This week’s Press Row Podcast features panel discussion centered on FIFA 16 but it also includes some Pro Evolution 2016. Among the subjects are gameplay, FUT Draft, why some consumer fatigue is starting to emerge, and what new feature the game could use most.
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Earlier this month Madden NFL 16 was able to stake a claim to being the highest rated traditional licensed sports game on Metacritic since 2013. The 84 on Metacritic rose above all others that followed FIFA 14 which had a score of 87/88.
Now Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 has taken the title away as the game currently stands at 87 on Metacritic. Many will point to competition as being a factor here, with the FIFA series having been dominant for nearly a decade. Konami has been forced to to offer dramatic improvements to become a viable alternative outside of particular regions where it remained strong all along, despite being hampered by limitations in areas such as licensing.
As was the case with Madden, the title may be short-lived for Pro Evolution. NBA 2K16 is out late this week and could be the rare sports game to reach or exceed 90 on the review aggregator. It’s great to see the quality of the sports games that are still around rising considerably, in a time where the selection is more sparse than ever.
The competition may not be direct for all of them but given the broken sports gaming schedule only the strong will survive.
Back in July it was discovered that 2K Sports had obtained the license for at least 11 universities for use in an unknown capacity within NBA 2K16. It has now been confirmed that only 10 schools will appear in the game.
Arizona, Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Texas, UCLA, UConn, Villanova, and Wisconsin will be be the options to choose from in 2K16’s MyCareer story mode.
There are playable elements to both the high school and college portion of the story. As expected the time spent in each are very limited, with there being three games in high school, and possibly (as of yet unconfirmed) only three in college as well. Unfortunately the run in college may not be in the form of a tournament which seemed to be maybe the most natural and engaging way to handle that stretch.
Arizona State and Davidson it would appear then were licensed only for the purposes of displaying their uniforms on the individual covers of the game featuring James Harden and Stephen Curry. It had been noted that 2K had the license for Arizona State from the CLC while Davidson handles their own deals. The other covers feature Anthony Davis and Michael Jordan where all signs of Kentucky and North Carolina were scrubbed from their images.
2K Sports today released a new video that goes over some of the elements being introduced to MyCareer mode in NBA 2K16 besides the general story from Spike Lee.
Included in the trailer is a glimpse of the playable high school and college aspects. Kansas is one of at least 11 universities that have been licensed to appear in the game. The others are believed to be Arizona, Arizona State, Georgetown, Louisville, Michigan, Texas, UCLA, UConn, Villanova, and Wisconsin.
Other new features detailed include MyCourt (a customizable gym where friends can meet up), how off-days are handled, and a new practice mode.
Last year with NBA Live 15, EA Sports was able to get the series back to a level of respectability. It still lagged far behind the competition in just about every aspect however and question remained on its viability in today’s marketplace.
For NBA Live 16 the company is going all-in with two new online modes, both of which fall under Live Pro-Am, and continued improvement to gameplay. Will that be enough when the rest of the game is essentially unchanged?
The demo for Live 16 went out earlier this week and it’s an important one for EA. They need the game to gain some traction in the weeks before its release given that competition is coming from all angles. It’s not just NBA 2K16, but the eight other sports-related games that release within the same month, and any other games on the market to be considered. Consumers aren’t going to take a risk with their money when there are so many other, safer options.
The structure is key to potential success here with the demo. There’s a lot to try out and it could appeal to those that don’t feel ties to the 2K franchise. Not only are there the typical one-off NBA games to play (with six teams to choose from) but tutorials and scrimmages in the very slick Terminal 23 court and the new online cooperative modes.
As far as gameplay goes there’s definite improvement to be found. Off-ball movement is better and the new play-calling system is useful. The new shooting system is brilliantly done, offering the kind of in-game feedback that has been sorely needed. It’s easy to understand and eliminates the frustration of wondering why a shot was made vs missed. The game immediately comes across as being fun to play.
Aubrey Sitterson, former community manager at THQ and 2K Sports for the WWE franchise, had a bit of a meltdown on Twitter today in discussing the usefulness of forums – something he says he argued to be shut down during his time with those publishers. That later would move on to how consumer feedback is approached and stating that companies put out the products that they do, in the state they do, because they believe people will buy it regardless – and that consumers are not entitled to anything more than that.
Having been involved on some QA teams many years ago, yes tons of bugs are found and then prioritized. Hundreds of them are never fixed, either because they can’t be replicated, there isn’t time, or diving into them could cause greater issues to emerge.
That being said, not everything can be found in the QA environment. When a game goes out to market, tens or hundreds of thousands, or millions, suddenly become testers in their own right. People will find new problems and help hone in on the important ones that need to be fixed.
EA Sports, SCEA, 2K Sports (who certainly would not want to be associated with these opinions being shared publicly) and many publishers pride themselves on being involved in the community through different avenues, and taking that feedback in order to improve their product. It’s just one of many resources at their disposal.
Consumers want to feel like they’re being heard, that they have a role in helping to improve upon or shape the product now and in the future. Ignoring that has led to dismal results for companies in the past and that’s why it’s all looked at so closely now.
Now deep in the heart of the sports gaming season brings another opportunity to win one of this year’s premier games! A copy of NBA 2K16 on the platform of choice will go to the winner.
For a second opportunity at winning a copy of NBA 2K16 make sure to enter the giveaway currently running through Hit The Pass as well.
There are several ways to qualify and each one counts for entries so the more you complete the more chances to win. The giveaway is open now and will run through September 22nd when the winner will be randomly selected and contacted for delivery details. Good luck!
*If you don’t see the giveaway applet try refreshing the page. Occasionally it doesn’t load completely. You can log in either with Facebook or your email address. Names drawn as a winner have their entries verified (to confirm completion of the task) before being contacted. The winner is displayed in the giveaway app and immediately emailed for delivery info.