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Sony Cans Most 989 Sports Titles For 2004

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the spiked-out dept.

PlayStation (Games) 35

blueZhift writes "GameSpy reports that Sony's 989 Sports division announced today that NFL GameDay, NCAA GameBreaker, NBA ShootOut, and NCAA Final Four for PlayStation 2 will not be updated for the 2004-2005 season. Hmmm, with Microsoft recently shelving their sports lineup for 2004 and EA Sports games allegedly coming over to Xbox Live, one can only wonder if 989's announcement is EA-related as well."

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Well, it makes sense (5, Insightful)

the_riaa (669835) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071411)

I firmly believe that competition is a good thing, but let's face it folks, the only two companies putting out good sports games these days are Sega and Electronic Arts. 989 had good games early in the PS1 life-cycle, when they were taking advantage of the Sony machine's graphics better than the other guys. Guess what? EA caught up with them. And vastly surpassed them. If it weren't for Sega resurrecting their Sports department with the 2K games on the Dreamcast, EA would be the only name out there, other than Midway and those dopey NFL Blitz/MLB Slugfest games. Sports games are big business, but if you're 989, only selling games for ONE of the consoles (unlike EA and Sega), and you're fighting for that marginal percentage of the market share called third or forth place on that ONE console, then the well runs dry pretty quick. I applaud 989 for still making PS1 games, I always like to see old systems get love, but the creativity, the enhancements, and the feel and play of their games has taken a nose-dive over the past few years. 989 Sports, hate to see you go, but honestly, you won't be missed.

Not for consumers, it doesn't (5, Insightful)

pommaq (527441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071641)

You're right, competition IS a good thing, and this move will make a bad situation even worse. EA already has a stranglehold on the sports market and we all know what EA Sports means: rubber-stamp sequels with updated graphics and rosters, licensed pop music, and no creative additions to gameplay since somewhere around 1999. I play mostly footie games, and having played FIFA since 94 or 95 somewhere (before they even went quasi-3d and had real rosters) I used to think that FIFA was as good as it got. That is, until I hit upon Sega's Winning Eleven [konamityo.com] series while looking for a decent footballer to import for my 'cube. I could understate things by saying that it was an eye-opener, but to be honest it made me realize that EA has been making gobs of money selling absolute shit for quite a while now. It certainly works if you haven't tried anything else, but I can't even play the FIFA series anymore - it's like trying to eat rocks for dinner after getting used to exquisite three-course meals.

Simply put, sports games can be vastly improved with some creativity and innovation, and EA is the one company you can trust to never ever EVER innovate. They've proved time and time again that the only thing they care about is the bottom line: they'll chew through developers and brands like snacks, release what should rightly be patches as add-ons, and sacrifice everything new and creative on the altar of "hey, it sold well enough last time" and glitzy graphics. It's painful to see. And even if this particular competitor made crap games too (haven't played any of their games, so I wouldn't know) it WAS competition. Maybe this makes sense for Sony, but every move that strengthens EA's sports dominance will shaft you - the consumer - in the end.

Re:Not for consumers, it doesn't (2, Informative)

pommaq (527441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071657)

And since I'm drunk or high something, I wrote Sega when of course I meant Konami. Konami Tokyo are the people behind Winning Eleven/PES, not Sega. Sorry.

Re:Not for consumers, it doesn't (1)

the_ed_dawg (596318) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073774)

Have you ever played the NCAA Football series? Really played it? I've been in on it since 1998. In-depth recruiting. Hot route audibles. Real fight songs for the majority of universities. Brad Nessler, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit with enough dialogue that I'm still hearing some things for the first time after a year. I can honestly say that NCAA Football 2004 is the best sports game that I've ever played.

I'll admit, EA has a history of making worthless sequels (read: The Sims ______) and not being adventurous when starting new franchises. However, to contend that they always have their thumbs up their butts by making rubber-stamp sequels with updated graphics and rosters, licensed pop music and no creative additions to gameplay since 1999 is inaccurate. All of the above changes have been included since 2001.

While you might argue that the fight songs and announcers don't contribute to gameplay, maybe you should experience the college football atmosphere. Corso and Herbstreit hold icon status across campuses everywhere [collegefoo...ameday.com] for ESPN College GameDay (along with host Chris Fowler). It's not uncommon for them to have over 10,000 fans surrounding the GameDay show before the game, and everyone looks to see who they pick to win. Seriously. The insane atmosphere of college football makes adding these guys a huge bonus that can't really be quantified.

