Can All-Pro Football become a success?

Posted March 28th, 2007 at 5:24 am

All Pro Football

With the announcement that 2K Sports would be releasing All-Pro Football 2K8 this year came the debate regarding whether or not it could reach the masses and how well it could potentially do overall. Clearly there is a hardcore base of fans that is excited over the release. However that small group can not support the game alone. Lets take a look at some factors to consider:

  • 1) The hardcore fans that are excited about this game are in the minority. As vocal as they are, the representation they have on message boards does not reflect in the mainstream market. While the game is likely to be heavily tailored to please this group of fans, 2K inevitably will have to make the game appealing to the casual gamers out there.One example of this is by licensing NFL legends. While many feel this is not necessary (all they claim to desire is a fully customizable game) there has to be a way for 2K to market the game more widely. Using these legends can give people a sense of nostalgia and recognizable faces that will make them more likely to trust that the game will be worth their money.There will inevitably be other things that will irritate the hardcore group, but it has to be accepted that the company needs to reach out to both segments of consumers.
  • 2) All-Pro Football can not pretend that it will take over the place of Madden or even NCAA Football, very few will bring APF in as their only football game. It must become a companion to those titles. It has the opportunity to do well by becoming the second or third football game in someone’s library. It is unrealistic to believe that Madden will be passed over in favor of a non-licensed game.
  • 3) It can achieve that place in the household by offering things that the other games don’t. What do football gaming fans clamor for but haven’t gotten the last couple years? What are the other titles expected to be lacking this year? That is where APF can take advantage of its place as a non-licensed game. It can take liberties that the others can’t. That doesn’t mean going the route of Blitz: The League but it does mean they can concentrate on certain aspects that the others don’t. There is still much to tap into with online play for example, which is an area that EA has not put complete effort into thus far.At the same time it can’t take unrealistic risks. Something like Natural Motion will not be used completely, if at all. While the game needs a way to stand out, if there are too many problems or glitches it will turn consumers off from it in future years. With an unlicensed game its unlikely many would give it a second chance if they didn’t like the effort the first time around.
  • 4) The release date is important. If it were to beat NCAA Football and Madden to the market, it would have all the attention on itself at that time. If it waits too long, it’ll get swallowed up and will struggle to be heard. It could have the potential of coming out after the NFL season is over as well, which would offer it a nice area in the sports gaming schedule that isn’t packed heavily. When the NFL season is over, having accurate rosters aren’t as important and thats when many fans start to lose interest.
  • 5) The game may very well be worth the $60 price that most come out at, however many won’t accept it unless they can feel they are getting it at a discount. When you consider most fans will be looking at purchasing one if not both Madden and NCAA, you’re potentially looking at $180 in football gaming costs. NFL 2K5 made its move by selling at $20. And there is no question that had a big part in it. Many Madden fans gave it a chance because of that. Selling at $40 or $50 would be a smart move for the first year of this franchise.
  • 6) By releasing on the Xbox 360 and PS3 only, the company is hoping to set up the framework for the future and it will hopefully in turn create a better game for these consoles since it is concentrated solely on them. However when you go back to 2K5 and consider that a good portion of the fans of the game purchased it because of the price, many of those ‘budget’ consumers will have not made the move to next-gen. Essentially those who are still on the PS2 will not have the opportunity to get the game, and most will not be able justify purchasing such expensive hardware simply for this game.
  • So All-Pro Football has its work cut out for it, however it can achieve success by entering the market in a tactical manner. If it can become a companion to the other games it will get the opportunity to grow from there in future years. There has to be a realistic approach and calmed expectations for this year based on the many factors it will face.