The mobile phone game has become an important part of our day-to-day life. Whilst many may have given up on their console, they still find the time to play games on their phone. Back in 2013, it was stated that the industry is growing at a rate of 33%, which sounds about right.
But it isn’t just the participants that are swelling; the overall game-play quality and visuals have increased tenfold. Whereas once you could tell you were playing on your phone, there are now certain games that would not look out of place on a PS Vita.
EA’s Real Racing 3 certainly falls into the above bracket. The racing game has garnered very good reviews since coming out, both for its flawless gameplay, superb graphics and an extremely in-depth career mode.
Whilst we are on the subject of mobile, and racing games in particular, there is a game that would fit a mobile game market perfectly and could see solid sales. However, to date, nobody has fully committed to bringing out a horse racing mobile game.
Horse racing, you say? Yes, horse racing, and when you continue reading you will understand why.
If we take Real Racing’s example. They use real race tracks – Silverstone, Brands Hatch etc. – which add considerably to the gaming enjoyment. You would think that most race courses would give their permission for their tracks to be used in any game. At the end of the day it is free publicity. There would be a surprisingly vast amount of people who would be enticed into playing the game if they could tackle some of the iconic courses. Everyone wants to see if they can make Becher’s Brook and The Chair at Aintree Racecourse.
It would be beneficial to have some sort of jockey attach their name to the game. Ideally that would be AP McCoy. The 19-time Champion Jockey brings legitimacy to anything involving racing and it could also attract horse racing fans that have smartphones but don’t game. The man from Northern Ireland is already positioned near the top of the early odds for the 2015 Grand National. If McCoy does win a second National then he does immortalize himself; his legacy will live on for the next 50 years at least. When you have a sports star with that much pull – David Beckham back in his heyday – then it is imperative that you try and utilize them.
A horse racing game has all the excitement of a car racing game but requires a lot more tactical nous. If you were on the flat courses you would have to conserve your energy, whipping the horse at the opportune moment to power to victory. Too early and your horse will be done before the final few furlongs. Jump courses offer a completely different obstacle. Timing your jobs to perfection is imperative if you are going to notch up a victory. You need to sail over them in order to keep your momentum. It is the advanced racing nature of horse racing that lends itself brilliantly to a game, making it slightly less tedious and far more challenging than normal car racing games.
But the big one with horse racing is its potential for a career mode. In a similar vein to the hugely popular GM mode in Madden; you buy your horse from an auction, get him a trainer and a jockey and start making your ascent to the top. It has a depth in story that will keep most ardent gamers satisfied for some time, and only that can be achieved by winning the Gold Cup.
We had Frankie Dettori Racing nearly 10 years ago on the PS2. That was well received by critics but didn’t sell that great. This is because spending over $30 on a horse racing game does not make sense to a lot of people. But a cheap, if not free, mobile horse racing game would have a market and could establish itself as one of the better sporting mobile games.