Great way to make a point, but there are a few flaws with how you went about it.
First, who is to say the race car isn't being pushed internally to get even better? You assume , when you can have just as much of an internal pressure to perform as an external. Not to mention in the gaming business, you aren't operating in a vacuum, reviewers know what makes a good sports game and what doesn't.
Logic Doctor :
Let me clarify. I did not assume that the only pressure put on the race car to get better is pressure by an outside entity. I assumed that internal pressure/motivation would be an obvious given considering natural pressurized/motivating factors such as self-pride, the fact that you're being paid well and can be replaced, and genuinly wanting to make a good game.
Ironically, you yourself just assumed through a blanket statement that "reviewers know what makes a good sports game and what doesn't." Im not saying reviewers don't know what their talking about, but I also wouldn't say they ALL know exactly what they're talking about.
If your thoughts on review scores being higher for sports with no competition just because there is nothing to gauge them on is valid, that'd mean there was no point of reference to gauge Madden off of. You can simply look at what other games in the genre and other games in other genres are able to do and judge the games progress there as well. So in this instance, the audience could watch your race car and think it was fast, until they went to another track and saw another racecar going twice as fast.
Logic Doctor :
I agree to an entent that you can, in fact, compare games within a genre. That is if the only things you are gaudging are graphics, player (athlete) movement and presentation. However, beyond those broad comparisons everything gets a bit fuzzy. The intricacies of football are very different from basketball, baseball, soccer and hockey. Every sport has a uniquness about it which in turn means every "sports game" should have a uniquness about it. Based on that reasoning, you can only compare the specifics (and sometimes even larger portions of a game) to a competitor who's trying to emulate the same sport.
Point being, comparing sports games within the "sports games" genre does not offer a lot of depth and accuracy, especially when you have 1 main company supplying almost all of the games in that genre (EA and the sports games genre.)
As far as "out of genre" comparisons go, those comparisons would offer even less depth then "in genre" comparisons. You can only learn so much comparing Apples to Oranges.
Your right, games don't operate in a vacuum, but sports games operate on the basis of replication. Their sole purpose is to recreate something we already experience through an entertainment medium (TV.) So they (sports games) exist as a truly different animal among other genre's. They are judged on their ability to not only re-create what we see on TV, but to also make it fun, accessable and fullfliing to control and play with.
As opposed simply using a few dozen reviewers, there is a way to broaden your research criteria by visiting those same sites and quantifying user reviews. A consumer who decides to write up their own review, like you can do on gameFAQS and other sites, is doing so for other like minded gamers' benefit. Put together an average of several hundred reviews randomly. That would eliminate any bias a paid reviewer has. It would also give you a much more broad view.
And to add to that, you'd also see quite a change in review scores from the initial release (I've got a shiny new toy to play with) compared to a reviewer who has spent time playing the game. The thing about sports games is replayability. I can remember playing the shhh out of Madden until it came out the following year. Last year, I played Madden for three weeks. Then I'd rarely touch it. Initially, I thought, this game is great, graphics are awesome, franchise is fun. Then reality set in, we all know how we felt after just a bit of time with the game. At that point, my review score would be a far cry from my impulsive initial response to the game. This situation would be reflected, I think more often than not, in the scores of consumer reviews across the board and give you (or whoever wants to do it, cause I'm sure not) much more accurate data to boldly claim "Competition Creates Better Games is Bologna"
what a horrible article...if anything you just proved yourself wrong...comp does make games better....and way to go basing your "quality" conclusion based upon internet scores from IGN and Gamespot...OS needs smarter writers...
I fully agree with MMChris, StormJH1, UFGators253, and Speels. Sorry, I'm not that articulate to get too deep into this through writing/typing, but I most definitely agree that competition is a VERY small factor on games improvement.
Has Madden NOT improved each year this generation? I would beg to differ, and guess what, there isn't ANY competition for them to worry about correct. Well....why is it getting better?
I would guess that its getting better because the devs are getting more proficient as each year passes with the hardware they are working with.
All Pro 2k8 was a stripped down football game just as the first Madden on this generation was stripped down. Know why? It was the devs first outing working with this hardware.
Bottom line, if competition is a major factor(2k5 IS NOT competition for Madden 10 at all), Madden wouldn't have improved from 06 to 10. What you're seeing is the developers learning the hardware.
People let their emotions get too involved in this. Most threads I read regarding EA and 2k, I can sense the disgruntled nature in the words. Its all about the people being mad at the exclusive rights, this that and the other.
Madden has improved without direct competition, that kills the comp argument right there.
You are right that money is what the game publishers are after. However, this article isn't about sales data, as that isn't what we're measuring game quality here with because we all know that while Madden and FIFA are consistently the best selling sports games, they probably aren't the best sports games on the market every year. Sales definitely aren't a good measure of quality but maybe of customer acceptance?
FIFA seems to have cleaned up its act and was pretty well-received this year, however. A lot of people feel it was in reaction to so many saying that Pro Evo Soccer had overtaken it in terms of quality over the past few years.
New Jersey Devils- 1995, 2000, 2003
New York Giants- 1927, 1934, 1938, 1956, 1986, 1990, 2007.