It’s no secret that Sports games have been a huge staple in the gaming scene since the dawn of gaming. I mean, I remember as a kid playing PGA Tour on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System all the way back in 1992 and those games alone have come on leaps and bounds since then as I’m sure you can imagine.
Speaking of which, the newest PGA Tour game is actually REALLY good. Unfortunately we won’t be delving into that because in my opinion, the PGA tour games aren’t quite as popular as they once were. Today, you guessed it, we’re here to talk about the most popular sports games this year (2021) so if you folks are all settled in, let’s talk a bit about them.
As always we’ll begin with making a quick list of some of the most popular games and then we’ll break ‘em down one at a time;
- FIFA #CurrentYear
- Madden NFL #CurrentYear
- Rocket League
- NHL #CurrentYear
- Knockout City
There are probably some titles up here that you may not think I would put up here, I’d assume most of you would think I would just be listing off all the “major” sports games, so MLB and UFC in place of Rocket League and Knockout City, but that’s not the type of person I am, so..! We’re gonna go from bottom to top with the list so first we’re gonna talk about Knockout City!
5. Knockout City
SOME of you may not have heard about Knockout City, as with most sports games, Knockout City is published by EA Games. This was developed by Velan Studios and is essentially a high octane dodgeball game. It’s a super fun game whether you’re wanting to play it on a more competitive basis or whether you just want to jump in casually.
To the point where I actually queued competitively on my own, I haven’t been willing to solo queue in a ranked game mode for the longest time. Mechanically, there isn’t a tonne to learn, it won’t take you long to learn the basics but if you want to delve deeper there are more advanced techniques and ways to use the basic stuff.
NHL games are pretty standard when it comes to sports games, they may not be as big or as popular as some of the games above it in this list like FIFA or Madden, but there are still a pretty large amount of people that play it. Again published by EA and developed by EA Vancouver.
Over the years they have added more features that they have in the other games like Ultimate Team, Be a Pro etc. The games are fun, they’re very fast paced and one of the main things people love about them is the fighting. Have you ever watched a real hockey game? THEY GO HARD! When they throw hands it’s crazy and they did not emit that from the game.
It’s not the most intuitive system but it works. In terms of actual gameplay for the rest of the game, it has a bit of a steep learning curve compared to say, FIFA, where I feel like anybody can pick it up and play, but it is still a super fun game, I enjoy it a lot!
Incredible, fun, fast paced chaos. Rocket League. Source: RocketLeague.com
3. Rocket League
If I’m being 100% honest here, Rocket League is one of my favourite games of all time, I love it SO much, if I was being biased it would’ve been #1 on this list. But I know the masses don’t necessarily care about Rocket League as much as I do. So if you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll tell you what Rocket League is. It’s a physics based, driving game, where you play football/soccer with your car.
Rocket League is a game developed and published by Psyonix, now working with Epic Games, it is the successor to SARPBC (Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars) where they basically took the recipe of that game, refined it, polished it, and released it again. It was super popular at first because it was given away as a Playstation Plus game the day it was released, it has over 10 million players. You can fly, you can blow other players up, you can flip all over the place. It is incredible.
This game has one of the steeper learning curves I’ve ever experienced. For maybe the first week you play it, you’ll be chasing the ball around aimlessly. But when it clicks, it clicks. You’ll be demoing, making saves, scoring goals and it’ll feel amazing. If you want to take it further there are way more advanced techniques too, like air dribbling, flip resetting etc. It’s CRAZY! AND it’s free to play AND cross platform. Amazing!
2. Madden NFL
One of the reasons I put Madden NFL further up this list is purely because as a sport, I feel like the NFL is way more popular than NHL. But not as popular as PROPER football (soccer). While I’m not the biggest fan of American Football, I KNOW that it’s HUGE, there’s a massive following for it over here in the UK, I constantly see shows for NFL predictions and stuff like that, not only that but they also play NFL games over here at Wembley, or I guess Tottenham Hotspurs stadium now?
One or the other. This is another franchise that over the years has grown tremendously and I believe one of its keys to popularity is the fact that since it rolls around with the NFL season, it’s on a skewed release alongside all the other sports games that EA publishes. I’d delve more into this but outside of knowing it’s a super popular franchise, I don’t really know a lot about NFL so you’ll have to just take my word for it guys, truuuust me!
Screen capture from the new FIFA 22, featuring Kylian M’Bappe and Virgil Van Dijk. Source: EA.com
I feel like FIFA genuinely speaks for itself, the franchise has been HUGE since the early 90s, my first experience with it was World Cup 98, it was a super good game. It has had it’s issues over the years, it has had to fight off competition from Konami with Pro Evolution, but then Pro Evo faded from existence, then it made its comeback etc.
But FIFA has always been there, it spent a LOT of time growing, revolutionising the genre. They may have slowed down with their improvements, but they’re still the go to for football games, not to mention they make LITERALLY BILLIONS of freedom bucks from JUST Ultimate Team. I personally haven’t played a FIFA game for a couple of generations, but I do see so many people raving about it but also many people raging about it.
So that’s gonna do it for now, that’s what I would consider the top 5 most popular sports games today, we could’ve maybe put the UFC games in there? The Fight Night games used to be pretty popular but they haven’t really made one for a while, THOUGH IT IS RUMOURED TO BE COMING BACK! Do you play any of these games? What are your favourite sports games? Let us know!