RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Jun 24th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC, sports, 2015, state of

Last Summer I published an article here that chronicled the current state of sports games available on PC. I decided to revisit this concept for 2015 because there's actually been some interesting developments since last year. So I don't know... maybe this will be an annual thing? So grab your favorite game-time snacks and big foam finger and let's explore the world of PC sports games in 2015 together after the break! (Spoiler: Still no new Madden game.)

This year we saw the release of the first major baseball game on PC since Major League Baseball 2K12, which has since gone out of print. RBI Baseball 15 was released in April to mixed reviews. While some gamers have applauded the old school arcade-style gameplay, others have felt let down that we don't have something that rivals MLB The Show on PC yet. Besides RBI's pick-up-and-play that takes on America's favorite pastime, there's also the hardcore simulation of Out Of The Park Baseball 16 which came out in March. This is the newest game in the PC series that has you implement some serious strategy as ballclub manager rather than actually play the game itself. So while getting something like The Show would be welcome, it's nice to see that there's at least a couple of interesting options now available.

Basketball has remained well represented on PC thanks to the annually excellent NBA 2K series. NBA 2K15 was released back in October and 2K16 has been announced for PC this coming September. As of right now, it's not certain if the PC version will be based on the PS3/360 or PS4/One release graphically. Hopefully, we get the latter. Either way, this series is truly great, and I'm glad that 2K Games keeps delivering. Sure you can complain about the online servers operating on sixteen month cycles and all, but the games tend to go on sale often enough within that window to make them alluring enough to get online. If you're more interested in solo campaigns and local co-op, then it might not even matter to you if you have the newest game or not.

Another year and still no sign of a new football game on the PC. Last year, I lamented the absence of Madden on our hard drives, and this year I'm still baffled. Ironically, the Madden series originated on personal computers back in 1988. It's a bummer that EA has forgotten about PC gamers in the years since. Having said all that, PC enthusiasts certainly haven't forgotten about Madden, and as such, there's still a thriving modding community that keep rosters updated for various entries. The most popular seems to be Madden 08, which I'm a big fan of myself. What makes this particular iteration so great is that it's still widely available via digital distribution. So we've got an easily attainable game that has lots of updated mods and even access to private servers if you want to muck around with VPN. While I'd still prefer to see a brand new game released, 08 still looks good and plays great.

Golf games have always gone so perfectly with PC gaming. Perhaps it's the accuracy of using a mouse to aim your shots, or maybe it's the satisfying thud of the space bar? Whatever it is, I tend to think of golf games as best suited for PC. And luckily, we've had no shortage of them over the years. If you're into the more arcade-style gameplay then you'd do well to check out Pangya which is still going strong (and free) several years later. Though EA hasn't delivered a Tiger Woods game since PGA Tour 12 The Masters, we've recently had a couple of interesting announcements for the sport. First is The Golf Club which was released last year and has definitely gained some new fans. What's nice is that the game is still receiving various DLCs in the form of new modes and courses. There's also Perfect Golf, which is currently in Steam Early Access and promises similar realism along the lines of The Golf Club. If anything, it will be nice to see if the competition between these two titles will push them both to be the best they can be. It's certainly nice to see golf games thriving on PC once again.

Being a hockey fan is slightly tough right now if you play on PC. Much like EA's decision to ignore PC gamers when it comes to Madden releases, you won't be seeing the latest NHL game either. The last of the series to see a home on PC was NHL 09 and it has retained a bit of a cult following thanks to its digital availability, as well as a small but devoted modding community. Personally, that's the entry I have stuck with. It still looks and plays decent enough and you find it for sale easily. Fans of simulations might want to check out Eastside Hockey Manager which saw release in March. These sorts of management sims have definitely been popular lately. I haven't dipped my toe in that pool yet, so can't really offer up any real commentary there.

Soccer is generally the one sport that thrives on PC. In fact, soccer is the only sport that EA is actively publishing games for on the PC. That's great if you're a soccer fan, though unfortunately I've never been drawn to the sport myself. Just this year alone, we've seen a surprising number of soccer games on PC. Of course there's the usual big name titles. EA's FIFA 16 would be the most obvious to mention. However, there's also been some rather unique sounding games that are a bit out in left-field. Soccer Rage is a weird mash-up of soccer and fighting. Football Tactics is a turn-based game that actually looks pretty interesting. Natural Soccer is sort of a retro throwback to early PC titles like Sensible Soccer.

March of this year saw the release of Tennis Elbow 2013. I'll let that one seep in for a moment. Yeah, I don't fully comprehend the title either, but the game actually looks pretty promising with new DLC and updates being rolled out regularly. Though one thing that stuck out to me as a bit of a letdown is the fact that although you can have four players, they can't all play online. Meaning, you can have four players in the same room or you can have two players online per computer. It seems like a weird limitation that I'd hope would get patched up in a future update. Still, it's nice to see a new tennis game since it seems like the last one to hit PC was Virtua Tennis 4.

Probably the least represented sport on PC is volleyball. In fact, the last major game I've been able to find is Power Spike Beach Volleyball, which is a drag since these sorts of volleyball games can be a lot of fun. But hey, looking at just how different The State Of PC Sports Games is for 2015 compared to the 2014 article I penned, it's certainly possible we'll see a new volleyball game released by this time next year. Last year's article showed a lot of stagnation, so it's interesting to see so many new releases popping up in a single year. It's also exciting to see that much of this new material is being independently developed.

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Good take on an often overlooked gamer segment.  My favorite baseball game since RBI Baseball was on the PC (also released on consoles, but they didn't feel the same) High Heat Baseball was great.  Lasted 5 years and then gone.  I agree that it's tough being a hockey video game fan but ONLY if you don't own a console as well as a PC.  I have Eastside Hockey Manager on my Steam wishlist.  It is interesting to me that the one sports game that has not only stayed on the PC but has a pretty big presence there is the NBA 2K series.  I'm not even a fan of the sport but I feel like buying their game to thank them for putting sports on the PC.
I agree that it is still a bit shocking how some of the big devs choose to ignore the PC (especially EA as you said).  Apparently some still see the PC as a dumping ground for Indie games and nothing more.  While most sports titles don't appeal to me, I can't help but be attracted to golf games (in general) and Natural Soccer.  It just looks like a lot of fun, and so British that I can almost smell the Sunday roast.

Tennis Elbow...  Kills me.
Another example of 2K's commitment to the PC was their release of WWE2k15 this year. I couldn't even guess when the last licensed WWE game made it's way to home computers.
I can't say that I'm a huge sports gamer, but I have to admit that sports games are best when played with people, and with that I think that across the board consoles are more friendly to play together with someone.  This leads to me say, I sort of understand why the PC is not the premiere platform for sports games, however, I do not think it should be ignored as there is clearly a market for PC sports games.  I also think it would be helpful if PC ports didn't regularly remove local multiplayer options which would definitely help make it more friendly to play with people.

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