Football video games today aren’t receiving the love of older titles

Video gaming is a pastime that is adored by many around the world. Sports gaming is a popular subgenre of the gaming ecosystem as a whole. But for some reason, the world of football (or soccer) gaming has fallen into a rut. While other forms of video gaming are reaching their peak, football games are arguably in decline for a number of reasons, such as the ones laid out here.

Complicated Controls 

Despite all of the advancements in video games over recent years, lists of the best football games of all-time tend to favor games from the distant past more than recent editions of some of the most popular games in the world. A big reason for this is the simplicity of the controls that previous editions of these games had to offer. 

While current games allow players to make more precise moves with and without the ball, the extreme precision required to pull off some of these maneuvers can be daunting to say the least. These complex controls, while appreciated by many gamers, leave some longing for the days where a controller only had a few buttons to choose from and a directional pad. 

Licensing Issues 

As video games have evolved, so have the ways in which football clubs have looked to make money from them. This is understandable, given that their images, logos, and likenesses are being used throughout each game. But that quest to make a few extra bucks can often get in the way of the gaming experience in subtle ways that can irk players. 

The best example of this is the ongoing battle between football video game franchises FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer. While EA Sports’ FIFA is generally the more popular of the two brands, Pro Evo has its devoted fans as well. That has led to both games purchasing the rights to certain clubs and competitions, making it so the names of those entities can only be used in one game and not the other. 

The most recent example of this was Pro Evo buying the rights to use Juventus’ club information across its game exclusively. That move forced FIFA to rename the team as Piemonte Calcio in their game, with one of the most recognizable teams in all of sport having their name and logo replaced by something thought up in the EA Sports studios. While there were plenty of examples of licensing issues in older video games, those games didn’t promise the same levels of realism as today’s titles do. 

Complicated controls have turned some off of football gaming

Photo by Borja Lopez / License

Overly Competitive Gameplay 

The sports games of old that were revered as the best of all-time typically have one thing in common aside from the sport being depicted: they usually pre-date the era of online gameplay. This is because online play and the rise of eSports have made games like FIFA difficult to play in an online multiplayer setting due to players taking the action too seriously. 

While the players in the FIFA eWorld Cup have every reason to treat the game as if their livelihood is on the line, the seriousness with which some players take multiplayer competition can take the fun out of sports gaming today. Compare that to many of the most favorably remembered titles in football gaming history, where multiplayer competition required a player to invite a friend over to play, and it makes sense why the older games would be remembered in a more positive light. 

Watching these gaming pros compete is a great way to improve your own football gaming skills. But that doesn’t mean that players want their opponents to have the same cutthroat attitude when they are looking to have some fun of their own. 

Lack Of Innovation 

This is not a knock on the current producers of football video games, but one of the biggest problems with football gaming today is the fact that there aren’t many more progressions that can be achieved in the industry. When video games used to be released, there was a palpable excitement as to what new gameplay features would be released, especially in older titles. 

Today, gaming giants like EA Sports have already done such a good job with making their games feel more intuitive and introducing compelling game modes in previous versions. They have created a situation where they may make a subtle change to a game mode or add an additional control to a game, but that isn’t usually enough to create a buzz. 

Overall, football video games have increased in quality exponentially from where they first started. But for several reasons, some players do still prefer the classic games in the genre to the latest and greatest. 


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