Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears

In the words of Peter Griffin...You know what really grinds my gears?

System Exclusive Sports Video Games

Making games exclusively for a system makes perfect sense for games like Halo, Gears of War, Zelda and so on, but some one please explain to me why you would make sports games exclusive to one system or another. I see the need to draw people to your system and it certainly makes sense to add different features for different systems but limiting a game to one system or a league signing a licensing agreement with a company (like the MLB signing a deal with 2ksports) real hurts not only the game market but also the gamers.

As if that wasn't the nerd-iest paragraph you've ever read. Exclusive sports games have come about in the last few years after 2ksports and ESPN dropped NFL 2k5 with a price tag of just 29 bucks to challenge Madden. Now doesn't that sound like the American way, two compaines put out a product and try to get people to buy it. What does that lead to? Competition which in turn leads to both companies, in this case EA Sports and 2kSports, trying to make the best game and that is great for consumers, plus it means the price tag might come down a little on games like NFL 2k5.

When the NFL signed with EA and MLB with 2ksports I was nervous that the newer games might suffer because they are the only game in town, so to speak. EA has done a good job with Madden so far, this years version for the 360 was great, and I've heard good things about 2kSports baseball games. I love their basketball games, especially NCAA, but I have a hard time buying a game with Jeter on it. I know a little extremist but it feels like cheating on the red sox if I were to pay 59 bucks for something Jeter is endorsing.

I got by pretty well last summer by downloading updated rosters for MVP 2005 for the xbox but more importantly the video game gods gave me a game that I have been hoping for, for years. MVP 06 NCAA, I am a huge college baseball fan. I love the college world series the double elimination format is great to watch if you get a chance to follow the tournament. Plus you got the 'ping' of an aluminum bat and the atmosphere of college sports that make playing NCAA football or basketball games so much fun. At first I was a little bit upset they didn't make it for 360 but i understood why EA made it a current gen game. You've got people loyal to the MVP franchise that are unhappy about not getting an EA baseball game due to licensing and most of those people have either a xbox, ps2 or gamecube.

EA essentially did the same thing with College Football, no next gen version in the first year but then since they made a next gen NCAA football this year I was pretty stoked about getting a NCAA Baseball game for my 360. I started searching around the web for info on the 2007 version MVP NCAA hoping to find a next gen version but figured at worst I'd be able to get a copy for the xbox and kick that around for another winter/spring (the game came out in february last year). In my googling I came across some unfortunate news, EA is making MVP 07 NCAA, again responding to the 2kSports owning the MLB rights with an infinitely cool idea, BUT and it's a big f'n but the game will only be released on ps2.

WTF! Why would EA Sports take what I consider to be a step backwards and limit the game to one system? Especially when Sony and Nintendo just released next gen systems and the xbox 360 already has a year and several EA games under it's belt or microprocessor or whatever.

EA has come out with some great games and they've done an awesome job with sports games, other than hoops, but they've really been the class of sports video games since NHL 94 and when they came out with MVP NCAA it was an awesome response to 2kSports getting the MLB license. Maybe more so for me since I've been saying they need to make a college baseball game for years but now it's only coming out for ps2...why? I will let EA producer Trey Smith (assbag) tell you courtesy of Game Daily tell you

"MVP has had a loyal audience on the PS2 for years now and we took MVP 07 as an opportunity to really blow it out. Focusing on just the PS2 has allowed us to really push the hardware into making what we feel is the most innovative and most satisfying baseball experience out there. If you compare last year's version of MVP on the PS2 to this year's version, you'll see what a huge difference focusing on just one platform has allowed us." (check out the whole story here)

Ok, fair enough you really blew out the game and really pushed the hardware that's good. Care to elaborate on why you wouldn't want to take advantage of the next gen hardware that is faster, smoother and not a step backwards. Now I'm a big fan of the game, such a big fan that I'm probably going to dust off my first generation ps2 from my freshmen year of college and buy this game but that's only because I'm such a big fan.

In other words I hope EA had a mass following on ps2 or they are going to lose out on a lot of gamers that will either stick with their MVP 06 or simply abandon the college game and move over to 2ksports by picking up the Jeter game. This is why it seems like a step backwards, EA loses out on the MLB license so instead of just giving up on baseball games, which they really turned around with recent MVP's, the company said to hell with 2ksports we'll be innovative and they came up with a great concept in the NCAA game but also with the load and fire batting system (which was wicked hard) and the analog stick throwing system (which was awesome and made the game a lot more fun).

Limiting the game to just one system is following right in line with companies getting exclusive licenses while it can in some cases make for great games like Madden and NCAA football. It also creates the risk of game developers getting lazy because there is no competition from other game makers. I suppose it is just natural progression and it is certainly a great business decision for the game developers.

While it might take the controller out of some peoples hands you'd have to image people will still buy the game even if it is only for ps2 much like if you are a fan of baseball and baseball games you will probably pick up MLB 2k6...yeah the Jeter even though it totally grinds my gears that i won't have college baseball on my 360 and I'll have to dust off my ancient ps2 I will most likely be buying MVP 07 NCAA...hey at least it won't be 59 bucks

Other stuff grinding my gears this week...
- LT crying like a little girl with a skinned knee
- Mother Nature
- 24 for continuing to kill off my favorite characters (yet it remains the best show on tv)

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