The Sports Desk – Mixing Sports Video Games & Politics

by Matthew Kato on Oct 23, 2017 at 03:00 PM

Sports and politics are uneasy bedfellows these days, with fans arguing whether or not players should or should not express their political views. Should this be reflected in sports video games?

Video games are as pure fantasy as they come. From taking a rookie to the big leagues to being the GM that assembles a dynasty for the ages, playing sports video games is definitely all about living a carefully constructed dream. But in the name of realism it can be argued that players' political opinions could be important to some modes. Your decision as a GM to hire/fire certain players could shakeup the roster or affect the lockerroom. As a player, do you stick your neck out to express your convictions and deal with the fallout – positive and/or negative – from fans and management, or keep silent? For years some sports gamers have wanted off-the-field behavior like missing meetings or bring arrested to impact their franchises. Games like NHL, Football Manager, and FIFA already have morale, can't this be added into the mix? Furthermore, as story-based modes in sports games continue, both a lack of player agency and topical content related to politics within those modes could become conspicuous.

While there are opportunities in this realm that make sense for sports video games, I also believe that it has zero chance of being integrated by developers and publishers. Too much money is being made doing what's already been done for companies to rock the boat for this topic. EA Sports has already referenced Colin Kaepernick's protest in the audio commentary in Madden 17, but what I'm talking about goes beyond that.

Many people simply don't want politics in their sports, but in a medium where realism is demanded in a variety of ways, developers should at least consider all features that allow them to more accurately represent their sports, so the question is definitely worth asking.

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Madden NFL 18 
NASCAR Heat 2 
NHL 18 
Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 
FIFA 18 
NBA 2K18 
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Project Cars 2 
Forza Motorsport 7 
NBA 2K18 (Switch) 
FIFA 18 (Switch) (shown)
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A quick rundown of some of the sports news from the week

2K Predicts The NBA Season 

F1 2017 Update Adds Updated Liveries, Photo Mode & More 

Football Manager 2018 New Features 
The dev team at Sports Interactive has been rolling out videos going over the November 10th title's new features. Dig in.