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The Future of Sports Game Release Calendars

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Old 07-27-2014, 12:31 PM   #1
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The Future of Sports Game Release Calendars

One of the more popular theories for people in our community is that if sports games only could become every over year titles (or more) they’d be better.
Better in every way. From quality, to features, and more.

There are a litany of reasons why this isn’t the case, the first and foremost being that economically it doesn’t work for game publishers at all — the second being that games improve quite a bit from NBA 2K13 to NBA 2K15 as is. The problem is, we see it all happen slowly and incrementally before our eyes and tend to not appreciate what is steady evolutionary progress of sports game features which moves faster than you'd realize.

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Old 07-27-2014, 01:06 PM   #2
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I like the Annual release cycle. At least if a Developer release a below par game you've only got 1 year to wait for an hopefully improved version. Anyone thinking that any game released on a 2 year cycle will be great by default is kidding themselves. Developers need to make money. If they're only selling a title every 2 years than they will reduce their annual budget accordingly which in turn will mean less investment in the next game.
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:52 PM   #3
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As someone who already only buys every other year (every 3 years with NHL), I'd be completely on board with this.
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:31 PM   #4
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Iracing does well with it's subscription service. They update the game throughout the year when needed and they also have 4 big updates every year too. I think something like paying monthly and then paying an extra $20-30 a year for the roster updates would make sense for both the customer and Developers.
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:00 PM   #5
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A subscription wouldnt make sense for sports titles (roster updates) because there are so many missing animations etc they need to be developed and added every year. If somehow they can graphically change a game through an update that you can download then yes, subscription , but so far we have not seen those capabilities.
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:33 PM   #6
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MichaelAngeloTMNT is correct...it works very well for iRacing and I think that is where things are going. They do have to price it such that people feel they're either paying roughly the same over the year or getting more for what they're paying. For example, even at $10/mo, over 12 months you'd be playing double for your game....now perhaps a package deal (ie. $20/mo get's one Madden, FIFA, NHL w/x-amount of DLC would be accepted? or $10/mo but four major updates/yr?
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:15 PM   #7
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I could see an annual title release with a subscription (microtransaction?) charge for certain online modes. I agree that charging a fee for an offline mode would really alienate a lot of consumers, especially gamers who have been playing for many years. But with a new generation of gamers accustomed to multiplayer gaming, a subscription type online model can't be far off. It could actually improve online sports gaming if done properly...meaning a developer would be willing to use some of those new dollars to support and improve the online experience for the consumer.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:24 PM   #8
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In no way do I want 2 year development cycles. I highly look forward to my new games every year but bigger yet is what if a game has a flaw that just can't be fixed via patch. Are you saying I now have to wait 2 years for a fix. Nhl is my favorite series and while the game has it's flaws I have enjoyed every year of the game since 07. That said if some one told me I had to play another year of nhl 14 cause they are going to a 2 year development cycle I would lose it. The big massive changes are great to a game, but even more so are those small changes that only the dare I say hardcore players really notice and appreciate and that's what I really look forward to every year.
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