How long before virtual sports completely replace real ones?

You all have heard about how the NFL is trying to make the game of football safer. The talk about the trauma sustained by the players is everywhere. There is talk of banning the game in some circles. Even players are saying they don’t want their kids playing the game.

I think football is on its way out, frankly. Hockey and basketball, too. Even baseball’s days are numbered. Safety is only part of the reason. The other part can be seen by watching these two clips:

That’s a game from 1991. Now here is the first gameplay video for Madden 13, which will come out this August:

It’s a big difference. Meanwhile, real-world football is still the same as it was in 1991. Sure, the equipment is a little better, but it’s still pretty similar.

“But,” you object, “there’s a ceiling on how much the game can improve. The best it can do is look just like the real thing, and it doesn’t even do that yet. Besides, we need a real-life version game of football to provide a benchmark for what the video game should be like.”

I used to think that, too. But we have a benchmark, in the form of NFL films historical record. And the Madden games already include a mode in which you can play against virtual replicas of former football stars. People know who those guys are–and the thrill will be playing as your own team, with players named for you and your friends, going up against the ’72 Dolphins or the ’85 Bears.

More to the point, most fans don’t like all real football games. Sometimes, they are “boring”–that is, they are defensive struggles, as opposed to exciting, long-touchdown filled games. Most fans hate that. But video games can fix this problem–you can have 70-63 games if you like.

It goes without saying that you don’t get injured playing virtual football over the internet. Out of shape, maybe, but not “injured”. The  celebrities of football will no longer be the athletes, but people who are unbeatable at the virtual game. And the best part is, way more people can play a video game than can play actual, pro-level football.

We’re already most of the way there. This is where the safety concerns really come into play, because soon, no one will like the actual sport–too much danger. The video games will provide something for all the football experts to go into when the real game is too controversial. Imagine what it would be like to go up against some former player or coach in the video game–it will be incredibly popular.

The same thing will happen with all other sports, too. But I doubt anyone will miss them; they’re too much trouble. Video game sports are more accessible, safer, and can be played year-round.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?