Community Round Table: Where do MLB The Show 19 and Out of the Park Baseball 20 Fit in Your Gaming Schedule?

Let us hear your thoughts about this Round Table topic! This week we saw the release of MLB The Show 19, and last week, Out of the Park 20 was released. Our community here plays both games heavily, and for most people, there are pros and cons for each title. Where does the community stand on these two titles? Which is your favorite? Do you play both? Are these games competitors? Mike Lowe: I enjoy both games, but this is the first year I’m strongly considering passing on The Show. This has nothing to do with anything other than I’m simply finding myself gaming less and less these days. I still immensely enjoy being around the sports gaming community, and if I pass on the Show this year, I’ll still do my best to help folks with slider questions, but I just don’t enjoy spending my time inside of these console games as much as I used to. I’m getting old! With that said, the game I definitely will continue to play is OOTP Baseball. The league we have here at SSG, which has been running on a daily, real-time schedule since the start of the 2015 season, has been the most enjoyable gaming experience I’ve ever had. That’s due to the community of great people we have here, and also a testament to the OOTP Baseball game itself. I’ve been playing this series since OOTP 3, and it’s remarkable what Markus, Matt, and the others at OOTP Developments have been able to do with this game over the years; It’s growth has been tremendous the past 2 years, especially. The game is truly fantastic, and if you’re a fan of baseball and you haven’t tried this game out yet, go and immediately purchase it–you will not regret it. Justin Jones: I agree Mike, I think this will be the first year since Mauer became the face of “The Show” years ago that I’ll be skipping. I enjoy the game and the grind via diamond dynasty maybe the most rewarding since they have a leaderboard. I love that DD has live updates to player cards, that makes that mode SO much better because you can invest in cheap cards that get better and better as the year goes on. But with all the server issues they’ve had and how much they continue to do with DD vs the other modes, I just don’t find the game as rewarding as I did years ago. With a family and kids and sports, my time is limited and one of the things I decided to cut out on was single player grind fests like HUT, MUT and DD. I can sink hours into that mode without accomplishing anything or playing a game because I’m just buying and trading cards. I’m sure as the season continues and coaching baseball myself, the lure of the game will grab me sooner or later, but I don’t think I’ll be the first to the shelf. OOTP and “text sim sports” have always been a love and a passion for me. Being that “GM mode” thing where playing skill doesn’t matter is a huge draw to me. I got started in online text sim sports back in the day with FHL (Fantasy Hockey League) and a chat group called FSZ (Fantasy Sports Zone) that used mIRC which shows you how old it was. I loved how we could burn thru three seasons a year we would have prospect drafts, free agency being managed by salary caps. You could have players improve or regress based upon their age and performance and had the ability to “re-rate” players based upon their real life performance. Made the game very challenging and anyone could win at any time. Was a great social environment and really in my opinion theses text sim franchises created the building blocks for things like NCAA Dynasty mode, Madden CFMs and 2K leagues. Those games combine that GM experience with playing skill while the text sims you can play and have fun at any age or skill level Mike Dieker: I have not missed a show game since 06-07ish. I’m also on the fence about it. The OS community has improved that experience for me with the minor league rosters. Ive become more frustrated with the franchise mode and have dabbled in RTTS but never really took hold to me like franchise. With the emphasis continuing towards Diamond Dynasty and RTTS, with nothing being done with franchise mode I won’t be back until its overhauled. Pains me to say that. I have never had a pc to game on so I have never done OOTP, but would love to try it. Is the baseball manager on IOS somewhat similar? As I continue to age, I’m more compelled to play MVP Baseball 05 and Madden 05-06 than I am new entries in these series. Yea I don’t have the current players but those were peak years for franchise modes Jason Peralta: I thought about passing on MLB the Show this year, especially since they seem to overlook Franchise mode every year but they sold me on March to October. While I don’t like they have injuries turned off, I appreciate that I can get through a season and still feel involved. With a wife and kids, it’s tough to commit time to 162 games just to get through one season. Also, finally having contract extensions and realistic contracts is a plus. I mean, this should’ve been done years ago but it’s nice to see that they actually including in this year’s game. I’ve never played OOTP but I’ve heard good things about it I’ve always been more of console player. Justin Jones: Yeah the RTTS grind has always worn me down, I hate that in some games the loading screens take longer than the actual games themselves because you either get one at bat or don’t see playing time. I generally had to be a SP so I could skip 80% of the games and I tried to make two starts so I could burn seasons faster. Mike Lowe: I think I’m the only person who loved the fictional players in Diamond Dynasty a long time ago. I’d love to at least have a section for a “fictional only” league or something like that. I loved the fictional guys because there were no duplicates. I wish Diamond Dynasty could be setup as a private league with card filters, so sort of like the Events the game has, but ones that a commissioner could oversee. Private leagues of say 12 teams with a 10-game schedule or something like that.
