When it comes to sports games, there are plenty of long-living game franchises that dominate the space for decades. Sports video game franchises cover sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and tennis, but there is no trace of horse racing.
Considering that horse racing is one of the oldest sports in the world, it is questionable why there are only a few horse racing video game franchises that are not even that popular.
With the rise of horse racing popularity over the last couple of years, many horse racing enthusiasts want to experience racing in the first person by playing video games, but the choice is very limited.
Clearly, the horse racing gaming niche is an untapped market with big potential, so why are no popular game-developing companies making such games?
Let’s find out.
Horse Racing games
Over the last two decades, there have been only a few popular horse racing franchises like G1 Jockey, Winning Post, and Gallop Racer series, and all of them are made by Japanese gaming companies.
So, why companies like EA or 2K are not making a horse racing sports game?
Does it have to do with the number of horse racing fans?
Until now, we can all agree that there isn’t a high-end and realistic triple-A horse game. Most of the horse racing games that are available have poor graphics, and mediocre gameplay, and don’t get the same attention to detail as other sporting games.
First of all, we have to agree that it is all business. If a company doesn’t invest in a horse racing game is because it believes that the potential for making profits is small and the market is too small.
But is it?
Horse Racing Fans
Horse racing has been rapidly growing over the past couple of decades and now there is more horse racing enthusiast than ever before.
When it comes to the number of fans, clearly horse racing doesn’t fall in the top ten sports in the world. Soccer holds the biggest fanbase of 4 billion worldwide fans, followed by basketball, cricket, and tennis.
There isn’t accurate data on how many horse racing fans are in the world, but with the data suggesting that approximately six million people attend horse races in Britain alone, and big horse racing events like the Kentucky Derby get 150,000 visitors, which is almost three times more than the Super Bowl, we can assume that the number of horse racing enthusiast is not low.
The problem with horse racing is that the fans are heavily saturated in certain places. Thus, there are names for horse races that are almost a synonym of specific cities or states, like the Kentucky Derby or the Cheltenham Festival, but there is not such a massive worldwide appeal. Plus, it is still considered an elitist sport.
This means that there isn’t an even spread in terms of horse racing enthusiasts in every country. For example, the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Australia, and France account for more than 70% of the total number of fans in the world.
In other words, horse racing is very popular in certain areas, but unknown in the rest of the world, which can be a real problem with the global sales of a game.
Horse Racing is About Wagering
Another important thing to mention is that the popularity of horse racing has a lot to do with wagering. If we take betting out of horse racing, the number of fans will dramatically drop. This means that not many people are interested in the sport itself, but for them, horse racing is a way to earn money.
Since most people watch horse racing just to be able to make a wager, they are not interested in how the sport is played and what it would be like to become a jockey in a video game.
The lack of interest in the sport stops big game-developing companies to invest in making a horse racing game.