There’s a feeling that perhaps they’re falling from grace somewhat these days, but annual franchises are still big business. Everyone loves to have a good moan about them from time to time, but millions upon millions of us keep buying.
To be honest, there aren’t a huge number of them. But, year after year, the likes of Call of Duty, FIFA, Madden, and WWE 2K roll out like clockwork. They are a conveyor belt of content built to a finely-tuned formula destined to be lapped up by fans of the franchise. Some players will dip in every now and then to see what’s changed, while others will religiously pick up every outing each and every year.
It sometimes feels like the publishers are just printing their annual paycheck with these franchises, getting too concerned with how much they can reliably make, which then stifles their creative improvements on a series. As they seem to fear that if they change anything and move outside their comfort area then the annual purchaser fans will not pick up a copy and that almost guaranteed paycheck for the next years player roster wont come in.
NBA 2K20 has just been announced and is the only basketball game available that has the NBA players. The fans of the series and of basketball seem to be sick of the lack lustre improvements that each year brings with it. But worse still is that 2K Games seem well aware of their trapped audience, knowing the numbers keep returning year on year to scoop up their latest player roster version of the game. Last year's NBA 2K19 included 30 second unskippable adverts and micro transactions to speed up in game career building.
But what brings us back to these annually released games year after year, often when little has obviously changed? Which franchises are solid and safe, constantly trying to innovate while maintaining their credibility with their die hard fans, and which franchises will strip the soul out of a series to cash in on their trapped audience? Share your thoughts below
Our first poll is looking at which annual release franchise (or nearly annual release) are you most likely to pick up every time a new version of the game comes out.
Our second poll is looking at how frequently we are likely to buy a game from a series we are invested in.