Why There Aren’t Many Field Hockey Video Games

Why There Aren't Many Field Hockey Video Games

Field Hockey Video Games

You enjoy sports, you enjoy video games, and the great thing is you can get the best of both worlds, but what if you are a fan of field hockey and want to play a field hockey video game?

Very few field hockey video games exist at this point. The reason for this comes down to a lack of televised coverage leading to a lack of sponsors and earnings. There is also the challenge of programming due to the difficulty of the game. Playing sports video games, however, can function as a gateway to playing real sports.

Read on to see why there aren’t many field hockey video games and why there should be more.

Field Hockey Overview

Field hockey can be summarized down to basic rules and goals. Field hockey players can only hit the ball with the stick’s flat side, and they cannot use their feet or other body parts to control the ball.

When they score a goal, they can do so from the field goal, penalty corner, or penalty stroke. One goal equals one point. Further, field hockey players may not trip, push, charge, physically handle, or interfere with the opponent. That is why field hockey is also known as a non-contact sport.

For an article about the different field hockey positions, make sure you read more about “What is the Hardest Position in Field Hockey?

Field hockey is very popular worldwide, which is underestimated by a lot of people. Even though soccer and rugby are popular sports, field hockey ranks as the third most popular sport in the world, where rugby does not rank in the top 10.

The following is a list of the top 10 most popular sports worldwide:

  1. Soccer
  2. Badminton
  3. Field hockey
  4. Volleyball
  5. Basketball
  6. Tennis
  7. Cricket
  8. Table Tennis
  9. Baseball
  10. Golf

Why does field hockey’s reputation not live up to the reality of its success, and why has no field hockey video game been developed yet? We’ll address the questions in the following sections.

A Lack of Coverage

Field hockey is the third most popular sport worldwide, as stated. It is played in 112 countries, with around 2 billion fans around the world. The problem is that field hockey premiership games do not get regularly televised. The only television time they do get is every four years when the Olympics or Commonwealth Games air on TV.

Compare this to rugby, which does not even rank in the top 10 and yet receives a lot of television time. This is especially true for the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

Field hockey can be confidently named as one of the major sports. It just lacks television and media coverage, not a lack of interest. It shows in the statistics that interest is there for the sport. Sadly, many people assume it must not be popular if it is not prominent in the media.

However, if there are two billion field hockey fans worldwide, why does it lack coverage?

Explaining the Lack of Coverage

The first most common explanation is that hockey is a challenging, fast-paced game. Most sports, like tennis or soccer, can be quickly learned by children at a young age. Field hockey needs specific attention to the rules before playing. It, therefore, can make field hockey a complicated sport to play.

Secondly, field hockey makes use of a small ball, which is, compared to the much bigger soccer and rugby ball, challenging to trace on the screen. However, an ice hockey puck is just as challenging to follow, but hockey is a contact sport, drawing in many viewers for that reason.

Thirdly, the evenly 50/50 ratio male-to-female distribution in field hockey means it would need to double the amount of time in broadcasting than other sports, which can be difficult. The lack of coverage, for obvious reasons, leads to a lack of funding.

Field Hockey

Image by Patrick Case via Pexels

Lack of Funding

To this very day, field hockey teams attend competitions made possible through crowdfunding. For example, Germany was able to establish a campaign “Ecke, Schuss, Gold” through raising funds.

The aim was to follow the German field hockey team to the Olympics and make a documentary of it, raising awareness for the sport.

On the other hand, the Ireland field team had to be pulled out of the Olympics due to a lack of finances. The hockey supporters, therefore, raised funds to send the Ireland field hockey team to the competition.

A lack of coverage means a lack of funding, which directly impacts the field hockey video gaming industry’s lack of financing. There are no sponsors available willing to help with the development of a field hockey video game. This, too, has to be made possible through crowdfunding.

No Programming Material

You will find soccer, tennis, rugby, and even ice hockey video games across all major gaming platforms, but field hockey is relegated to one or two games on mobile devices, such as Field Hockey Cup 2019 in the Google Play store.

While millions of people play mobile games, in general, the games designed for those devices lack the complexity, control, and graphic capability of console or computer games.

