For 13 years, EA Sports NHL was one of the more popular PC sports titles available for fans. It was the first version of the game to have reliable online play, and is still highly regarded for having one of the better online communities in gaming.
It’s clear that there is a demand for the game’s return to the platform with active modding still being done to titles like NHL 2004 and NHL 09, but the game hasn’t seen a release on PC since the latter title was released in September 2008. But just because the game hasn’t seen a PC release in seven years, that doesn’t mean a return to the platform isn’t in the minds of those in charge of the franchise.
In a recent interview with lead producer Sean Ramjagsingh, that exact topic was brought up, and included a response that gives fans hope the future of the game.
“It’s something we’ve looked at over the past few years,” he said. “There are just a number of issues that need to be resolved first.”
One of those issues include piracy, which is arguably the largest problem when it comes to PC game releases. People gaining illegal copies of a game via peer-to-peer torrent downloads leads to a number of potential financial impacts on a company. Of course, most games don’t allow online play for unregistered copies, but that usually doesn’t stop pirates from enjoying the single-player modes a game has to offer.
Other issues include making the game mod friendly, online server stability and overall performance, among other not-named hurdles.
So, while NHL 16 won’t be available on PC and it’s unlikely that even NHL 17 will appear on the platform, there is still plenty of hope that the series will, one day, come back to a consumer base that is dying for their hockey fix.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.