Press Pass: Do Sports Games Have a Sporting Chance?

Madden 09 Xbox coverIn August 2008, four separate versions of a single game took up four of the top 10 spaces in NPD’s monthly game sales report, including the three top spots. These sales were seemingly unaffected by the previous month, when a similar game in the same genre took two of the top 10 sales rankings spots, including the top spot. During the summer release doldrums, you’d think that such sales domination would merit blanket coverage in the gaming media — coverage of the sort seen for marquee releases like Halo 3 or Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

For one reason or another, though, the gaming press largely ignored top-sellers Madden NFL 09 and NCAA Football 09 this summer. For the most part, it focused instead on yet another fighting game sequel, a long-expected, arguably overhyped role-playing game and, of course, the upcoming holiday releases. The press’ cold shoulder for this year’s football releases is just the latest example of a consistent pattern of neglect that the big name publications routinely have for sports games. Despite better-than-healthy sales and a huge fan base, sports games, for some reason, can’t seem to get any respect from the gaming press.

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