Across the Lifehacker, Gizmodo and Kotaku staffers we have a lot of gamers with a lot of different preferences. But one of us has been scarred with the unshakeable tag of Dudebro: our publisher Danny. He plays FIFA to death every year. He even plays UFC, bless his heart. And we all give him copious amounts of shit. Because while he might point to a past love of StarCraft and his aptitude with coding, deep down, Danny's a Bro Gamer.
There's nothing wrong with that, of course. Hell, I've spent nearly 400 hours playing a cricket game. And when the year is done and dusted, gamers like Danny might end up being the happiest of all. Because if you think about it, 2016 is an amazing year to be a Bro Gamer.
We don't often give dudebros a great deal of credit, but they drop a hell of a lot of money into the coffers of developers. All that money spent on Ultimate Team packs helps pay for marketing when EA wants to take a bet on an indie like Unravel or Fe. The same applies for franchises like Call of Duty or the NBA 2K series. Publishers aren't going to tolerate delays or a loss-making franchise forever, but when you're making a truckload on Football Simulator 2017 it's a lot easier to give a developer some extra leash on another IP somewhere.
But 2016 is a little bit special. Sure, bro gamers get well serviced every year. There will always be a FIFA. A NBA. A Madden. A Call of Duty. And in a lot of ways you can throw Destiny into that mix too.
Thing is, most of those games are set to be genuinely really, really good this year.
A great sign of the Bro Gamer is the person who comes out of the wilderness to get excited about a new Battlefield game. That's only been magnified over the last few months with Battlefield returning to its roots — or at least going closer to, rather than further away, from 1942.
And I don't say this in a mocking, or pejorative, way. Taking Battlefield back to WW1 is an excellent idea; it's what fans of the first two games have been demanding for years. That said, it says an awful lot about the audience these days when DICE themselves had concerns about the concept — because they weren't sure younger gamers would know anything about World War 1 at all.
But, and as someone who regularly does a tour of duty with the series, I'm glad they put that ignorance to one side and forged ahead. And perhaps the best thing going for Battlefield these days is that most of the server issues have pretty much been resolved. Battlefield 4's issues won't be forgotten for a while yet. But Hardline launched without a hitch, and the Battlefront reboot — scarce in content though it might have been — was only beset with a few teething issues.
Perhaps most importantly, the server browser is back. That's fantastic news if you're playing on PC, and it gives more hope to the crowd hoping for Battlelog to die a long, painful death. On top of that, Battlefield 1 will have a campaign too — something Battlefront sorely lacked.
But while we're speaking of campaigns, perhaps the most exciting one is coming to FIFA. There has always been a certain crowd of FIFA players who ignored Ultimate Team and the multiplayer just for the career mode. I'm talking about the player who likes making a charge from the lowest division possible, only to reign supreme at the peak of European football.
Put simply, players were making a campaign mode of their own. All that's happening now is that, after years of leaving the career mode by the wayside for the more lucrative Ultimate Team, EA is finally putting in a proper story.
Of course, it's not anything new. The MyCareer mode of NBA 2K has been relying on the rags-to-riches story for a couple of years now. And even though Spike Lee's take on the story mode was agonising, especially with the 20 minute ending cut scene, the experience of taking a player through college basketball to the NBA Playoffs was still loads of fun.
It's the right step forward. There will always be a heavy focus on multiplayer and somewhere for Bro Gamers to spend big on microtransactions. But there also needs to be a substantive mode for people who want to sit on the couch alone and play without worrying about ping or dickheads online ruining the experience.
And that's not the only new story for Bro Gamers. Titanfall 2 is coming to the party with a campaign of its own this time, something the original sorely missed. And while it's not wholly within the territory of sports, you'd have a pretty difficult time arguing that Gears of War 4 wasn't targeted at the Bro Gamer. They're practically the protagonist.
But those who do want to play online are going to have an absolute ball. Take Call of Duty. If you grew up with the series, you get the delight of being able to play a remastered Modern Warfare. Or, more importantly, you get to play Modern Warfare again, but without having to worry about whether anyone else is playing.
Oh and there's Infinite Warfare as well. Bro Gamers are typically happy to splash out for Call of Duty anyway, but getting two Call of Duty games for the price of one? That's an absolute steal.
Something that's also gone under the radar a little is a move by Microsoft. At their E3 conference, the company announced they would be integrating tournaments directly into Xbox Live — and FIFA 17 was one of the first titles they'd be doing it with. You'd usually go to a third-party service for that, but now you can do it through the console itself. It's a big drawcard for those who pretty much just play FIFA, and are on the fence about the Xbox One S, a potential PS4 Slim, Project Scorpio and PlayStation Neo.
That'll be real interesting feature when it's matured in a couple of years. But until then, there's plenty of casual online matches to partake in. The Madden and NBA 2K developers have been working plenty on improving the online stability of their games, as has the team behind Don Bradman Cricket 17.
It's even a great year for those who like the less popular Bro Games. F1 2016 is getting the best critical reception since Codemasters started making games for the series, thanks in part to an overhauled career mode that makes practice sessions somewhat meaningful.
I've mentioned Don Bradman Cricket already, but it's worth mentioning again since it'll be a necessity to drown out the inane commentary that passes for analysis on Channel 9 over Christmas. And like FIFA, the NBA 2K series and anything else with a career mode, building a teenager up from club cricket to an international standard is addictive.
Not to be outdone, Ubisoft are still hoping to get their extreme sports game Steep out the door come Christmas. Fans of SSX haven't exactly been well served as the years have gone on, and there's nothing a Bro Gamer likes more than breaking a few virtual bones. And if that's not enough extreme for you, the makers of Project CARS also released Red Bull Air Racing. It's not as exciting as, say, racing an aeroplane through the Alps or the Amazon (hello Slipstream 5000). But with the difficulty turned up, it's a decent challenge — and it's free-to-play, which is always a bonus.
It's a good year to be a Bro Gamer.