Hit the Pass

Sports games of today, yesterday and tomorrow

The Conference Room

What would it take for you to buy two competing sports video games?

By on @richgrisham

We’re lucky enough to have two compelling soccer and basketball simulation games this fall, something that can’t be said about all the other sports. So that begs the question – what would compel you to spend $60 on two big-time sports games in the same genre? What criteria do you use? Do you even have to make a choice, or will you go for both?

When a sport has two competing games, how is a purchase decision made?

Ryan Lewis

At $60 a game and with an extremely busy day-to-day schedule, it has never really been a viable option to buy two games of the same sport. There have been several occasions where I have been able to play demos of both, rent one or the other, or even buy an older version to see what I may have been missing.

While there may be other sports that I am leaving out, the only games where I am asked to pick a side are for basketball and soccer. If NBA 2K weren’t so amazing, I wouldn’t buy any basketball game. I don’t really follow basketball, but I think NBA 2K is, by far, the most creative, most entertaining and detailed sports game. With NBA Live, I just haven’t seen enough to really make me even consider it. If basketball were a sport that I was really interested in, I’m sure that I would consider purchasing it, but outside of the new face-scan technology (which looks really great) I have no reason to really care.

With soccer, I am kind of a fan boy. I have been playing FIFA since the SNES and I have probably purchased the game every year up until about FIFA 12. I don’t have much of a history with PES and the times when I have played it, it seems way too floaty to me. And the menus are unfamiliar and maybe even a little overwhelming. I always hear great things about PES, but when I have had the chance to dip my toe into its floaty waters, it still seems…floaty. I will say, however, that FIFA has become incredibly stale to me over the past 3-4 years. The career mode is boring, there are no online leagues, there is no compelling single player mode and I detest Ultimate Team (which seems like the only mode that gets any attention). Because the modes that I care about have been neglected and the game play enhancements have been subjectively minimal (to me) I am much more willing to consider PES this year again.

Dr. Ken Parker

Leading up to the release of PES16 and FIFA16 the common narrative has been that on the pitch PES2016 is the clear winner. Off the pitch, FIFA2016 is acknowledged to be the better and more accessible product. With a limited budget and time, picking one was a conundrum. In the days before the release of both games, I read reviews and considered what was more important to me. I play offline season modes almost exclusively and enjoy building a team through the transfer market, finding young talent and taking fringe teams into European success. FIFA’s management mode was familiar and safe but I had concerns that the on-field action had become robotic, predictable and stale.

After much consternation I decided I was going to make a change. I resolved to buy PES.

However, my resolution was thwarted at the first hurdle because retailers in my remote part of Australia had not been provided with copies of PES. I’m told that the truck carrying copies of the game along one of the two roads that connects my State (which is the size of Western Europe) to the rest of Australia had broken down.

As digital copies of games are far more expensive in Australia, the only practical option if I wanted a football fix right now was FIFA.

In the end, it was the Gods of transport logistics decree rather than my careful and considered deliberations that meant FIFA16 would be my football experience.

Pete Skerritt

In past years, when there was competition in football and hockey games, I bought multiple games. The Madden v. 2K Wars were intriguing; though Madden was the fixture in football games, Visual Concepts delivered solid or better games and nailed the presentation aspect. The same could be said for NHL, honestly.

I guess I always liked seeing what was different when it came to competing offerings in the same sport. It’s still great that we’re getting some competition in soccer and basketball, but these aren’t my go-to sports… so ponying up the cash for one game, let alone two, is a tough sell. Admittedly, I’ll be interested to see if NBA Live 16 can remain competitive with NBA 2K16, but that’s from the perspective of a curious observer and not as someone who has a personal horse in that race.

Cicero Holmes

Competition is back in a big way on the pitch. There’s a competition on the court, too, but it’s more like the Globetrotters versus the Generals. Perhaps that’s a little too harsh a comparison for EA’s NBA Live 16 but it just isn’t in the same class as NBA2K16. There are, however, redeeming qualities to the Live this year which is why I purchased it. I also purchased NBA 2K16. It’s so good it’s boring. The positive has got to be that I was motivated to purchase the NBA Live this year. So that’s a feather in EA’s cap.

Where EA doesn’t have to worry is on the pitch. It’s FIFA or bust. I continue to hear, from Rich, that Pro Evolution Soccer is a great series but I don’t play enough soccer to warrant purchasing two titles in a year. Maybe Rich will let me SharePlay some of it & I’ll become part of the converted.

Kahlief Adams

I’m a curious gamer in many ways and feel like the best way to wrap my head around the state of videogame basketball is to buy both games this year. With NBA Live making some headway they may have a legitimate contender for your hard earned dollar. NBA 2K16 comes back as the returning champ with some things to prove while building off an already solid foundation.

If you have the money, I honestly believe that we now have reached a great place again where competition might actually happen again in this space. Each game this year has specific features that bring something different to the table and make their respective games more entertaining. I’m hoping this trend continues so we can see how far EA and 2K can push each other.

T.J. Lauerman

After 2006 – when I purchased MVP 06: NCAA Baseball on PS2, MLB 2K6 on PS2 and PSP, and MLB 06: The Show on PS2 and PSP – I feel I’m either the best, or worst, person to answer this question.

With the advent of online gaming, I’m much more likely to only purchase one game of a big name sports franchise. The decision almost always depends on what my friends are playing. Even if the “other game” has better gameplay, I’d put having fun playing with my friends over gameplay every day.

I think this is how a lot of people make their purchasing decisions, and a huge reason why getting new sports game franchises feels like something that’s going to be few and far between in the future. It’s not about getting me to switch over, because if it was me, I’d probably do it; it’s about getting my group of friends to also make the jump.