Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

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Old 08-31-2009, 03:49 PM   #97
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Re: Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

Originally Posted by StormJH1
EvanRG, I think I get your general point, which is "I want more choices as a consumer, and competition doesn't hurt, so why wouldn't I want competition." We'd probably agree on that point, but Guitar Hero/Rock Band is a poor example because the people who initially developed Guitar Hero left to create Rock Band after Guitar Hero 2. Thus, the "competitior" you credit with creating the innovation of selling eleventy billion instruments with a music game was actually the same company that made Guitar Hero in the first place.

But the fact is that we DON'T have direct competition for Madden right now, and no amount of whining about will change it. Therefore, the only relevant question is: "How much (if any) has the absence of competition hurt?"

All I'm saying is that I don't think it's hurt as much as people think it has. And the reason is because EA never was never really concerned about NFL 2k5's competition in "game quality", or even in "sales", but rather saw NFL 2k5 as a threat to EA's ability to charge $49.99 (now $59.99) for its product. That was the forgotten reason (and the primary one) for why the exclusive deal came about in the first place.

And I think the thing that people aren't being honest about is that an NFL 2k10 very likely would not have evolved very much since 2k5 either. Nothing 2k Sports has done with any of their other franchises suggests that they would've "pushed the envelope" with new feature sets. 2k Basketball is a good game, but it has not fundamentally changed at all since the days of the PS2. And APF 2k8 was a chance for them to create a clearly superior next-gen football product, and they didn't do it. True, many hardcore gamers prefer 2k football to EA football, but the overwhelming majority of consumers don't, so Madden was never going to become a 2k clone.

Finally, I disagree that there's no harm that could've come out of an open competition. There's simply no time in a 10-month development cycle to completely reinvent everything you do as a football game, while eyeballing your competitor and copying their good ideas. Rather, we probably would've seen much more gimmicky changes, such as vision cone (2006) and weapons system (2008), which did nothing to the gameplay, but merely added a marketable layer to the underlying engine, to create the perception of a "new" game. Also, if 2k ever did successfully cut into Madden's sales (which would've been unlikely), that would only leave Madden with less resources to take on theincreasingly expensive process of making next-gen games.
Real blanket statements here. First the claim that 2K wouldn't have progressed that much. There is really no way to tell...true. But then you go on to compare it to other 2K games which aren't very good arguments considering that other 2K games aren't developed by 2K's main developer (VC) or were overhauled in the middle of the last gen cycles (NBA2K5). It's all about context. You can't go on to say that we have no way of knowing how NFL2K10 would've been and then use completely different situations to frame an argument on how it would've been a bad game.

Secondly, let's forget 2K for a second. Have we moved so far along that we have forgotten what Gameday did to Madden? Or hell, what Madden did to Tecmo. Let's not forget Fever who pushed NFL2K series to innovate graphically (a VC employee even quoted as much). There is a whole history of competition continously innovating the genre and we choose to ignore it.

Madden as we know it might not even exist today. THQ's NFL Showdown may be the number one game on the market. If you would have told me in 1991 that Tecmo Super Bowl would be gone in 1996, I would've LOL'd in your face.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:59 PM   #98
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Possible worst article ever written at OS?

Using metacritic scores to dismiss competition breeds better games is laughable.

I suspect the author wanted to write a controversial article to get a lot of hits, and sure enough, that is what he did. If he does truly believe what he wrote, I don't know what to say. . .

You can't take a subjective thing such as metacritic scores and have them as the be all end all on why competition does not produce better games. Horrible.
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Old 08-31-2009, 05:47 PM   #99
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Re: Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

Originally Posted by MMChrisS
I'm simply arguing against direct-sport competition being the leading cause of why a game is either good or bad. I see nothing wrong with the conclusion that direct-sport competition isn't even close to the main reason why a game is good or bad. Given the data presented, I would say it's pretty clear that it isn't. If direct-sport competition is the reason why games succeed or fail quality wise, I simply have to ask for a more reliable and better way of measuring it?
If you were not saying that competition does not create better gameplay, then you shouldn't have titled your article and built your premise around that very point. In here, when people have called you out for some of your logical flaws, you've attempted to tighten your focus and claim it's direct-sport competition that you're arguing against. It's a lame cop-out, to be honest. If you really believe that competition doesn't create better games, then stand by it, why backtrack after writing so extensively about it?

