Best video game franchises based on sports
Jun 6, 2023
Sports share many similarities with video games. Both industries aim to entertain, and both sectors make billions of dollars. Most importantly, they share fans, especially where sports video games are involved.
Another way gaming is connected to sports is through esports. Esports has leagues, franchises, pro gamers, and fans—just like any traditional sport. It’s no wonder many known sports franchises also became big in video gaming.
If you like soccer, FIFA needs no introduction. According to EA Sports, the FIFA video game series has sold more than 260 million copies since its introduction in 1993, making it the most popular sports video game franchise.
After terminating its contract with FIFA, EA Sports will no longer create FIFA video games. Electronic Arts says it is working on a new soccer-themed video game. But it will have a different name—EA Sports FC. FIFA plans to work with independent studios to create FIFA-branded video games starting in 2024.
In the meantime, players can play FIFA 23 on their favorite console or PC. Players can also watch and bet on competitive FIFA 23 tournaments, but it’s recommended to stay informed about how to bet on sports safely and successfully.
Madden Football is EA Sport’s biggest video game franchise after FIFA. The game franchise has sold over 130 million copies since its release in 1998. Interestingly, Madden was never EA’s first choice for a brand ambassador.
EA first approached Joe Montana to be the face of Madden NFL. The legendary footballer declined the offer because he had a contract with a different publisher. EA then approached Madden. The legendary coach agreed to work with EA Sports only if it created an 11 vs. 11 video game, not a 7-on-7 game as EA initially planned.
As time proved, Madden football was a successful investment for everyone involved. Madden signed a $150M contract with EA in 2005 authorizing the publisher to use his image and likeness forever. On the other hand, EA makes $600 million from the video game every year.
NBA 2K by 2K Sports
Contrary to popular belief, basketball isn’t just popular in the US. It’s a global sport with millions of fans in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. It’s much more popular than American football. Additionally, NBA 2K has a gigantic fan base of 2M+ fans. These fans have purchased over 120 million copies of the NBA 2K video game since its inception in 1998.
Similar to Madden Football and FIFA, NBA 2K is a popular esports game. Many NBA players have Twitch accounts through which they stream NBA content to their fans. Beyond professional athletes, NBA 2K has dedicated pro gamers who represent different esports franchises.
Gran Turismo is one of PlayStation’s best video games ever. It sets the bar for racing games so high that no racing simulation rivals its quality. From the graphics to the tracks, everything about GT screams pure entertainment.
Unsurprisingly, fans love Gran Turismo. The game has sold 80M+ copies in the past two decades. This all boils down to how it works. It’s a beautiful, realistic racing game with high-end cars and iconic racetracks.
Another benefit of GT is that it doesn’t just feature amazing cars. The driving mechanics are also impeccable. Cars in this video game handle with flair. It creates a feeling of driving a real car, whether it’s the iconic Lamborghini Murcielago or a new Ford Mustang GT.
WWE 2K used to be one of the most popular sports video games in the world. But after suffering a dip in quality for several years, some fans seem ready to give up on the franchise.
That isn’t to say no one wants to play WWE 2K anymore. The game has millions of fans from all over the world. Many of these fans also feel that 2K did a better job in WWE 2K22 than it did in 2020. In other words, the game has a bright future if the publisher continues to work on the game’s quality issues. All fans want is a game with wrestlers who look realistic, wrestling moves that feel real and excellent controls.
The WWE Universe has always been loyal to the brand. They watch matches religiously. They attend every major event and purchase copies of WWE 2K every year. As such, they feel they deserve to play a good quality, exciting game.
MLB the Show
MLB The Show is baseball’s most popular video game. This year’s edition of the franchise offers a blend of realism, intuitive controls, and an overview of playing Major League Baseball.
Developed by San Diego Studio, MLB the Show competes with technology. This is after 2K Sports, its biggest competitor, stopped releasing its baseball video game in 2013.
With no major competitors, you would expect that San Diego Studio would drop the ball in quality. Quite the contrary, the publisher is continuously improving this franchise, especially in the features department.
eFootball by Konami
Having sold over 100M copies in the last two decades, eFootball is an incredibly popular franchise. It used to be called Pro Evolution Soccer before it rebranded to its current name.
Also, it once had Lionel Messi as the cover of its franchise, one of the reasons it got so popular. Depending on who you ask, eFootball is more entertaining than the FIFA football franchise.
The only reason this video game isn’t more popular than FIFA is due to its licensing deals.
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