Video games are on the rise. Whether you look at the sales figures or participation rates, it’s impossible to deny that the industry has never had it so good. In the last week of March 2020, for instance, playtime was up by 45%.
Most people would expect sports titles to be an integral part of the success, yet the sector is in a hole at the moment. With no way out on the horizon, it’s essential the powers that be think of solutions to help the market bounce back for the sake of the fans.
Fix the Bugs
As simple as this sounds, the stats prove that recent sports releases aren’t up to scratch as far as the users are concerned. Madden 20 came out in the summer of 2019 and proceeded to tank in terms of the series’ historic dominance. How? It was received a 76 rating from Metacritic and a user score of 1.6, both of which are among the lowest rankings since the early 2000s.
FIFA 20 and NBA 2K20 had similar issues, highlighting how the glitchy gameplay ruined the playing experience. Another factor that annoys modern gamers is the lack of creativity. These games use tried and tested formulas, and they are losing their novelty as a result.
Sports video games must invest in the user experience if they are to prove that customers should buy them again. To do that, the bugs need dealing with ASAP, as do the boring formats.
Gain Momentum from eSports & Traditional Sports
Meanwhile, the eSports industry is riding the crest of a wave. That wave, by the way, is valued in the tens of billions, which is an eye-watering figure for a sector that has barely existed for a decade. However, there is a massive elephant in the room – some sports video games are classed as eSports. FIFA is a prime example because there is an eSports tournament that features the best FIFA gamers in the world.
Therefore, using the link to cement the connection will raise awareness of the games by appealing to a broader audience. One way to do this is to promote the competitions within the game to ensure the link is clear. Video game manufacturers can ask eSports organizers to do the same since it benefits both parties. Another option is to use online gambling as a vehicle for growth, just like eSports and traditional sports have done recently as they leap from online betting on sports to eSports betting isn’t very big due to the fact they share several similarities. A savvy tactic to solidify the relationship and advertise to the customer base is to mimic the features found on betting sites within the eSports vertical, such as live streams.
Traditional sports and eSports have shown that this strategy works, so there’s no reason sports video games can’t copy the technique and make it work.
In regard with this, also consider reading: How to Become an eSports Pro
Leverage the Celebrity Movement
Part of the reason why sports video games haven’t flourished recently is that manufacturers have resorted to their base instincts. When the going got tough, they tried to rehash modern versions of popular classics. Tony Hawk Pro Staker is the best example.
Unfortunately, the Tony Hawk franchise doesn’t have the same traction today because the culture isn’t the same. As a result, sports video games would do well to leverage in-demand aspects of society, and there’s none better than social media and celebrity influencers right now.
Some have already done it to a powerful effect. In 2020, for example, Formula 1 encouraged its drivers to participate in the eSports series, with the TV ratings receiving a significant boost. NBA 2K20 did the same with a player’s tournament, which was a big hit.
The future doesn’t have to be bleak for sports video games. If they use these tactics, they could take advantage of a healthy industry.
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