Further, since review scores are imprecise, and there are not definable metrics for sports games outside of what strikes the greatest balance between sim and fun, isn't the best case for competition that you then have the option as the consumer to see which one is worth your time? I would say that's true. Looking at the NFL 2k5 versus Madden 2005 arguments would almost certainly prove you wrong as well. No one really likes to bring up the flawed versions of 2k before 2k5, but they were getting destroyed by Madden in sales and reviews, then in response to that competition...2k5. The response to competition is what drives the improvement.
Our purchasing power is being eroded. So especially now, the goods must be held to a standard. We end up happier as consumers, and the companies get a clear message: "We won't tolerate sub-par goods." It's a shame, no one cares to speak with their wallet.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:36 PM   #100
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Re: Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

MMChris wrote a BS article.

First, in the article, he claims competition as a reason for better games is baloney. Not true.

Now, after numerous posters have called him out, he is saying it is not the MAIN reason for better games, but it stilli s kinda sorta a reason. . . ?

He doesn't even believe what he wrote in the first place which is the worst kind of article you can write. One to rile people up and get a reaction.

Well done Chris, it worked, but don't expect me to waste my time reading another one of your articles.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:03 PM   #101
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One thing that was truthful in this blog, and one thing 2K fans tend to forget, is that Madden 2005 played better and was scored damn near equally from all major review sites and magazines across the board. MOST people had both games, and if 2K was normal price, they might not have been the case
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:54 PM   #102
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Re: Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

Look at what 2K is doing with their MLB game.. The Show has pulled away and so they put the big dogs on the game ( VC ) and I expect over next couple releases for 2K to get up to the level of The Show.

Now from some companies competition just breeds fear and jealousy ( EA buying the NFL License for example ) while others strive to knock the big boy down ( 2K Football for example ).

As far as Madden scores.. EA gives tons of these guys ( probably OS too ) paid trips to EA HQs and other perks like gear and games.. You think these reviewers and fan sites are ready to give that up over a low score review?
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:20 AM   #103
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Re: Competition Creates Better Games is Baloney

That competition leads to better products at better prices is an economic law that has very few exceptions, and this isn't one of them. There are a few things wrong with your analysis. First, ratings are subjective. Competition could theoretically lead to both a better product and a lower rated product. Maybe the game is actually better, but reviewers judge it more harshly because they have something else to compare it to. Or maybe their expectations are simply higher. A more accurate measure of product quality would be a consumer satisfaction survey, but that's probably not available. Price is the best way to measure the effect of competition on an industry, but since the pricing in games is basically standardized, that won't help us either. So I agree that review scores are the best measure available to us, but it's definitely imperfect.

You shouldn't compare review scores across genres. Let's say that there is heavy competition in the widget market, but that EvilCorp, after buying out its competition, has a near monopoly in the gizmo market. Yet for some reason, gizmos still cost less than widgets. One should not conclude from this situation that competition doesn't lead to lower prices. There could be many other reasons why widgets cost more than gizmos. Competition is a factor in price, but it obviously isn't the only factor. The way to measure the effect of competition on the price of gizmos would be to compare the current price of gizmos to the price of gizmos before EvilCorp bought out the competition. Relating this to games, there could be many reasons why football games are, in general, rated higher than basketball games. Maybe the sport translates over better, or maybe football games are more profitable and so these games get bigger budgets than basketball games. The way to measure the effect of direct competition on Madden's review scores is to compare the scores of editions that faced direct competition to the scores of editions that didn't face direct competition. So let's do that. Below are Madden's scores from gamerankings.com on whatever console was dominant at the time.

97 (PS) 85.63
98 (PS) 84.29
99 (PS) 83.5
00 (PS2) 86.27
01 (PS2) 90.52
02 (PS2) 91.69*
03 (PS2) 91.40*
04 (PS2) 92.04*
05 (PS2) 90.33*
06 (360) 74.96
07 (360) 80.99
08 (360) 83.21
09 (360) 84.56
10 (360) 87.45

*Years in which Madden faced competition from 2K Sports NFL game

AVG with direct competition: 91.37
AVG without direct compeition: 84.14

There is no way to know exactly how much of the difference in rating should be attributed to having competition from 2K, because there are other factors to consider. I think 2K did bring out the best in Madden, but I also think that many people on this board overestimate its impact. Because the truth is, even without 2K around, Madden still faces competition. Madden's most direct competition right now is the previous year's version of Madden. So they do have incentive to improve the game each year. Madden also faces substantial indirect competition. There are other games you can buy instead of a football game, and there are other forms of entertainment that you could spend your money on instead of videogames.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:10 AM   #104
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I'm gonne be 100% honest, even though I don't agree whatsoever with your conclusion I was hanging in there with you until you started using review scores....for one some reviewers simply don't know what they are talking about (hence madden's score every year etc.) and two you don't think that the varied decline & rises in scores have anything to do with companies trying new things in order to 1up their competitor? This could result in a success (improved score) or failure because the new feature/animations just don't work right (decreased score).
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