Of all the sports available to game developers, tennis appears to be the simplest. No more than four players are on the screen at one time. The ball needs to move realistically but has only one purpose: to bounce back and forth. It's all so basic that most gamers could never imagine how addictive it could be until they themselves pick up the controller.
Few realize that underneath the generic exterior is a game development cycle of great complexity. It takes just the right balance of gameplay features – playability, physics, speed, challenge, and the overall feel of the game – to keep players from wondering, "Is this a tennis game or a next-gen version of Pong?" Top Spin 3 succeeded in these areas on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which featured quick gameplay that was reminiscent of Virtua Tennis 3. The 2K Sports gem was less of an arcade title than Sega's latest, instead focusing more on the real-world challenges a tennis game could provide.