If you want something, you have to prove that you really want it. Parents will almost always use this tactic to combat a child’s request for an item they think is a (potential) waste. You can’t ask mom and dad to get a puppy without showing you can handle the responsibility of owning something and 1) not get bored of it and 2) keep it alive. The same holds true in business, if you want something you have to prove you really want it.
This is why you probably haven’t seen a new Skate game in over a decade. EA isn’t holding it back because they hate the sport, far from it. They are not making a Skate 4 because there isn’t enough of a meaningful audience to warrant the millions of dollars of investment.
Let it be clear, when I was at EA, Skate was in discussion fairly regularly. It helped that I worked in the Vancouver/Burnaby office where the game was developed. Not long after I transferred from the Redwood Shores offices to Burnaby, there was an art installation that showcased some of the skate decks made for and inspired by the game, which also happened around the five year anniversary of the game. But while other games were discussed reviving or creating, bringing back the Skate franchise was not something that was thought about with any real push.
Even with the flooding of comments on EA’s social media posts to give fans another Skate game, there is only one real way to get a new skateboarding game from EA…consume skateboarding content.
When Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater hit the scene, it was a risk but it came out at a perfect time. The X Games were at its apex of popularity and it had a brand connection to a known athlete. Publishers Activision probably didn’t see it as a huge risk but it turned in a successful one. The popularity of THPS gave us the many clones that followed, such as Sony’s Grind Session.
When THPS started focusing its attention on the crazy antics of the sport and cashing in on the popularity of Jackass, it opened the door for EA to introduce a more realistic interpretation of the sport with Skate as an alternative.
THPS got me into skateboarding. I bought my first cheap-ass deck not long after and began skating around my driveway. I couldn’t do a single trick (still can’t do any, to be honest) but it didn’t matter, because I was still having fun. I continued to buy games in the series until I just got bored of what felt like the same thing over and over again and a lot of other people followed suit.
Skate was a series I had a hard time getting into because I grew so accustomed to the arcade controls of THPS. I was clearly on the arcade spectrum of skateboarding games but I still could appreciate why the series is so beloved and why there is such a vocal community who want Skate 4.
Unfortunately, the only way you’re going to get it is if you buy and consume skateboard content. The X Games might not be as popular as they once were. There isn’t enough skateboarding on TV or the mainstream to get the attention of the non-diehard supporter of the sport.
There are a few saving graces and it comes in the form of video games. The recent announcement of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a huge step towards a potential Skate 4. Skater XL and Session, are two more skateboarding games, both in early access on Steam, that skateboard gamers can play. Heck, there is also an HBO series called Betty about female skateboarders in New York City that is actually quite interesting.