Why Fantasy Draft Games are Changing the Gaming Industry

Millennial Magazine - fantasy draft games

Fantasy sport in North America has experienced an incredible boom over the last decade, with over 60 million players in the continent alone. Although the NBA, MLB and NHL all attract a vast player base, it is NFL that reigns supreme in the US, with 80 percent of players opting to draft a football franchise. The history of fantasy sports goes some way to explaining why players are flocking to draft a franchise in such huge numbers.

The inception of the internet in the 90s saw the original boom for fantasy sports, leading it all the way through to the 2000s. The advent of the World Wide Web saw the player base leap from half a million in 1988 to over 15 million in 2003. It meant that sports fans were now able to compete with players from up and down the country whilst still being able to compete with their buddies on the block.

Fantasy Draft Games in the World of Video Gaming

Another variable that has accelerated its popularity in recent years is its link with gaming and that link has now started to change the industry itself. Whilst there are many similarities, the beauty of fantasy drafts lies in its differences with gaming. The introduction of franchise modes in games like NBA 2K, Madden NFL and FIFA allows players to take charge of a real-life team in a virtual world. You can choose any team in the game and lead them to Super Bowl glory or NBA Championship rings. However, for many this was just a little too easy.

Anyone can blitz the AI league when you have Lebron or Brady, so developers came up with a way to challenge players. Fantasy draft modes allow you to draft your franchise from the ground up and decide exactly how you want to form your team. You can design it all in your image. Whether you want to focus on building a strong running game with a more mobile QB or you want to build a team of plucky shooters around a towering center, fantasy draft games give you all the power of a general manager.

The creation of the Ultimate Team modes by EA are also a twist on the classic fantasy draft concept. Players build teams to play online against fellow gamers, but unlike fantasy game modes you cannot simply put together your team and have them play to their best. You must focus on team chemistry, relying on links between players who are on the same real-life team, to improve weak points and make strong points stronger.

This fusion between fantasy sports and sports gaming has made video games like those mentioned above some of the most popular in the world. The gaming industry arguably owe a great deal of gratitude to fantasy sport when it comes to their success.

The Rise of Global Interest

As wireless broadband has become faster and more accessible across the US, the number of people who own gaming consoles has skyrocketed. Studies show that three-quarters of all US households now own a home gaming console or a gaming PC. The nature of fantasy sport means that there is a lot of synergy with the gaming industry. For example, researchers at MIT conducted a study that found the best fantasy sports players owe their success to skill rather than luck.

This is very much the same with gamers who will play their favorite video games for hours to gain the skills necessary to edge out their opponents. It appears that fantasy is yet another skill they are hungry to master. The similarities in the competitive nature of both fantasy sports and gaming have gone a long way to encouraging gamers to start drafting their fantasy franchise. With advancements in technology meaning you can now coach and scout your team on the go, it is even more accessible. When gamers are away from their gaming consoles and PCs, they can take out their phone or tablet and manage their fantasy franchise.

Gaming started as a fun way to pass the time with your buddies but over the last decade it has transformed into a way to test and showcase your skills by competing against millions of people around the world. The lure of competition against real people as opposed to AI has seen online gaming become one of the most popular past times in the world and has now developed into a competitive sport. The fact that same competitive aspect exists in fantasy sports is no coincidence.

Fantasy Sports Are Here to Stay

In many ways, fantasy football was first seen in the Madden NFL game, way back in 1962 when it was birthed in a New York City hotel room between three friends. Its influence on the gaming industry is clear to see and as its popularity rises, we are only going to see its impact even more down the line. This fusion between fantasy sports and sports gaming has made video games like those mentioned above some of the most popular in the world. The sports gaming industry arguably owe a great deal of gratitude to fantasy sport when it comes to their success.

The popularity of fantasy sports will continue to grow in the coming years among sports fans and gamers, as will fantasy’s presence in the gaming industry. Do not be fooled by its simple concept. Much like eSports, there is a finesse to becoming a good fantasy sports player.

What do you think?

Written by JR Dominguez

JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.

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