Will we ever see a big budget Australian sports game?

Posted by Renouncereality (84 posts) -

On the road to the holy grail

As an Aussie I am naturally a major sports fan. It is somewhat of a rarity to find an Australian who isn't. We traditionally punch far above our weight on the international stage given we have a population of only around 20 million and the fate of our national teams is constantly in the public eye. So much so that a previous Prime Minister John Howard stated that the Australian cricket captain is the MOST important person in Australia. It may not be that strange that we value our sportsman higher than our heads of state but the extent to which we do it sure is. The average Australian male could recite to you the last 20 Footy (AFL-Australian Football) premiers, the last 5 Australian cricket captains and could spend hours at the pub assembling a list of their 'greatest team of all time'. It is sports fanaticism that rates among the worlds best.

However when it comes to sports games Australia is far behind. Donald Bradman Cricket 14 just released to a solid but lukewarm reception. IGN AU gave it a 6.8/10 which is considered "okay". It is retailing at the expensive end of the market which is between $70-90 in Australia and costs the same as the latest FIFA or NBA games. This would be acceptable if the game had the same budget and polish of those titles. However in reality it is dated, glitchy and light years behind the annual EA games. This last fact is not surprising given that a cricket game will sell infinitely less copies than soccer or basketball but creating games like this will not help. It is bare bones in comparison. There are only 2 licensed venues and 0 licensed players - thats right 0! They did introduce a player creation system to get around it but NBA 2K14 not only had player names but even real voice acting.

Another example is AFL Live 2 which came out mid 2013. Footy is a seemingly impossible sport to bring to video games and every previous incarnation of it has been rubbish. This one was no exception. Unpolished, poor AI and shallow game modes meant that only a handful of people bothered to buy it. Also take in mind that this game still retails at or close to full price almost a year later.

As I previously eluded to these games have a very small market. Cricket is played in only a handful of countries and major nations such as India do not have a big buy in for console or PC gaming. In a few years as India's general population becomes more affluent this may change but at the moment there is not a huge market for cricket games. This is even more so for AFL since only one country of 20 million play it and even less would pay that much for a boring AFL game (IGN did not even review it). The most dedicated cricket and AFL fans will probably pick these games up regardless of the quality because there is simply nothing else to play in those sports, but for most there is not much point in buying them.

This brings me to my main point. Could these games be internationally adopted if they were made at a higher quality and possibly drum up more interest in these sports overseas. Is it something that the AFL and Cricket Australia should be focusing money into? I say this because plenty of Australians had their first experiences of other international sports through video games. I had no idea about Baseball until I played Ken Griffey Jr. '94 and I have played baseball in real life ever since. NFL is something I also learnt about while playing NFL Fever 2004. It was there I learnt the rules, the plays and more about the sport in general. Now I follow the NFL relatively closely and watch games whenever they make it onto T.V. If these were terrible games then I may not have ever bothered getting invested in the sports.

Therefore would it be worth it to a company like EA to make a big budget Footy title? Give it the full treatment and market it to the rest of the world. Maybe then they could iron out some of the problems that have plagued previous titles and make the game worth buying even for people who have not heard much about Footy before. Admittedly AFL is an incredibly hard sport to turn into a video game. It is a super fast paced sport and this has never been able to be replicated effectively in-game. However if they could do it, it would be the greatest international advertisement for the AFL that they could ever wish for.

In the cricket sphere I don't think it will be long before a big-budget game happens. As soon as the sub-continental countries such as India and Pakistan become fully involved in the video game arena there will be huge markets for a cricket game. But until then I don't see it happening.

What are your thoughts? Does anyone outside of Australia actually care (or have heard) of these sports? Would you be interested in a genuinely good AFL game?

Cheers,

Lachie

P.S. Ashes cricket '97 is the greatest cricket game ever made.

#1 Posted by thehig1 (825 posts) -

The interest would not be there for the UK market, we already have Fooball which is the most dominant sport rightfully so by a long way in Europe. So Fifa takes up most the sports game monopoly.

I really wish another company would rival EA for this, as they release the same game year after year, sometimes there bugs that were in Fifa 13 which carry over to Fifa 14.

Anyway I don't think Madden or Baseball Games sell that well in the UK, so something even more obscure would fail, I only know this from when I visit game stores or see charts games like Madden, NBA, NFL....basically none Football games don't stay in the charts. Were as games like Fifa and Football Manager are still selling.

The US market may be different but that's how I think UK and European Market would react.

#2 Edited by MrYaotubo (2507 posts) -

@thehig1 said:

The interest would not be there for the UK market, we already have Fooball which is the most dominant sport rightfully so by a long way in Europe. So Fifa takes up most the sports game monopoly.

I really wish another company would rival EA for this, as they release the same game year after year, sometimes there bugs that were in Fifa 13 which carry over to Fifa 14.

Anyway I don't think Madden or Baseball Games sell that well in the UK, so something even more obscure would fail, I only know this from when I visit game stores or see charts games like Madden, NBA, NFL....basically none Football games don't stay in the charts. Were as games like Fifa and Football Manager are still selling.

The US market may be different but that's how I think UK and European Market would react.

Well,there´s Konami doing PES in competition with FIFA and those games sell multiple millions every installement as well,though recently not as much as FIFA does.

#3 Posted by blangenakker (2058 posts) -

Well generally the studios here in Australian are not big at all and if they are they generally never last long.

#4 Edited by BattleSpectre (5952 posts) -

Mate, I've been thinking this for a very long time and I nearly made a thread about this myself. I would pay serious money to get an AFL game that has the graphics, and AI performance etc. of the Fifa games.

PS: Go the Bombers!!