Whatever Happened to the Arcade Sports Game?

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Old 04-26-2014, 01:25 PM   #1
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Whatever Happened to the Arcade Sports Game?

One of the trends we lament here on Operation Sports is what seemingly appears to be the death of the Arcade Sports Game. In a column this morning, Polygon writer Owen Good asks the ever pertinent question, "Whatever Happened to the Arcade Sports Game?"

"Ten years later, the Wolves aren't playing any meaningful games in April, and league-licensed arcade-style sports video games, spinoffs that sometimes arrived when their league's postseason began, have made few appearances themselves. Last year saw nothing from this category on consoles no NHL Hitz, no MLB SlugFest or The Bigs, and certainly nothing like NBA Ballers. You'd have to go back to the fragmented, very early days of console gaming to find a full year without some league's logo on an arcade-style game."

It seems that even when a company decides to do an arcade game, they are increasingly being dumbed down to the point they hold very little value to anyone. R.B.I. Baseball 2014 is the latest in this trend, with a cool concept which just wasn't fleshed out fully.

Is it too hard to ask for companies to develop deep, fun, fast-paced and not overly over the top arcade experiences for sports gamers?

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Old 04-26-2014, 02:21 PM   #2
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I consider myself a "sim gamer" -- I enjoy realistic, deep sports games. But when I really think about it, some of the most fun I've had in the sports genre have been with games like NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, The Bigs, NBA Street, and NHL Hitz.

The big key is the fun factor of almost anyone being able to pick it up and play it. Good luck having a buddy come over and play you in a game of The Show who has never played before... it's far too complex for them to be competitive and enjoy it. But a game like The Bigs... within a game or two, they usually have a good handle on the controls and are enjoying playing.

It really is a shame that these types of games have all but disappeared. It seems like instead of having a sim game and an arcade game as two separate titles, publishers are trying to hit both audiences with just one game. And in the process, they aren't really satisfying either type of gamer.
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Old 04-26-2014, 02:33 PM   #3
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I thought EA Sports released arcade sports games every year...
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:09 PM   #4
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I think the arcade sports game is shifting to mobile platforms and social media outlets.
To whether or not companies can develop deep arcade games, it may be that a deep arcade game is an oxymoron. If the game is too deep it diminishes the pick up and play aspect. That is not to say that such a game cannot be done, only that the market for one is quite small.
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:21 PM   #5
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It worked on the older-gen systems where we didn't expect good graphics. And an arcade game wouldn't look good without bad ones.
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:35 PM   #6
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It's an easy answer: they probably stopped being profitable.
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:00 AM   #7
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Re: Whatever Happened to the Arcade Sports Game?

I don't think people are willing to spend $60 or full price on an arcade game anymore. Gamers are stingy with their money now.

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Old 04-27-2014, 12:58 AM   #8
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I think the lack of arcade sports games is a combination of exclusive licenses, licensing cost, and rising development cost.
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