I have a keen interest in how we get to represent sporting events in ways other than just TV coverage. This years world cup is already showing a little of what can be done once the rights have been agreed. Rights management, just as in the music industry is a huge business. Of all things it is the thing stifling the explosion in creativity that could be had with all the data and feeds of information from live sports. Something I was hoping would be a bit more open for the 2012 olympics but it looks not to be the case. Though there is time and hope.
EASports are one of the biggest sport game producers with lots of franchise lock-ins including football(soccer). So it was natural that this years world cup got the usual treatment of a branded game.
2010 FIFA World Cup (Xbox 360)
I am not a massive football fan but these large tournaments and getting behind the countries team does reach me and I also usually end up with a game of the tournament. Given they are every 4 years the world cup ones help set a timing on what a platform of console is up to at that point in time.
France 98 for instance was the same as my first year working at Wimbledon. It was the out of hours game of choice, played in the UK house we rented and played on my Nintendo 64 that I took up for the fortnight.
This year my world cup game is on the Xbox360 and hooked up to the net. There are all sorts of interesting features but the one I wanted to see how it felt and worked is operational now during the actual tournament.
The option is hidden away in the “Story of Qualifying” section. Here there are recreating crunch moments and scenarios that have happened in the actual tournament (and in the lead up). It becomes a playable news feed. You pick a scenario and then dive in and try and beat the odds or change history.
This is a nice feature and there are a few scenarios in there but I really wish it went further. The scenario is just a set initial start conditions and some special win conditions e.g. score 2 more goals. However with an engine as powerful as the game has it would be fantastic to be able to watch the entire match, or its highlights in the replay editor.
There is of course a small problem of getting the accuracy not only of where the player was but where there arms and legs are for fidelity of replay, however it has been done before to some extent.
Looking at the sort of thing NASCAR does with raceview much of the sports coverage is quite behind the times.
If you take Formula1 the pinnacle of motorsports, we have a timing feed application on web and mobile to watch and a text based commentary, or the TV. We have a visually rich console/PC game from Codemasters, but that is not out until towards the end of the season in September. I hope that in a few years time all this gets in synch and by next world cup we will be able to enjoy it in a host of other interesting ways.
***Update I just bumped into this article on engadget about EPSN just getting on and doing innovative things with sports coverage.