This coming Tuesday, NHL 13 will be released in North America to many gamers hungry for some hockey action. But, unless you've been living under a rock, you know there may not be actual hockey action this season. Maybe you'd think that increases the chances for the video game version of hockey to be scarfed up in record numbers, but the previous lockout tells us that may not be the case.
Back during the 2005 lockout, the game sold 680,000 units, according to the video-game tracking site VGChartz. That included PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC. (Ah yes, the good old days before we even had PlayStation 3 and Xbox360 in our hands.) Back in 2005, the sales in Europe almost out-sold the sales in North America for the PS2 version. As OperationSports.com has noted, sales from 2004 to 2005 dropped 53% on the PS2, which was the far more popular system seven years ago. It wasn't a fun year, and although I remembering purchasing the game, it just wasn't the same without the real thing around.
I feel the same way heading into this season. Claude Giroux, an outstanding budding star, will be on the cover when the game hits the shelves on Tuesday. It's a dream come true for any Flyers fan, but it's something that seemed pretty exciting back in May or June. Now it's September, and things aren't so exciting anymore.
Last year, NHL sold a total of 1.09 million units between the PS3 and Xbox360 versions alone, even though the game had honestly appeared to have run its course with its current engine and mechanics.
One of the most exciting things about NHL 13 was the fact that the game had suddenly seemed like a new game. After last year, I was about ready to give up on the entire franchise (and maybe video gaming altogether) if the game hadn't changed this year. Seeing that I'm a lot less interested in video games at 22 than I was at 14 or 15, and it's easy to see why I might have given up altogether. That said, after playing the demo version, it looked like the game has truly changed, with the addition of more realistic skating mechanics and a deeper online mode where users can connect around the world with other players to have a 30-man franchise league known as "GM Connected."
Although it may sound like I'm writing an obituary for the game, it's more my thoughts about the current situation with the league. I hope the game does sell well, because it may be the only outlet for hockey fans this year.
For me personally, I think I will wait. I ended up not buying NBA 2K last year because of the lockout, and knowing that the league was about to suffer affected my decision greatly. A big problem is realism any video game, and if there are games cancelled, it's not going to be very realistic to play an 82-game season if the season is only 50 or 60 games or something along those lines. To others, NHL 13 will be a first-day purchase when it comes out. For others, it will be a wait-and-see attitude. Unfortunately, it's hard for me (and many share this sentiment) to get excited about hockey when there might not be a season at all.
Sources: VGChartz.com, OperationSports.com
Victor Filoromo is a featured contributor for Yahoo! and also contributes to PhuturePhillies.com, a Phillies' prospect blog. He grew up just outside of Philadelphia, and enjoys Philadelphia sports, media, and politics. You can follow him on Twitter @victorfiloromo.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- video game