I just don’t enjoy how true role-players are removed from modes like DD. When you have Ken Griffey Jr. on your bench as a “role-player,” there’s something wrong with that.
As for OOTP and The Show, it’s just difficult for me to take The Show’s franchise mode seriously when I have OOTP to compare it to. I don’t even think The Show franchise mode is all that bad (it has lacked in evolution), but when you compare it to OOTP, it’s just hard for The Show’s franchise mode to keep my attention. When you accomplish something in OOTP–especially in an online league–it REALLY feels like you worked for it. And for those who haven’t checked out OOTP, goodness please do. It’s a beautiful game. Some of the early impressions of MLB The Show ’19 are saying the game looks and plays great, but is very similar to 18. To me, that isn’t such a bad thing. OOTP 20 was receiving similar feedback from folks I was reading. But when a game already has such a strong core to work from, are folks really expecting massive changes year-to-year? That has to be tough for a studio to balance. Justin Jones: Agreed, Studios always need to balance with what works and what they want to fix. A bulk of the code never changes from year to year, they refine animations, tweak modes, change visuals but a lot of what’s there stays the same. All because the game changes from 18-19 doesn’t mean it’s a new game. The framework is the same as previous years, they just try to do enough to make it a little bit better or improve experience in a certain mode. Some gamers joke that sports games are the same thing every year with updated rosters, and really they are not far off. That’s why you see so many patches in games now a days so no matter what, at least they have the ability to fully prevent a broken game. Mike Lowe: Many have said this before me, but I’m surprised sports games haven’t gone the road of the annual subscription. I think people just like the shiny new box. For me, I’ve been 100% digital download for the past few years. Would never go back. Justin Jones: EA Access is the gateway to that service, I can see them splitting that in the future to a EA Sports access and EA access with the amount that they have expanded their platforms. Obviously mircosofts game pass also opens that door to a digital service. The possibility is really endless with the movement to new hardware coming in the next two years but with the internet capabilities in most of the rural areas it’ll be tough for pure digital platforms to take off and games are getting bigger and bigger. Mike Lowe: Going back to part of the original question, are OOTP and MLB The Show competitors at this point? (edited) Jason Peralta: I personally think that MLB the Show doesnt have any competitors right now. I wish they did, maybe that would light a fire in them to stop being so conservative. Past couple of seasons, it just seems they’re making minor tweaks to the game ( if it broke don’t fix it) approach. OOTP I believe markets to hardcore franchise enthusiasts that want to control all aspects of owning a team. Prior to joining SSG, I’ve never heard of OOTP. It feels like The Show knows they’re the only show in town and have no need to make any major improvements since gamers don’t really have anything to compare it to. (edited) Justin Jones: I’d agree with Jason, while they sell a similar product, I feel that it markets to a completely different market. The Show is a console exclusive franchise and thus continues to target their market audience and that’s by planning everything in the game around playability. OOTP is a PC based game so it has its own market away from the Show is completely goes away from playing skill and focuses directly on the finer points and broad scope of running a team and the day to day activities. I viewed NFL Head Coach and Madden two be almost two separately marketed games back in the day and I view OOTP and the show the same way. They are both offering the same product but one is weighted on gameplay while the other is weighted on simulation.   Which is your favorite? Do you play both? Are these games competitors? Let us hear your thoughts about this Round Table topic!