Star in video games. No holding out of the NBA Players Union or basketball video games due to having your own license. I grew up idolizing Jordan, but was disappointed when I could not play with him in multiple iterations of basketball video games. While MJ popped in and out of editions of NBA Live, NBA Street, and let’s not forget, Space Jam (the video game), LeBron has consistently remained in every NBA-licensed basketball title released during his young and blossoming-by-the-minute career. Thanks, LeBron. Oh and thank you for this as well:
Tag Archives: 2k sports
Probably not, but it sure will be fun! I can’t help but think Bud Selig is cringing at the thought of the imminent release of 2K Sports’ The BIGS 2. Check that. I doubt Bud Selig has played anything past Pong. Ping Pong. It’s safe to say however, that 2K has left out steroid testing in its upcoming sequel.
In all seriousness, I find it hard to believe that Major League Baseball is comfortable with supporting the marketing efforts of TB2. Don’t get me wrong, the series itself is a blast to play, and I am already mentally preparing myself for some intense office battles. But as MLB makes every move possible to distance itself and its image away from the tainted steroid era, a game that features player models that make Barry Bonds look like a beanpole can’t be helpful in conquering the asterisk.
When most people review sports games, much of the focus seems to be on controls, graphics, value, sound, etc. (and rightfully so). There is one aspect – which can be included under “sound”- that deserves more attention than it gets: in-game soundtracks.
Sure, the soundtrack to any game is important. In sports games, the in-game soundtrack plays an especially pivotal role in creating that ideal fan “environment” that us armchair quarterbacks desire. For the most part, today’s sport games do a fantastic job in aligning certain genres of music with different sport franchises. Madden typically features “hip-hop” and “alternative rock” artists. Fifa has a more eclectic, techno-fueled collection of artists. The NBA Live and 2K series each respectively feature a more urban collection of artists from the rap genre. All of these games match the in-game soundtrack with the energy of the sport, which in-turn helps enhance the fan experience of and interaction with the game itself
EA Trax really got the ball rolling in 2001, when EA recognized the potential in featuring up-and-coming artists in games. By being featured in such games, music artists have the opportunity to get exposure in a medium outside of traditional music promotional vehicles (radio, concert circuits, television). While radio and television might be crowded with competition, artists featured in the EA Trax program and other in-game soundtracks can reach millions of listeners and further extend their own brands by aligning with those in the sports video game industry. Cross-promotion FTW!
Today, consumers also have the opportunity to include their own music selections through custom in-game soundtracks. While I am extremely excited to have the entire Boston Red Sox lineup come up to bat to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” in MLB 09: The Show, I still prefer having the publisher of a game provide a collection of artists for me to listen to while playing. I guess as a marketing guy, I enjoy seeing what artists are chosen to help represent each franchise’s brand. As a music fan, I am also interested in being exposed to artists I might not be otherwise.
So to wrap things up, here is a list of my top 3 in-game soundtracks in sports video games:
3. Madden 2004
Notable standouts: Bubba Sparxxx -“Back in the Mud”, Outkast – “Church”, Yellowcard – “Way Away”
Okay, so I’m no music critic. And Bubba Sparxxx is not one of my favorite artists. But this song just worked on what was an excellent overall mix of hip-hop, alternative, and do i dare say, “emo”artists. Yea, I love me some hip-hop, but I am also sensitive.
2. NBA 2K9
Notable Standouts: The Cool Kids – “2K Pennies”, Beastie Boys – “Root Down”, N.E.R.D. – “Spaz”
Yeah it’s very contemporary and perhaps I should have gone “old school” and cite the awesome NBA JAM TE midi-inspired soundtrack. 2K9 features a collection of artists new and old here, a soundtrack I now use when warming up for my own pick-up basketball games. And you got to love The Cool Kids title track.
1. SSX 3
Notable Standouts: Thrice – “Stare at The Sun”, N.E.R.D. – “Rock Star (Nevins Club Blaster Edit)”, Fatboy Slim – “Don’t Let The Man Get You Down”
What??? As a huge Fifa fan, you might wonder how I could put together a top 3 without including any Fifa soundtrack. The fact is, I have never enjoyed listening to a licensed song in a game as much as I have since playing SSX3 a few years back. Shredding down a hill listening to Thrice’s “Stare at the Sun” made me actually feel like I was an awesome snowboarder. I’m not. But thanks to EA Big (R.I.P), I was able to pretend!
Honorable Mentions: Every Fifa Soundtrack. Honestly, overall Fifa is probably the most consistent in putting together a great range of artists to match the sport of soccer (or “football” as us footies like to call it). Even before EA Trax was started up, I loved opening the ’98 World Cup Edition to Blur’s “Song 2”. Wooooo-hoooo!
