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Video Game Predicts Kings Will Win Stanley Cup

Can Sports Video Games Predict the Outcome of Sporting Events?

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Los Angeles Kings fans like myself got some more good news this week, as the computers behind EA Sports' NHL 12 video game have gone through the upcoming Stanley Cup match-up between the Kings and the New Jersey Devils and picked the Kings to win the cup.

As a gamer relatively new to the whole world of sports video games, I'm constantly amazed at the level of realism featured in sports titles, especially games that are officially tied in at the league level with the NFL, MLB and NHL. The game-play has almost become secondary to the league, playoff and championship structure, along with the fantasy league-type statistics tracking. I do like the realism, but sometimes I prefer the more basic gaming without all the statistics and data.

For example, I just got a copy of EA Sports' FIFA Soccer 12 and half the experience is about leagues and teams, while the other half is the game play. It took me about 20 minutes just to go through all the league and team options to select and get the game set up to play. With the connectivity of today's gaming consoles and game titles, the games can update themselves, with new stats about each player and team updated constantly.

But can these games actually predict sporting events? With all that team and player data, all of which makes the game experience more fun and realistic, can it be used to predict and simulate games that haven't even happened yet. I think it's an interesting use of this gaming technology and I would like to see it used more on sports broadcasts. I would like to see some simulations of upcoming Los Angeles Dodgers games, and then compare them with the team's actual results.

Video game maker EA Sports thinks their titles can predict the outcome of games and releases their predictions of big sports events. The company recently announced their NHL 12 hockey title, or more specifically the "simulation engine" used by the game, has picked the Kings to win the Stanley Cup.

They use what they call their "NHL 12 simulation engine." According to the EA Sports press release, they use artificial intelligence that takes real data from each team, including player ratings and line combos, then they factor for things like injuries and hot streaks.

According to the video game computer simulations, the Kings will take the series in six games and even predicted the scores for each game. Game 1 will see the Kings win 4-2, Game 2 will see the Devils win 2-0. Game 3 also has the Kings losing, 2-1. The computer then picks the Kings to win the next three games, 2-0, 3-2 and seal the deal in Game 6, 3-1. Sounds great to me.

The EA Sports NHL simulation has been right before, it predicted the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks as the Stanley Cup champs of that year, and also nailed the 2011 Stanley Cup Final match-up along with going 13 for 15 for the 2011 playoff match-ups. But it's not always correct, in fact the same system predicted in April the Vancouver Canucks would defeat the Kings in the playoffs, but did correctly pick the Devils to beat the Florida Panthers.

Freddy Sherman is an old-school gamer who began his gaming in the 1980s with a Colecovision system and has been playing ever since. He's currently a Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Xbox 360 user. Aside from playing the games, he enjoys the technology and business side of video gaming. You can follow him on Twitter - @thefredsherman.

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