Why Peeks at Sports Games' Next Generation are Usually Underwhelming

Yesterday, 2K Sports and EA Sports released looks at NBA 2K14 and Madden NFL 25 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. At best, both are whelming—maybe not under-, certainly not over- . Madden, however did show a little more.

Still, here's why these teasers leave me cold: They may be showing actual gameplay footage but it's never from an angle you use in the game. Because that angle, frankly, is boring, and zoomed out, and very hard to understand out of context.


For Madden, things like more complex lighting, super-high fidelity rendering of crowds, textures, individual grass blades and whatever, and translucent skin (really?) is all great, but those are qualities more affecting a game you watch more than a game you play. I'm sure when it's on my screen in November, in high-definition, it'll be impressive and immersive and a raft of other -ives. But do uncompressed, truer animations mean I can key in a spin move faster than current-generation's notoriously elaborate, late motion? That's what I'd prefer to know right now.

NBA 2K14's trailer is shorter and shows even less and, true to 2K Sports' m.o. leaves it on you to figure out just what is so different based on just a glimpse. All I can get from it is that the players look a lot truer to life (James Harden in particular) which will be key for a sport whose stars are so physically recognizable.

But again, these two videos' debut were hyped well in advance of their release, and I'm no more informed of or enthusiastic for their features than I was before.

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This image is on the frontpage of NFL.com right now. If that's the closest we can get to rendering Kaepernick on this generation, the next generation is more than welcome.