: Fact. There are few givens in the gaming genre, but fortunately for consumers, NBA 2K appears to be a sure thing. While the Madden 17 news sounds great on paper, and The Show continues to be a solid title, NBA 2K17 will most likely capture this crown again behind solid gameplay, innovative features and a committed development team.
2. Madden will not change anyone's mind once again this year.

Mike Lowe: Fact. I think Madden is headed in the right direction. I'm pretty critical, but last year's game was really good. If they'd just clean up some of this "WTF" stuff, like injuries never happening away from the ball, and just stuff that makes zero sense from a football perspective, they'll have perhaps the second best game of the year. But EA does not have a reputation for cleaning up well and so I have to say “fact” for now.

Ben Vollmer: Fiction. Madden is already on the right path, and they’re fixing of issues that aren't necessarily cover-worthy (special teams, we're looking at you) is a big leap of faith. They're getting right down to the issues that have plagued the series for years and slowly turning Madden into the NFL game we've wanted it to be for over a decade.

Fraser Gilbert: Fact. Again, I'm looking at this from a noob's point of view. Based on what I've observed in recent years, I don't foresee the fans' minds being changed this year. I personally enjoyed last year's game, but it'll take a big effort to convince the hardcore enthusiasts.

Caley Roark: Fact. Every year I get hyped for the new additions and gameplay changes that Madden promises, but I always feel a little let down. Last year's version was a good game, but still missed elements that make football, well, football (penalties, practice squads, etc). I know some annual complaints are supposed to be addressed, but for now, I need to wait and see. I would also guess that many who ditched Madden in the past are too far gone to come back.

Kevin Groves: Fiction. If the press releases translate into measurable changes on the screen, Madden is taking serious steps towards a true football simulation. Whether or not this is enough to influence purchases and our die-hard sim fans is still TBD, but the early news is promising.
3. NHL will be a sports game of the year candidate in a big way.

Mike Lowe: Fact. I see this game being at or near the level of FIFA by next year. It could give a fight for the second best game of the year, depending on how much the NHL team cleans up versus the Madden team. The Show isn't making huge strides in their game, and next year could be the year EA actually steps up and delivers as many as three VERY solid games (Madden, NHL, FIFA).

Ben Vollmer: Fiction. It isn't that NHL hasn't made huge strides in the last year, but even if the games does end up on FIFA's level next year (as Mike predicts), then does that really compare to NBA 2K for a game of the year spot? I really don't think so.

Fraser Gilbert: Fact. The NHL series got off to a rocky start on the current generation of consoles, but the most recent iteration made huge strides to rectify the situation. Now, NHL 17 is poised to innovate further and make a huge push for sports game of the year.

Caley Roark: Fiction. I'd love it if an NHL game were in the mix for the award. However, the series seems to have become overshadowed by other great sports titles after failing to make a successful jump to this console generation.

Kevin Groves: Fiction. Admittedly the NHL is not in my wheelhouse. However, as a native Washingtonian, I still know the yearly playoff collapse of the Caps is about as sure of a bet as you can place. With that being said, I can't see NHL, whose release is sandwiched between some major titles (Madden - FIFA - NBA 2K), having a major impact on the gaming scene in terms of taking gamers away from those huge titles.

There's probably no Rocket League on the horizon, or is there?
4. The indie sports gaming scene will see another breakout hit this Summer/Fall.

Mike Lowe: Fiction. But if someone makes a custom football game that would allow for a Madden competitor -- or a college game -- I'll change my answer...

Ben Vollmer: Fiction. I so badly want to say yes. I predicted a couple of years ago when the underrated indie title Powerstar Golf hit the Xbox One that sports indie titles would be making huge waves. Of course, with games like Rocket League and Disco Dodgeball, this was a good assumption. But by this time last year, we had already heard about Rocket League. There's nothing quite as promising on the forecast, and indie developers seem keen on staying away from licensing. If we're going to get another breakout hit, it's going to be a huge surprise.

Fraser Gilbert: Fiction. In the case of runaway successes such as Rocket League, it was clear that a potential hit was at least somewhat predictable. Admittedly, we weren't quite sure how popular it would turn out to be, but positive early impressions hinted that it could be something special. I haven't seen anything to suggest that another indie hit is on the way, although I'd love to be wrong!

Caley Roark:Fiction. It's such a gamble for an indie game to make it big, I can't imagine another breakout success like Rocket League happening for a while.

Kevin Groves: Fiction. It would be nice to see another indie game break through and generate positive buzz like Rocket League, but the truth is these type of games are more miss than hit. Betting on another breakout hit is always risky, but I would love to be wrong about this.

Member Comments
# 1 Fedor_52 @ 06/02/16 11:29 AM
it's really been too long since we had another Football Game

i miss Fight Night and Top Spin too, maybe some surprises at E3 but i've learned over the years to not get too excited
# 2 GrandMaster B @ 06/02/16 12:16 PM
The Golf Club 2 could be announced at E3 or a major change to it.
# 3 IgotSyphillis @ 06/02/16 04:37 PM
I have no idea why The Show still gets so much blind love. The defense in that game has been absolutely pathetic for its entire run. Its impossible to score from second on a hit near an outfielder. The throwing meter means absolutely nothing. You get stuck in terrible animations all the time. Routine ground balls to infield result in singles because the fielder decides to triple pump with the ball. I could go on. But it hasn't been fixed in 10 years. Imagine if Madden did that? I have no idea why The Show gets a pass on half the aspect of a game. Other games would get killed for it.
# 4 Kanobi @ 06/02/16 05:52 PM
I keep hoping for a viable football sim alternative to Madden on current gen consoles but don't see it happening this side of 2020. Would love to be completely blindsided and floored by some bombshell announcement though.
# 5 bxphenom7 @ 06/02/16 08:20 PM
Loving MLB The Show, see it contending for sports game of the year. With news Madden will eventually be moving to the Frostbite engine potentially next year, I see no point in considering a purchase this year, though I will follow it like every year just to see what has progressed or as usual what hasn't. I'm interested in seeing FIFA 17 with the Frosbite engine since the Ignite has definitely overstayed its welcome. With the great previews PES has gotten, I can't wait to see the two go head to head critically and in the demos. As for NBA 2k17, I just pray the career mode has no story to it, or at least an option to play it along the lines of RTTS. One's career should be a story in itself. I do see it winning Sports Game of the Year again however.


- New Fight Night in development
- Other console football game, preferably able to compete with Madden even if all generic, I could care less about licensing. Just be fully featured (Franchise, Career, Playoff) and highly customizable.
# 6 El Comodin24 @ 06/02/16 09:00 PM
how about a quality baseball game for Xbox??? Or is that just the "elephant in the room"?
# 7 unclejitz @ 06/02/16 10:39 PM
How about crossplatform play ready to go in august
# 8 ps3veron @ 06/03/16 04:36 AM
What about FIFA? Keen on hearing your thoughts on the new engine.
# 9 mdiggitydawg @ 06/03/16 09:52 AM
What about the former Papyrus group doing NASCAR ? I know it's hard to be successful right out of the gate, but they've had a year and a half with the license and if anyone can get it right, I want to believe it's them. Their PC version years ago was THE reason I got a PC...Would love to hear any updates or information on the progress and play of the game if you guys can dig in your investigative nature.
# 10 dtlm6 @ 06/04/16 11:50 AM
Love the Show and 2K, but have to throw in Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). If they could only get more stadiums, Premier League, Bundesliga and MLS (I know that's a lot), it would be the best game period. I thought 2015-16 was one of the better years in sports gaming in some time.

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