7) Newbies are in trouble
There are few things more painful than introducing someone to a modern sports game. Handing a controller to a friend or family member who hasn’t played in the past few years is a recipe for frustration. Several years ago, the Wii had several sports titles geared toward newcomers that didn’t sell particularly well, and since then the pendulum has swung wildly in the other direction.
With rare exceptions like NHL 12’s old-school Sega controls, managing the action on the court or the field can be a challenge for casual fans and an impossibility for newbies. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve used more than 20% of the abilities of my coaching and individual player moves in NBA 2K12 despite an obscene amount of playing time. FIFA seems simple at first, until you see how you can adjust you team’s strategies, make multiple types of passes or shots, and move your player in multiple ways. Madden is even nuttier, from playcalling to pre-snap options and in-play jukes, trucks, and receiver adjustments.
Sales are still good for many of these games, but old-fashioned tutorials are needed to expand the market. While NBA 2K12 has a terrific one – even if I can’t remember what I’ve been taught at practice when I’m in an actual game – FIFA and Madden in particular would do well to explain how, exactly, their game really works.