The gaming world is a cutthroat industry where anything can happen and everyone needs to keep their eyes on the ball, figuratively and literally. With so many companies out there competing for gamers' time and money, the drive to create the best possible game is as intense and non-stop as any live or virtual sporting event. The following are the things that a hungry developer should be paying attention to if they want to be relevant in 2013.
What EA is Doing
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EA Sports is the number one powerhouse in the game making world. With more than 20 years of experience and a host of great sports titles, EA has more than just the pedigree — they have the industry locked up well. Because of their size and history, EA Sports is able to secure contractual relationships with most of the world's most popular sports leagues. Because of this massive amount of clout, EA's every move should be the subject of scrutiny by savvy developers.
Character Based Sports Games are on the Rise
It's a well-known fact that Mario is a busy guy. The iconic pudgy plumber has played a lot of sports during his time not saving princesses and stomping on goombas, but often there are subtle and powerful changes between games within the same series. Mario's tennis games have demonstrated that these changes can turn out wonderfully. Any intelligent developer would be wise to keep an eye out for how these changes impact character-based sports games.
Mario Golf, slated to come out during the summer, is changing two important elements of Mario's golf game archetype in two ways. Firstly, there are not going to be as many RPG elements to the new game as there were in past games, and secondly, there's slated to be a much more involved online element to playing this than prior Mario Golf iterations.
Integrating the Latest Technology
Wii Fit U is the latest in the Wii Fit series, and as such, a lot of people are hoping that this will be the magical thing that will help them finally get fitter and healthier. While there's no substitute for a solid work ethic and the genuine desire to get in shape, the next best thing is to try out the Wii Fit's new interface. Since this interface involves the new Wii U gamepad, there could be enough of a difference that playing this game will hold interest beyond novelty.
Expanding Previous Modes
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and while you might not be able to get Seattle Sounders FC tickets, you can still play the latest FIFA entry. Since FIFA 13 changed a lot about the overall interface and added addictive skill games, this entry into the series should bring a lot more features. If the physics are tightened, the players have better AI and the career mode has some more options to it, FIFA 14 could be an incredible example of when a soccer game goes completely right.
2013 is destined to be an amazing year for sports games. However, this just means that developers will have to work even harder to go one-up on each other.