The kind of person reading this website probably thinks E3 is for you, the F5ing obsessive keen for Cyberpunk and The Last Of Us Part II, but for millions of fans around the world it’s about little more than the first good look at the only game they’ll be playing seriously for the next 12 months.
So while it’s common for the hardcore narrative around E3 to deride sports games’ presence (above is a typical example), or even to just plain ignore them altogether, the fact remains these games are super important and sell millions of copies every year.
As someone who plays and enjoys a load of these series, it’s easy amidst the big blockbusters for sports games to pass you by at E3, which is why I’ve enjoyed circling back around tonight and checking out what I missed while covering games like Anthem, Spider-Man and Halo.
First up is FIFA 19's E3 trailer, which showcases the series’ new Champions League branding and which may prove to be a death sentence for Konami’s fledgling competitor, PES.
Next is Madden 19, with a seemingly pointless clip that does nothing but remind us that, like death and taxes, Madden is coming to 2018. A lot of new info was revealed in a blog post in the week before E3; it would have been nice to see some of that actually spelled out here.
Then again, given sports gaming’s reputation at the show, maybe EA are just saving all that for a day away from E3's spotlights.
Another sports game with an E3 trailer is FIFA’s competitor PES. I admire the way it’s made almost entirely from actual gameplay footage, but advertising the fact you’ve got the license for the Scottish Premiership and Eredivisie only serves to highlight the fact you don’t have the license for the Premier League or Bundesliga.
Back to EA now, with NBA Live 19's trailer. With NBA 2K’s various missteps last year, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what EA can do here; their on-court offering may not be a match for their more popular competitor, but if they can simply offer a less bullshitty product than 2K19—especially whe it comes to the singleplayer campaign—it might be worth a look.
And finally, we have Hyper Sports R, shown for the first time by Konami. It’s probably more of a party game than a sports title, but it’s literally got SPORTS in the title, so I figured I’d better include it here:
It’s OK, sports games. E3 may not be the best place for you, but you came, you showed some stuff, and those of us who were looking forward to it got something out of it.
But sometimes I wonder whether the genre—or at least a giant like EA Sports—might be better served carving out its own space, away from the guns and spaceships and zombies and cartoon characters.