09 Baseball Titles Need to Improve Online Play

Posted November 25th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

As I covered extensively last year neither MLB 2K8 nor MLB 08: The Show provided a sufficient online experience. 2K8 was arguably the worst online sports title ever while The Show was very inconsistent in its own right. My full online report on both games can be found here along with an update a week later here.

While it was the performance that primarily dragged them down last year both titles also lacked some basic options that would’ve been beneficial. SCEA does deserve credit for the weekly roster updates and website functionality. I suspect we’ll be seeing that same support from 2K this year. NHL 2K9 likely provides a good idea of what to expect out of MLB 2K9.

While MLB 08: The Show was highly regarded last year it ran very hit or miss online. The support was there with weekly roster updates and a website with some really nice tracking features but in many cases the lag was very bad. It did seem to improve over time though there continued to be the occasional unplayable game. Their online league system was also structured in a very odd way that made it more difficult then it should have been to participate. Actually not even I would have been able to be the commissioner of a league due to the restrictions they had in place.

The disaster that MLB 2K8 was online is well known. Most disconcerting is that it was never addressed. Having to swing the bat before the pitch is released defeats the entire purpose and skill involved in baseball, and that completely negates anything else 2K offered such as their leagues. Sadly 2K8 was the only choice for those with just a 360 and 2K didn’t show much concern for the consumers. Hopefully that changes this year as the studio move is a sign that they did at least identify the series was in need of new focus and direction.

MLB 2K8 was followed by Prizefighter and NBA 2K9 which, as their terrible online experiences will attest to, doesn’t exactly bode well for MLB 2K9. SCEA has a history of online related trouble with The Show series. So we really need to see an effort in this area from these two companies.

Under the right circumstances baseball gaming can be one of the most enjoyable sports titles. But if the online performance is off even slightly it can ruin everything. We’ve seen other sports games innovating with their online offerings as well as improving the performance provided, so lets hope that trend continues with the baseball titles. I’m not sure I can go through another online deficient year without losing a great deal of interest in the baseball games going forward.