Whether you play FIFA, MLB, Madden, NHL, or 2K, chances are, you will be buying the next iteration this year. Annualized games are great if you want a shiny new box every year, but do developers really provide enough content every year to justify selling a new game? If you ever find yourself asking this question you should know that every game is different.
Games like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed usually have more to offer every year than any sports title. The main things they have are a new world and a new story to help you explore the world. Many sports games lack this artistic element. Every once in a while, developers will attempt to integrate a narrative where it doesn’t belong. This might be refreshing and new at first, but more often than not it removes some of the freedoms that sports games offer.
For example, NBA 2K16 wanted a gripping and compelling story, which is fine until it gets in the way of gameplay. It did, a lot. If you’re not familiar, the entire first season of your career is dictated by the story. Other than your limited choice of college and a few minor things, all of your decisions are made for you until the end of your rookie season.
Previous NBA 2K games have integrated very minimal narrative element, but they never got in the way. In fact, the story and gameplay worked with each other and put 2K above other sports games. But if this forced, controlling “movie” in their games is the way they’re headed, then they can count me out. That being said, it would be interesting to see other titles take a crack at this.
An argument in favor of annualized games is the massive improvements each year. Games that rely so much on physics, reactions, and core mechanics need to be updated constantly because there are always going to be bugs. Some may believe that an annualized game is a way for greedy publishers to make more money off of their customers.
If developers started releasing games every few years and then updated it for free every year, that could end up with them losing money. In my opinion, I believe that annualized games should be cheaper or offer a different way to pay such as a subscription that adds to a total of $60 USD every year. That way if you didn’t like that year’s title, you could cancel and not be at such a loss.
Like some sports, the gaming industry changes every year. This makes it important to have updated visuals, mechanics, and ideas to stay ahead of the competition. Things in sports such as rules, rosters, and where the teams play can change dramatically. Some of these things require a new game to integrate. For example, if the NHL decides to change how overtime games finish, you can expect to see that in the next NHL game.
EA is more than likely not going to update the current game when it is more beneficial to put it in the next. Some sports change all the time, and if you want to see immediate changes in your games, then they need to be annualized.
These are just some of key points that come up when talking about annualized games. There is always a lot that goes into these games every year. If you don’t know if you should buy a game every year, you just need to figure what is important to you. Do you want the new game with all the new features, or would you rather save the money and wait every couple years? The choice is yours.
What does it take for you to pick up a new sports game every year? Let us know in the comments.