People have also been designing video games for these sports for years, collecting ample amounts of programming and reference material over the years.

Even though field hockey is a complex sport, a closely related sport, ice hockey, has many video games out on the market. Ice hockey has six players on the ice per team — three forwards, two defensemen, and a goalie.

On the other hand, field hockey uses 11 players, which are made up of 5 forwards, three halves, two backs, and a goalie. The field hockey team’s size and formation compared to ice hockey depend on the level of play and the coaching strategy used.

Developing a field hockey video game can get complicated when taking into account the runner options, player movement options, different shot types, all the different rules for the players when in contact with the ball, rules for dangerous play, and third-party interaction.

While soccer has just as many players and has many video games, there is a much greater television audience for soccer video games.

Overall, developing a field hockey video game must feel like developing an eight-in-one game. The implementation of all the players’ skills becomes difficult when having to translate it into coding.

Coding these skills into the AI and then making these skills available in a competitive manner is where the difficulty starts. This was made possible with soccer and even ice hockey. This leads back to the point that it is definitely not impossible; it just needs time and funding (source).

One Determined Team

There is one determined team that is working on developing a field hockey video game. It is a Kickstarter initiative, and they are always looking for support on their social media by following them and joining their community.

The team is busy designing the field hockey teams’ colours and clothing, resembling real field hockey sports teams.

However, they have had to place the project on hold due to time, funding, and all the work going into it. However, do have a look at their webpage, fieldhockeygame.co.uk, and visit their YouTube channel.

Relationship Between Real Sports and Virtual Sports

Having looked at the reasons why so few field hockey video games have been developed, let us now look at the reasons why more field hockey video games should be made.

Transitioning from Video Games to Real Sports

Video games have always been known to make people retreat from daily actions in the world and become engulfed by virtual reality, spending more time online than outside. However, the opposite happens frequently when playing sports video games.

Playing sports video games can actually function as a gateway to actively participate in real sports while also boosting the player’s confidence level.

Research shows a relationship between playing sports video games and playing sports among older adolescents and young adults. The study was done over a three-year period. Participants who played most sports video games were also more likely to be actively involved in real sports than their peers.

This positive correlation is unique to sports video games. In contrast, in Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Games (MMORPG), a negative correlation was found, where players were seen to take part in fewer physical activities.

Tying this back to the need for a field hockey video game, it could actually increase activity in field hockey itself.

Psychological Benefits

In addition, it is also observed that playing sports video games increases the affinity with sports itself. It increases self-confidence when it comes to physical activity and competition. It can be a teaching tool for older kids, where they learn how to compete and that it is not always all about winning or losing.

When playing sports video games, winning can boost confidence levels, while losing can encourage learning and reinforce the need for improvement. The lessons learned are accompanied by less anxiety and fear when failing.

This is due to the lack of audience. Fewer people are watching the players, bringing forth less ridicule and shame towards the player.

If more field hockey video games existed, they could be used not only as a comprehensive teaching tool, but they could form a part in developing the players’ confidence while also being more willing to improve, learn from their mistakes, and deal with loss (source).

Sports Video Games Can Add to Training

As seen above, sports video games can add to teaching moments and improve a player’s confidence levels. It, however, does not stop there. Sports video games can advance strategies and tactics.

Players will have a chance to learn more about the real sport, making it possible for them to compete in the actual game successfully.

Sports video games also make it possible for players to get extra reps and training and learn the rules, strategies, and mechanics more intensely. It also enhances theoretical knowledge, which can improve physical ability, build confidence, and reduce the fear of failure or ridicule (source).

Playing Video Games

Image by Patrick Case via Pexels

Final Thoughts

Field hockey lacks media coverage and funding, even though it is the third most popular sport globally. When there is such a lack of coverage and funding, it won’t be easy to find support for developing a field hockey video game because it may ultimately not be profitable.

The benefits of developing more field hockey video games include more intense training, skill learning, and confidence-building. At the same time, they could also function as a gateway to actively partaking in sports.

Perhaps field hockey fans should not wait for funding but rather work with crowdfunding options to make the game more popular and, through that, gain recognition.