The Top Stories of 2013

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Posted December 31st, 2013 at 1:45 pm

topstories2013

Even with the contraction of recent years there remain significant stories that affect not just the sports gaming genre but the entire gaming industry. In 2013 that included lawsuits, series cancellations, anti-consumer initiatives, and corporate restructurings. 

Cancellation of NCAA Football Series

The legal battles involving EA Sports and the use of player likenesses in college video games came to a conclusion when EA and the CLC settled. It only cost $40 million to do so – a drop in the bucket compared to what an unfavorable judgment against them could have been.

However it also meant the ending to the NCAA Football series. There won’t be any college video games for the foreseeable future, until the other side of the class action lawsuit (against the NCAA) comes to a conclusion which could be five years from now. Even then, if college players can be paid, it’s no sure thing that games will immediately viable once again.

Read MoreEA and CLC Only Out $40 Million in Player Likeness Case Settlement - EA Sports Cancels NCAA Football Series - Press Row Podcast Episode On The Cancellation

Disastrous Launch of Next-Gen NBA 2K14

The story of NBA 2K14 on Xbox One and PS4 is unprecedented. What began as not only the most anticipated sports game for the new systems – but one being recognized as transcending the genre to demonstrate the best of the new technology – has become a picture of all that can be wrong with the industry and the backlash generated has been extreme.

The system of Virtual Currency prompted justifiable outrage. Technical issues such as crashing, server outages, online lag, and glitches preventing progress in modes have been widespread and are still ongoing. What is essentially an always-online requirement has magnified the issues.

Meanwhile 2K dropped support of the 360/PS3 version. There’s no indication they plan on releasing a single patch. All focus instead has gone towards next-gen and its digital revenue plan.

Read More: Devastating Server ProblemsOnline Troubles Escalate - Severe Problems Continue Despite Two Patches - VC Threatens Future of the SeriesPress Row Hangout on VC ControversyThe Hangout on VC in Podcast Form

EA Sports Drops Tiger Woods; Golf Series Taking Year Off

In what seemed only a matter of time a few years ago, EA Sports severed its relationship with Tiger Woods but what is surprising is that he won’t even appear in the next golf game from the company. This will save EA the over $15 million a year they had been paying him but they lose in brand recognition and marketing. In other news the next PGA Tour game won’t release until 2015.

Unfortunately EA halted post-release support on the otherwise fantastic Tiger Woods 14 as a much needed second patch never materialized. None of the news related to the series can be used as justification for that happening.

Read More: EA Sports Ends Relationship With Tiger WoodsTiger Woods Won’t Be In The Next EA Golf GameNo Tiger Woods Game Coming Next Year

MLB Gone From Xbox

There will be no sim MLB game on the Xbox One next year – that much is certain based on the graphic released by SCEA to tout that MLB 14: The Show as the “first and only Major League Baseball simulation for next generation consoles”.

The departure of MLB comes arguably a year later than it should have. 2K and MLB had parted ways only to make a one year extension of the license (with very favorable terms for 2K) so as to release a game on the Xbox 360 for the 2013 season. With 2K knowing there was no future for the series and having very little time to produce the game the end product was even worse than just being a roster update of the previous year.

There is no indication that any company has interest in a third party licensing deal with the MLB at this time, which means Microsoft may not have baseball on its consoles even beyond 2014.

Read More: Xbox One Won’t Have Baseball in 2014 - Assessing the Fallout from MLB 2K13

The Next Generation Arrives

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 released in November and with them the first four sports games. While NBA 2K14 has been plagued by technical and design decisions as mentioned above, it did show off more than any of the others the potential of the new generation in terms of gameplay, presentation, and graphics.

FIFA 14 turned out to be the most well rounded of the titles offering a full feature set with significant enhancements to gameplay and atmosphere. Madden NFL 25 proved to be stable with a full feature set and improvements that have made the game more enjoyable and satisfying. NBA Live 14 however missed a window that was opened by 2K14′s stumble by failing to reach even the lowest of expectations and reasonable consumer standards.

Watch More: Xbox One Release Hangout SpecialNBA Live 14 Hangout SpecialPS4 Release and Game Impressions Hangout Special

Other News of Note

Changes in leadership took place at Electronic Arts as Andrew Wilson was elevated to CEO. He began with the company in 2000 and most recently had run EA Sports since 2011. Patrick Soderlund, previously the head of the EA Games label, has taken over atop EA Sports.

Having slimmed down to just one game, 2K Sports made it two by securing the WWE license from the now defunct THQ. WWE 2K14 released in October for PS3/360 with the plan to make the next-gen jump next year.

EA Sports made the move to free-to-play games on mobile. Both FIFA 14 and Madden NFL 25 have been offered for free on iOS and Android with the focus shifted to Ultimate Team modes and in-app purchases. The reviews have been fairly positive and the games appear to have been made more relevant due to the decision.

  • Graham

    I work at a Gamestop and Ive never seen a game traded in or returned as much as NBA 2K14 the last month but especially the last week. Everyone is fed up with it.

    • turkey86

      As bad as the VC crap has been, when the servers work, the game is fantastic. Just dealing with all the other bullshit is a pain.

    • MoneyMayweather

      keith what’s up?

    • Keith.

      If you really work at Gamestop, Graham, you oughtta be thankful people are still coming there for any reason. Hopefully that’s not a long term career for you.

      • CJ

        Don’t be an ass.

        • Keith.