Re:Not for consumers, it doesn't (1)

pommaq (527441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9077702)

Yeah, I worded that a bit harshly. They do update some things. But look at what I wrote: no creative additions to gameplay . That's the thing; they most certainly add to the sound, the ambience and the atmosphere and the presentation, everything looks cooler and more realistic with every new version. Drafting, trading players, etc. But you never get more than subtle tweaks to the gameplay itself, and the gameplay in a sports game is more important than anything else... it IS the game. It's hard to explain just how amazed I was after playing WE6 for an hour or so, but it was really a revelation - it just FEELS like you're down there playing football with those guys, even if they haven't motion-captured David Beckham's every finger movement or lovingly recreated the Camp Nou stadium in 30k polygons. That feeling was something EA had never given me, and probably never will. My point still stands; EA are content with polishing their games up every six months or so and marketing them aggressively - gameplay to the EA mooks is just another small-print bullet point in an overhead presentation on "quarterly revenues".

Re:Not for consumers, it doesn't (1)

gid-goo (52690) | more than 10 years ago | (#9090010)

Winning Eleven 7 is a work of soccer video game genius for sure. There are definitely some areas where FIFA represents. Some of the penalty shooting stuff is a little better. But man, I can't get enough of WE7.

Re:Not for consumers, it doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9074716)

None of these games hold a candle to the NES version of Tecmo Bowl :)

Multi Platform is not as important as you think... (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075564)

The multi platform thing is not exactly critically important. If you compare the number of PS2's that have been sold vs X-Box and GameCube, you will find that Sony has an ungodly amount of PS2 units out there.

I hate to say it, but supporting X-Box or GCN right now is only marginally more important then a PC game supporting Mac. Being a single platform game is not a problem when that platform is 70% or so of the market.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:Multi Platform is not as important as you think (1)

Alban (86010) | more than 10 years ago | (#9077468)

If you are using a cross-platform engine and tools, it is definitely worth also supporting xbox and maybe even gamecube. While the xbox and cube sales numbers will be nowhere near the ps2 numbers, they still constitute a very welcome income.

Maybe... (1, Insightful)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071432)

Perhaps it will free up some funds for some original game concepts instead of the same old crap over and over and over...

Well, one can hope, anyway.

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9071628)

Prepare for Ico 2 announcement at E3

Re:Maybe... (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072228)

http://ps2.ign.com/objects/490/490849.html?ui=game finder

Re:Maybe... (2, Insightful)

SamSim (630795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071796)

It's not Sega and EA's fault that people keep buying the updates of the same game over and over and over. It's irritating, but it's profitable.

Re:Maybe... (0)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072348)

It may look like the same game to you but to someone who enjoys sports video games, they're really not the same game each year. Some could say that GTA: Vice City was just an update of GTA III. I mean, the premise and basic movement is the same, right? Others could say that Warcraft III was just an update of Warcraft II. Again, same basic idea there - graphical improvements being the noted change to the casual observer. Take any Final Fantasy game - the combat system remains the same throughout - to the person who doesn't play Final Fantasy games.

Why criticize people for buying sports games like this? It's just promoting strife. Realize that people enjoy different types of gaming experiences and move on with your life. Buy the games you want to buy. Oh, and if you're going to make the argument that by EA and Sega spending money to release updated versions of those same games over and over they are taking money away from development into more innovative games - don't bother.

Re:Maybe... (3, Insightful)

illuminata (668963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071958)

Being a jock as well as a geek, maybe I can shed some light as to why some people buy sports games every year.

To a geek, it would appear as if it was the same junk with just some minor tweaks. But, to a sports gamer, they are anything but.

With all of the roster moves made during the season and in the off-season, a player wants to have their game's roster be as current as possible. A current roster keeps that sense of realism for a player. That's the largest reason why one would pick up the latest title of a sports game every year. Remember, a game also has to keep current with new teams, stadiums, stadium names, stadium modifications, team moves, rule changes, etc.

Don't forget, there's also new features added each year that might not seem like much to a geek. Madden 2004 just recently created a mode for one to simulate owning a team, detailed down to setting food prices to generate revenue. ESPN NFL Football lets you have your own "crib" for you to purchase things for, including a jukebox so that you can play your own music and an air hockey table. You can't forget things such as new training modes, gameplay modes, and other things of that nature.

Improvements are another big justification for a yearly upgrade. Things such as bettering how the defense back handles a wide receiver in football or how a suicide squeeze is handled in baseball all help add to the realism of the video game. That's what most sports gamers want; being able to come as close as they can to having a realistic sports experience.

You need an appreciation of sports to be able to understand why people justify a yearly video game purchase. Without that appreciation, it certainly may seem as if those games are indeed crap. However, there are a whole slew of people who appreciate sports, and that's why you'll continue to see sports video games over and over.

...Just not as many from 989, because they realized that they weren't too good at making them.