That’s all for now folks. As always, if you’ve enjoyed this article, spread the word.
This is a topic I have been meaning to write about for a while. As revenue models are changing throughout all industries, in particular, the video game industry seems to be very successful at finding new ways to generate the dough. The rise of DLC and microtransactions signals that companies are aware that no longer does the opportunity for increased revenue stop when a a product goes gold and is shipped out. Similarly, with the surge in popularity of online gaming on consoles, it has become easy for a company to release new content for purchase (and even easier for consumers to download).
While I am torn in my feelings on “DLC” and “microtransactions” (from a business perspective, it is genius.. from a consumer perspective, why should I pay for something that should have been included in the original game or released for free in a patch), one form of revenue that I am not opposed to is in-game advertising. Sure, if I am playing Fallout 3, I might not want to see a blown-up “Pepsi” machine as I am trying to take down some Super Mutants in the D.C. area. But in-game advertising is effective in other genres, and in particular, in sports video games.
Do I mind seeing a replay in Madden brought to me by “Subway $5 footlongs” (mmm. Subway…I digress). Absolutely not! If I were watching an NFL game on TV, I would be expecting to see sponsors everywhere. On billboards, on the field signage, before commercial breaks.. hell, I wouldn’t be shocked if Mr. Ocho Cinco himself chomped down on a footlong after scoring a touchdown (if he ever gets into the endzone again).. the point is advertising is everywhere in professional sports. The fact that it is now included in sports video games only makes the sports video gaming experience that much more authentic.
If I am playing Fifa, I love seeing signage along the borders of the field. Similarly, seeing “NBA – Where Amazing Happens” along the benches of players in NBA 2K9 (shout out to NBA Creative Services!) is nothing short of the experience I expect from watching the game on television or attending it live. In-game advertising just works. In addition, it is a great way for sponsors to become aligned both with sports brands and video game brands. See, everybody wins!
As much as President Obama (don’t worry, I am not going to get political.. although one of my life goals is to get into a pickup game with the Presidential baller) continually tells parents to “have children put down the video games”, even he recognized the potential in in-game advertising. If you played Burnout Paradise during Obama’s campaign, you probably sped down the highway and caught a glimpse of Barack on a billboard or two.
So, in conclusion… keep the ads coming. They are effective in many ways. And now I am going to go grab some Subway (rough economy, $5 is a great deal).
On my days off from interning, I have a lot of spare time to game (We game in my office as well, so who am I kidding.) This is a good thing, because I can’t think of another time where there have many so many new releases worth playing. Usually, I buy one game, and pump 50 or so hours into it without touching anything else (Call of Duty 4 basically remained in my system without being ejected for 6 months). I’ll take the occasional break for a session of Madden or Fifa, but I like to really get into one game at a time.
Not the case recently. I guess starting in the Fall of ’08, I have found it impossible to limit my playing time to 1 game. Perhaps we are in the midst of a renaissance in gaming. Perhaps I need to get a job even faster now so I can afford all this gaming goodness. In any event, here are some games I have been playing and ones I look forward to (but my wallet doesn’t):
Currently in My Systems:
NBA 2K9 – I’ll always have a soft spot for NBA video games (I used to intern at the NBA), but being able to upload a replay of my Kobe buzzer-beater the other day as well as some intense matches in my office make this a great play right now.
Fifa 09 – Every year I am more impressed with the Fifa series. I will be playing a lot more of this now since I got my copy for 360, but more for the fact that Champions League has resumed.. Go Man U!
Call of Duty: World at War – After I held out of this title because I didn’t like the decision to move back to WWII, I’ve caved in and ordered it. There are simply too many friends on Live who are playing and enjoying it to ignore it any longer.
Street Fighter IV – I have yet to receive my copy (thanks Gamefly), but I am eagerly looking forward to taking it back to my childhood with some Ryu vs. Ken action.
What I am Anticipating:
MLB 09: The Show – Loved last year’s edition. I would buy it simply for the roster update, but the trash talk feature has me very excited for this year’s edition.
Halo Wars – Not a RTS fan, but loved the demo. Seems Like the multiplayer could be a lot of fun.
KILLZONE 2 – Oh how I have waited for you… No explanation necessary.
LittleBigPlanet – I come back to this title here and there just to see how the community levels have improved. Need more incentive to keep playing though.
Socom: Confrontation – Please fix this game. I love playing with my clan, but hate the lag.
Well, that’s all for now. Big thanks to the N4G Community for approving my news story about the site and driving a lot of traffic to it yesterday.