AEW officially announced, among other things, their long-awaited console video game on a YouTube live stream hosted by Kenny Omega. If you haven’t watched that, be sure to check out all the information here.
This announcement is something that fans of wrestling games, myself included, have been looking forward to for some time as we all knew it was coming eventually. It’s something that has be in high demand for a couple of reasons including the basic enjoyment of extra content.
One of the slightly bigger reasons though is the reception of WWE 2K20, the 8th instalment of the WWE 2K series. The game itself was incredibly hyped after the success of 2K19 but upon release the game had a lot of problems.
From crashing servers, to completely restarting the entire console, it prompted fans to take to social media and the company itself to demand refunds. It has now went down as one of the biggest flops in gaming history and if you were one of the poor saps like me who shelled out £130 for the Collector’s Edition that arrived with missing items or unsigned photographs, you were justifiably feeling let down.
With AEW announcing that none other than industry mega-brand Yukes would be developing it, directed by the man behind fan favourite game No Mercy: Hideyuki Iwashita, this could lead to a major power shift with a market that has been long dominated by WWE.
The reason for this is that wrestling games have only ever had one main company as their source material. There are other, lesser known games such as TNA: IMPACT! and the Fire Pro Wrestling series but they have more of a cult-following compared to WWE’s games.
AEW’s console game however could change that. If they produce a perfect condition enjoyable game, they could prove themselves a major player in the gaming industry. WWE have had no real competition for a long time with their games and the timing could not be better following the blunder that was 2K20 and the children-focused Battlegrounds.
It’s a comparison often made between the two companies in real life with AEW being the slightly edgier, 18-49 demographic leading company and WWE being the cheesier PG product it is today. That is simplifying it for sure as there is something for everyone in both companies but that is the common divide between fans.
This is something that happens a lot in the gaming industry. A good example is Call of Duty. COD was THE war game for years and pretty much everyone’s go to game if they fancied some FPS warfare. But then came Battlefield. Their first couple of games didn’t come close to even touch COD but when Activision brought some divisive titles such as Advanced and Infinite Warfare, Battlefield took advantage with acclaimed titles such as Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1 (yes, in that order).
Now while Battlefield still didn’t overtake COD as the Number 1 war game out there, the sheer thought that they could forced Activision to rethink what they were doing and from the ashes of the aforementioned titles came possibly the biggest game of the current and next generation, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.
AEW can do the same thing with wrestling games. If they raise the standard, WWE will be in a sink or swim situation where they will either need to step up and make some major improvements which can be done by listening to fan demands for popular modes, features, and a major overhaul of the control scheme, or AEW may just become the new number one wrestling game.