Re:Maybe... (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072010)

"Perhaps it will free up some funds for some original game concepts instead of the same old crap over and over and over..."

This is interesting. I find this statement (which is partially true) to be in direct contrast to a recent Slashdot article [slashdot.org] about another re-release of the original Star Trek series.

Also, in the future, possibly more of the game developers will follow the lead on the Xbox, which is roster updates [xbox.com] throughout the season. I used NHL Rivals as my link, and I know it wasn't a great game, but downloadable updates is a great feature...

Re:Maybe... (1)

Primis (71749) | more than 10 years ago | (#9075147)

Perhaps it will free up some funds for some original game concepts instead of the same old crap over and over and over...

Right. Instead of having another choice for gamers in a smaller but hardcore audience, that time and effort will be spent either on another crappy FPS or another stupid and pointless MMORPG.

Remind me why this is good again?...

-- Primis.

Next-gen launch dates? (5, Interesting)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071439)

Does this mean that the PS3 and/or XboX2 is around the corner? Microsoft cancels 2004 games, EA does likewise, and now Sony? This means to me that, either people aren't interested in sports games any more (HA!) or that they're starting work on next-gen systems/games - after all, if Sony/MS want to have some kick ass games for startup (MS perhaps in a year, Sony by Q4/05), they need to get cracking, right?

Re:Next-gen launch dates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9086440)

Does this mean that the PS3 and/or XboX2 is around the corner?

I'd bet $5 this was the case. Don't forget that games typically have an 18 to 24 month development schedule. If teams have been retasked to make next-gen versions of their games right now, this could easily give them time to make launch titles in late 2005 or early 2006.

Not EA Related (5, Insightful)

illuminata (668963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071557)

It's poor quality related. The sports titles produced by 989 Sports always came up inferior, not just in the graphics department, but in all of the other departments as well. That includes gameplay, where it always fell short every year in every sport.

When you create a bad game, word spreads very fast and nobody bites at it. When you create a bad game in a series year after year, people don't trust the series anymore. And when you do that with multiple series, people lose trust in the developer. Had 989 been able to create quality sports titles, or at least learn from their mistakes like Sega did with World Series 2K, 989 wouldn't be in the situation that they're in now. But, 989 didn't even try. EA and Sega just gave them competition. They did not force them to create mediocre games.

Re:Not EA Related (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9071632)

What are you talking about? World Series was always good in the past. Most notably World Series 98 on the Saturn kicked major ass over the competition at the time.

Re:Not EA Related (2, Informative)

illuminata (668963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9071658)

Excuse me, I meant to say World Series Baseball 2K1.

What's so bad about it? There's very little hitting control. You can't move the batter around in the batter's box, control the swing type, vary the strength of the swing, or even check your swing. But, most importantly, there is no fielding control whatsoever. It's purely a hitting and pitching game, and the hitting aspect of it is off. It was definitely the low point of the World Series license.

New England Patriots what done killed it (2, Interesting)

kisrael (134664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072218)

Game Before The Game [989sports.com] (a gamer from each Superbowl team going at it using their team's virtual representation in NFL Gameday) succesfully predicted the Superbowl winner for eight straight years. This year, it predicted "Panthers 29 Patriots 21". Whoops. Maybe that's why Sony canned 'em. (Probably because it's so hard to have enough AI to make a virtual Bill Belichick...)

Do 989 Gmaes SUck? (1)

PeeweeJD (623974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072285)

I dont have a PS2... Do 989 games suck or something?

I know the MS XSN sports games sucked, which is what I thought was the reason for them canning them...

Re:Do 989 Gmaes SUck? (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#9077953)

Man...the whole 'XSN Games Suck' thing is a tired, dead horse, whose beatings have now reached a horrific level.

XSN Games do NOT suck. There are 7 XSN Games:

Top Spin (Tennis)
Links (Golf)
Amped 2 (Snowboarding)
Rallisport Challenge 2 (Racing)
NHL Rivals (Hockey)
NBA Inside Drive (Basketball)
NFL Fever (Football)

Of those 7 games, 3 of them are legitimately great games. Links, Top Spin, and Rallisport Challenge 2 are fantastic. Each one of them is at the top of their category, and when you add in the Live and XSN aspect, they really are fantastic games. (Gamerankings.com gives them 83, 88, 88 respectively- and the lowest scored reviews from Gamespy make it painfully obvious that the reviewer spent less than 2 hours playing the games.)

Amped 2 is a fairly fun Snowboarding game. It won't set the world on fire, but it does not 'suck' by any means.

The other 3 games (Rivals, Fever and Inside Drive) might fall into the 'not so good..maybe suck' category. But, with 3 great games, and one good one, XSN games don't suck as a whole.

