I don't mean to insult hardcore sports lovers. But here's the scenario and I'm sure everyone old enough has noticed it:
When I was a kid growing up in the '80s, and as a teen in the '90s, sports games were simply a staple of the industry. Just about everyone played them. If you were into video games, you invariably owned at least a few sports games.
There wasn't anybody I knew who didn't own a Madden , NHL ( Blades of Steel , baby!), R.B.I. Baseball , or NBA Jam . And I think we forget how many different sports games we had; there were volleyball games ( Kings of the Beach !), for instance, and miscellaneous sports titles ( California Games , anyone?). The ironic part is that unsurprisingly, a lot of gamers in those days weren't exactly athletic and didn't even watch sports on TV.
Those same kids have grown up now, and not a one has played a single sports game in many years. They still play but sports are out. If you ask them, the answers are pretty much the same: "I have other games I want to play," and "sports just aren't my thing and I have tons of other options now." That's definitely part of it; we've got a crapload of available games in all kinds of different genres these days. Back then, we basically just had a bunch of side-scrolling action/platformers, the occasional RPG, and yeah, lots of sports games.
So, it seems that now, unless you're a die-hard sports enthusiast, you're just not interested in playing the latest MLB: The Show , or something like that. Heck, the majority of all sports games today are simulators, anyway, so they're only targeting the avid followers. It seems like those who play sports games these days only play sports games, because they're more sports fan than they are gamer. The more of a gamer they are, the less they seem to play sports titles.
And again, I don't mean it as a slight against those who love sports games. But I'm willing to bet that those who spend eons with their favorite sports simulators aren't spending anywhere near as much time with other games. Am I wrong?