All-Pro Football could become biyearly title

Posted June 16th, 2007 at 4:20 am

APF 2K8 Trailer Screen 17

Within the Operation Sports impressions it was mentioned that 2K Sports’ Anthony Chau stated how they are considering All-Pro Football as a title that could be released every other year. However it depends on how well this one sells whether or not the franchise will have a future.

Now, if everything is riding on how well 2K8 does, why are they pushing out a bare bones game that has no depth? This is a game that has no franchise mode, lacks presentation, doesn’t have full customization options, has little to no commentary improvements, and has mediocre graphics all with a $60 price tag. What does it have going for it? 2K5 fans will feel familiar with the game and will likely enjoy the gameplay. That in itself is not enough to sell the game though to more than the small group of hardcore 2K fans.

Right now the appearance is that the game is being rushed to beat Madden to the market (and Chau admitted that they wanted to beat Madden out) and in doing so still has to go head-to-head with NCAA Football. What is so important about getting the game out right away?

Since even before the official announcement that a game was going to be made, I’ve talked about how the best time to release All-Pro Football (or whatever game they were going to make) would be following the Super Bowl. That is when Madden really dies down and NCAA has already worn off before that. People lose interest after the season is over and once players move to new teams. I know personally I don’t like playing with guys who have signed elsewhere and that I don’t have the new acquisitions or draft picks to use. So having generic players or legends can be much more appealing then.

Chau stated that Take Two doesn’t believe that a game would sell at that time of the year. Yet instead, they believe it will sell when up against two highly touted football licensed franchises within the span of a month? Come on now.

Another belief is that they wouldn’t want to compete with their own MLB 2K series which generally releases at the end of February. This is another concern that really isn’t valid. Within the span of a month and a half, you have the following releases from mid-August to early October from EA. Madden, Nascar, Tiger Woods, NHL, and NBA Live. You can’t tell me that having All-Pro in early February and MLB in late February or early March would damage the sales of either significantly enough that it would offset the gains of releasing in a much more friendly period.

He also stated that they limited customization options so as not to upset the NFL or bring about a possible lawsuit, and that they are interested in bidding on the NFL license when the current contract ends. Looking at the state of Take Two right now, I don’t think anyone could say they have a legit chance of winning a bidding war with EA. It seems doubtful that it will even come to that as EA will likely be able to extend the contract before it expires. The only competition for the license last time other than 2K was Disney, and to my knowledge Disney made a stronger bid than Take Two/2K did.

I still look at 2K turning their backs on the current gen consumers, the ones who still have not bought into a 360 and PS3, as being potentially the most devastating misstep they will have made. These are the fans who bought 2K5 cause it was $20. And now that the game doesn’t appear to have anything extraordinary that couldn’t have been done on the PS2, that decision is made even more puzzling.

Regardless of the validity, many still see this as a game that has “raised” its price from $20 to $60. Yet it has lost staples of football gaming and some of what made 2K5 a success. Perception certainly can be a big influence on how well something can ultimately do. That puts it in a very tough spot. Signing all those legends individual backed them into a corner that probably forced them to stick with the $60 price tag.

It seems to me that they are simply looking to cut their losses with this game and that they don’t truly believe that there is a future for the franchise. And that is unfortunate for consumers not only this year but in the future.