In recent years, the sports video game market has largely been consolidated into annual releases from 2K and EA. This is something of a double-edged sword. It means that we do have consistent output, making incremental improvements on previous editions, with very few all-round poor games released under these banners.
However, the fact that we no longer see major sports game releases from the likes of Midway and Sega means both that the two big publishers are allowed to stagnate with a lack of competition and that even some major sports are left without video game representation of any real quality. With the recent sale of Codemasters to EA, we can also see the end for one of the few remaining rivals to the big boys from California.
Even the modern-day monopolies of sports games have shed weight. The relatively short run of EA Sports BIG yielded some interesting new takes on traditional sports as well as shining a light on more extreme sports, but has fallen by the wayside. 2K themselves have even dropped certain sports entirely, despite critical acclaim for the games themselves.
In this list of defunct developments, we look at the sports games series most missed by the fans.
10. Brian Lara Cricket
Brian Lara Cricket was a staple of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, with releases spanning from the Sega Mega Drive to the PSP. Endorsed by the titular Caribbean cricketer, who played as leading batsman in a formidable West Indies side, the Codemasters games were praised for their relative graphical sophistication, slick presentation and engaging gameplay. Some versions’ cover stars were localised, with the game also being released as Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting and Yuvraj Singh licenses in some countries.
There is now very little representation of cricket in games, with only four consoles releases from Australia’s Big Ant Studios across the last decade. With the cricket-mad nation of India set to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation in the next decade, and increasingly coming online as well as starting to buy games consoles in bigger numbers, it does seem there could be a lot of money to be made, should a studio be willing to take a gamble on the world’s second most popular sport.