Re:Do 989 Gmaes SUck? (1)

PeeweeJD (623974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9078018)

i was mostly referring to football/basketball and hocky... hose games suck...

amped is fun as hell...

rallisport challenge looks sweet...

heard good thins about top spin/links (never played them)

i guess my comment is only half right...

Re:Do 989 Gmaes SUck? (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#9078726)

I'll give you the half-right. The football, basketball and hockey games are not up to the same quality standards as a lot of others out there. I've played them, but didn't spend my money on them. Okay...they do suck.

Links is surprisingly good. I think the only two videogames that I have spent as much time on, were Diablo II, and Age of Empires II. I've played Links just about every day for about 5 months now.

Top Spin was completely awesome. But it doesn't have enough depth to make it a game that I still play. When I liked it, I absolutely loved it. But I burnt out on it after about 2 months. This is fine though, because not every game needs to last forever. This was definitely at least a '9' in my book. I should play it on Live more often- because the big problem I have now is that the AI is just too easy.

I've only had Rallisport Challenge 2 for a day now. (Just came out yesterday) So far it is great. I've spent 4 hours on it, and it seems very fun- all round better than the last one. Some people complain that it is not a simulation. But I'm looking for fun- not the feeling of rocks in my teeth.

If you can't do something right... (2, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072434)

I hate to see 989 and Microsoft stop competing in the NFL games, but both products were inferior. I would have preferred to see them step up to the challenge instead of rolling over and dying, but that's their decision to make. I guess Sega is my only source for NFL nowadays.

TinFoilHatRantOn();
I refuse to play Madden because it does some very un-football things like letting you pick a play by receiver. If you're too focused on one receiver getting the ball, you're going to throw a lot of incompletes and ints. Then again, I refused to play Microsoft's NFL game again after I realized that Microsoft just shuts off your defensive ability in the last few minutes of the game.

This does come from someone who takes the time to see how players move when audibles are called so that I can set up substitutions for a multi-set offense (like lining up in Goalline with my 5WR package so I can call an audible and be in a 5WR formation with the proper personnel while the defense has their goalline squad on the field). I might just be a little too picky.
TinFoilHatRantOff();

Re:If you can't do something right... (-1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073798)

"I refuse to play Madden because it does some very un-football things like letting you pick a play by receiver. If you're too focused on one receiver getting the ball, you're going to throw a lot of incompletes and ints. Then again, I refused to play Microsoft's NFL game again after I realized that Microsoft just shuts off your defensive ability in the last few minutes of the game."
The plays list the primary receiver on the play. This is just like in the NFL. A quarterback has an option that he looks at first. He then continues to scan his options until he sees an open player or is forced to throw. I don't see how listing your primary receiver in the playbook means you have to focus on a single read.

"This does come from someone who takes the time to see how players move when audibles are called so that I can set up substitutions for a multi-set offense (like lining up in Goalline with my 5WR package so I can call an audible and be in a 5WR formation with the proper personnel while the defense has their goalline squad on the field)."
Realism? How often do you see that happen in a real game?

Re:If you can't do something right... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9076409)

mark it overrated all you like - doesn't change the fact that you're a fucking idiot.

Second company to do this (1)

TechniMyoko (670009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9072438)

MS cancelled their XSN Sports games for this year too. Maybe they've finally realized that people don't want a new sports game every year which is almost exactly the same as last years only with an updated roster database which in this day and age, should be downloadable. Considering EB doesn't accept trade ins on sports games, I'm sure the retailers are happy too.

Try reading the submission. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9076562)

I don't expect you to RTFA, but at least read the submission. Yes, it already says that MS cancelled their sports games.

Sega is so much better (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9073686)

I don't know if anyone goes on a rental spree before buying like me. But without a shadow of a doubt, Sega sports games are superior compared to EA.

Don't get me wrong EA would eat 989 studios alive. But with the exception of really really deep franchise statistics, sega espn basketball, football and hockey was so much more advanced than EA sports games IMHO.

Why? Becase 989 and the inhouse MS games sucked (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9074546)

The whole sports thing is really between market dominator EA and and the 2Kx guys at Sega. In the last two football seasons, I thought the Sega product was better, though many found EAs product better (maybe cause it was more familiar?).

But 989 and the MS Sports products were just hangers on and both were single platform. The two guys still standing are mutliplatform and Sega is online with both systems. EA may be too.

EA Sports online for Xbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9078633)

Hmmm, with Microsoft recently shelving their sports lineup for 2004 and EA Sports games allegedly coming over to Xbox Live


And on that note:

Timesplitters 3 online for PS2 only [eurogamer.net]

Doesn't necessarily prove that the EA Sports titles won't have Live support this year, but it definitely doesn't bode well.
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