Big Ant Studios had planned to release their new title Rugby 24 on the eve of the 2023 World Cup. However, at the end of August, the developer announced that it would only be ready in January 2024. Aside from the apparent disappointment felt by rugby fans worldwide, how costly will not capitalizing on Rugby World Cup fever be?
A Rugby World Cup without equal
The short answer is that it may drastically affect sales as the tournament continues to capture the attention of sports fans around the globe. One of the main reasons for this is the tense rivalry between the top teams, as the latest odds for Rugby World Cup show. Indeed, there is a logjam at the top of the latest outright odds with Ireland and South Africa both priced as the favourites at +300, and hosts France following closely at +320.
Keep in mind that France and the increasingly impressive Ireland have never won a Rugby World Cup before so there is a very good chance a new name will be added to the Webb Ellis Cup.
The wider point is that this is a World Cup that could be remembered as the best of all time but sadly for Big Ant Studios, they won’t be able to cash in on the unprecedented hype. So, what has gone wrong for the usually reliable software engineers from Australia?
What is behind the hold-up?
There are two reasons for the delay. The first is that Big Ant Studios have said they haven’t been able to integrate 130 countries and 15 leagues into the title by the initial launch date of September 7th. In other words, they were overly ambitious and bit off more than they could chew.
The second reason for the delay is that Big Ant Studios say that they have encountered unforeseen resistance regarding access to players. You might understandably wonder why they would need to sit down face-to-face with the best rugby players in the world. The answer is that software engineers need to collaborate with players in order to deliver the most realistic offering possible.
While it is true that every competing nation has been involved in closed-off training camps in the run-up to the World Cup in France, it does feel as if Big Ant Studios could have anticipated that this may be a problem and done it at the start of 2023 or end of 2022.
When will this saga come to an end?
As it stands, Big Ant Studios has indicated that they will release their new rugby title on the 30th of January 2024. The Melbourne developers are currently trying to market the release as being ready on the eve of the Six Nations and while that may excite some, it does feel like the momentum would have been lost with the World Cup concluded three months before.
The old adage dictates that it’s better late than never but in this case, that may not apply with such an enormous opportunity missed.