          In 5 years, Gamestop will be out of business and mentioned in the same stories as Blockbuster. If pointing that out makes me an ass, then so be it.

  • STuDS0N

    I feel bad for anyone who bought any version of NBA2k14. Seriously got screwed.

  • Keith.

    For those who haven’t traded in NBA 2k14 at Graham’s Gamestop:

    Ronnie 2K 2K14 ‏@Ronnie2K3h
    Expires midnight PST- All Eyes On Me #LockerCodes PS4/XB1: N14PS-QZPQN-JNU2Q-JYQX5-4DHJ7 PS3/360: N14PS-3YV8Z-NGQCM-K61QF-HPBEZ #NBA2K14

    Ronnie 2K 2K14 ‏@Ronnie2K3h
    #LockerCodes for the inconvenience past few days & only made sense on New Years Eve as you watch the ball drop tonight… #NBA2K14 #NYE

    Ronnie 2K 2K14 ‏@Ronnie2K2h
    New server fix went in place. Online should be stabilizing again within next bits. Please continue to send feedback where warranted #NBA2K14

    • Keith.

      And for those of you without the game, you’re really missing out on something special with The Park. Servers are up and I’ve been playing again all morning — best new mode in a sports game in 20 years.

  • kace

    Hope that everyone reads the Kotaku piece on NBA 2K14 because finally other sites are starting to stand up for gamers.

    http://kotaku.com/if-you-combined-battlefield-and-forzas-outrages-youd-1492456387

  • Keith.

    $.10 over the past 5 days? EA’s dropped $1.02 over the past week, and I haven’t mentioned it, so I doubt I’d say anything about a 10 cent drop over 5 days.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=EA+Interactive#symbol=ea;range=5d;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined;

  • Keith.

    I’d agree but Owen Good gave next gen M25 sports game of the year, which flushed any credibility Kotaku had gained over the past year right down the drain (again).

    • meb

      God forbid someone likes Madden. A fun game that actually works.

      Instead you constantly defend the piece of trash rip-off that is broken NBA 2K14. The only one without and crumb of credibility is you.

      • Keith.

        If it’s such a fun game, why’s it getting outsold by an NBA game, in an NFL country?

  • M-Tain

    Finally people are seeing that 2K is worse then EA. NBA 2K14 is worst case scenario for video games and the problems they are having and criticism from fans and websites hopefully theyve learned their lesson cause if they havent 2K is going to die off anyway.

  • Albert

    Has anyone see if there is a class action lawsuit against 2K yet? I need to put my name into it.

    • Keith.

      LoL. Another good example of the dumbing down of America.

      • http://pastapadre.com/ pastapadre

        Says the guy who was thrilled about the various class action lawsuits against EA.

        • Keith.

          EA kept competition away for 9 years (and counting). NBA2k put out a game that wasn’t playable for a weekend (and the busiest weekend of the year at that). I’d say there’s a pretty big difference between the 2.

          • Skopin

            There are still a lot of people who can’t play 2k14. As bad as Madden’s situation is with having exclusive rights to the NFL, at least their games have been playable, and very few, if any, have lost in-game purchases with real money.

          • CSaint

            THE PARK STILL ISN’T PLAYABLE. You deserve to be typed to in all caps.

        • CSaint

          SHOTS FIRED !

  • Jason_Kish

    Thank you Pasta for being an actual journalist in gaming media which has so few of them.

  • clubsteve

    glad i took the year off from nba 2k……smh.

  • Keith.

    I don’t think it’ll be that bad. I just gave my old PS3 to my older brother when I got the PS4, and it was pretty nice to tell him that NBA2k14, MLB The Show, and NHL were already installed and that he wouldn’t have to worry about swapping out discs. It’ll also be nice having both NBA2k14 and The Show installed on my PS4 in March — I won’t miss having to get up to swap discs at all.

    • MonkOnFire

      Tim is right on that one. I think society overall is much too eager to become fully reliant on digital purchases, whether it be books or film. I’ll always feel most confident in things I physically own, and swapping out discs is a minor inconvenience at best.

      Besides, without Gamestop you can’t game their “if you return a Used Game within 7 days, full refund” policy. I’ve gotten to “rent” many games in that manner.

  • Keith.

    I agree with you when it comes to music sales. But considering Madden used to sell close to 8 million copies a year at one time, and has now dropped to 4 million or less, I’d pin the reason why on the quality of the product in this case.

    • Tim Bliss

      You’re right that the PS3/Xbox versions of Madden sucked and therefore sells dropped. dramatically. But from all accounts Madden 25 on the PS4/XB1 is very enjoyable without dealing with all the issues of NBA 2k14.

      • Keith.

        From “all accounts”? Where are you getting that from?

        NBA2k14 just won the OS Readers Poll for Next Gen Sports Game of the Year (announced yesterday).

        It’s also the #1 selling Next Gen sports game, and the highest rated with Amazon customers. So there obviously “some accounts” that disagree.

        • Tim Bliss

          Everyone I have talked to says Madden 25 is great. Best Madden since the PS2.

  • Tim Bliss

    Agreed. Granted I don’t know a whole lot about digital versions of games but I worry about my system crashing and losing my downloads or something such as that nature.

    • Skopin

      Generally, digital content is tied to your account (XBox Live, PSN, Steam, etc.). So even if something happens to your system, you can re-download everything to the new system as long as you use the same account.

      • Tim Bliss

        That’s encouraging to know.

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