The overlap between gamers and sports lovers is bigger than some outsiders might assume. It makes sense though. If you’re obsessed with a sport, you miss it when the season is over. Video games provide a great way to get your sporting fix when it’s the off-season or when the weather keeps you from playing yourself.
We’ve come a long way from the days when FIFA and Madden were your only choices if you wanted to play a sports-themed video game. Now, sports lovers have a wide range of games to choose from that are available on multiple platforms.
Here are some of our top picks for the best online games for sports lovers in 2023:
Football Manager (Sports Interactive)
Football Manager is the game of choice for soccer fans who enjoy the ins and outs of building a successful team. It is the equivalent of the FIFA series for players who want to experience buying players, creating a good team dynamic, developing strategy and winning games. You can even manage media appearances!
It is the ultimate game for sports lovers who also love stats. And if we know anything about sports lovers, it’s that they all love stats! In fact, this need to know the stats behind their favorite teams and players is a big part of why sports betting is such a popular hobby.
Major online sportsbooks, such as BetRivers, also offers sports news and tips so that their customers can stay informed and make smart bets. They know how much sports fans love stats, so they give them access to all the sports and betting stats they can handle!
Ace Fishing: Wild Catch (Com2uS)
Mobile games are one of the largest gaming markets today. Many of the major studios, like Ubisoft and Square Enix, launch mobile versions of their leading console titles. Sports games were some of the earliest successful mobile games.
Ace Fishing: Wild Catch is a sport fishing game that also incorporates a travel element. Players compete to catch the biggest and most exotic fish as they travel around the world to explore new fishing destinations. There are also tournaments to play in to see who can land the big one and win the top prizes.
Fishing simulators can get a bit dull, or maybe it’s relaxing for those gamer fishermen who love to spend a day out on the lake, but Ace Fishing: Wild Catch keeps things exciting.
WWE SuperCard – Battle Cards (Cat Daddy Games)
Millennials grew up playing trading card games and many still have a major soft spot for games that involve collecting and trading cards. The 90s were also a glorious era for professional wrestling — the days when The Rock was in the ring and not on the big screen, but Hulk Hogan was, when The Undertaker was actually scary and when Steve Austin really was Stone Cold.
WWE SuperCard – Battle Cards is a mobile game that taps into that nostalgia and mixes in a fun professional wrestling theme. Players collect wrestler cards, build a deck of their ultimate wrestling team and battle other players. The game is available on both iOS and Android.
SuperCard also offers an NHL and an NBA version, though these don’t have quite the same attitude and fun as the WWE game.
FIFA Mobile (EA Mobile)
The FIFA series has been one of the leading sports video games since it was first launched as FIFA International Soccer in 1993. Since then, a new edition has been released yearly and special editions for World Cups and urban soccer play have also been released. FIFA games are available on all major console systems and on Windows for PC.
FIFA Mobile was first released in 2016 and brought FIFA games to players on the go. Just like with the regular series, FIFA Mobile is updated yearly. Each new ‘season’ introduces new teams and players and makes minor changes to the gameplay to improve the player experience.
FIFA Mobile 22 made changes to gameplay by removing stamina as a stat and introduced a new market system. They also added several new teams. Deadpool and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans will be thrilled to see that Wrexham FC has been added to the roster of teams.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 (Vicarious Visions)
The Tony Hawk Pro Skater games were among the defining games of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Tony Hawk was a star and every kid with a skateboard idolized him and his sick moves. Even if you weren’t able to nail your backside tailslide or land your Tre Flip in real life, you could skate like an X Games star in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games.
Even with rose-tinted nostalgia glasses, however, the games look and play a bit rough to today’s audiences. That’s where Vicarious Visions stepped in. The studio specializes in remastering and updating classic games and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is one of their best works. The remaster is notable for using the original handling code so that it felt familiar to veteran players despite the improvements to the graphics.
While Tony Hawk isn’t necessarily an online game since it can be played on console or PC without using the online capabilities, it does offer an online mode as well. Playing online gives players the option of playing in multiplayer mode for that real skatepark feel.
Rocket League (Psyonix)
Most sports video games are simulators of real sports or very closely mimic the real sports actions. Rocket League is a bit different. It combines the rules of soccer with rocket-powered cars as the players. Rocket League might sound a bit goofy, but it has been massively popular since its initial release in 2015.
Rocket League is a multiplayer game, so it’s ideal for sports lovers who love that team spirit aspect. If the soccer element of the game isn’t to your tastes, the newest editions of the game have included ice hockey and basketball inspired modes. Players can also change the rules and create their own gameplay modes.
In 2020, Psyonix made the game free-to-play, which should be enough to overcome any doubts anyone might have about giving it a try.
Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Megagon Industries)
This game is perfect for the mountain biking enthusiast who can’t wait to hit the trails. It is a third-person biking game where the player controls a biker as they ride down a number of different mountain courses. In the base game, there are four mountains to choose from and each has four trails to follow but additional trails can be unlocked.
One of the most unique elements of the game is that it doesn’t have a musical soundtrack. Instead, the sounds of nature and the bike make up the game’s entire soundtrack. This helps it feel more like an immersive outdoor experience, despite the relatively simple gameplay. Just don’t relax too much — biking off a cliff or into a rock will result in your character dying and you’ll have to start over at the top of the course.
Lynn Martelli is an editor at Readability. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has worked as an editor for over 10 years. Lynn has edited a wide variety of books, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and more. In her free time, Lynn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.