Visit the Steam stats page on any given Friday (or indeed Sunday, or Monday) and you’ll see Football Manager holding its own in the upper echelons of the most-played list. Today it’s the third-most played game on the service, boasting 58,733 players at its peak.
Also today, Sega revealed their financial results and confirmed what we’ve suspected for a while: FM13 has sold by the bucketload. And that Aliens: Colonial Marines has made a much bigger splash than it deserves.
Gosh, here’s me approaching a bank holiday Monday with the concerned frown befitting a Slow News Day, and it turns out to be nothing of the sort. In fact several major developers have, by calamitous coincidence, made sweeping announcements over the course of the morning that will likely change the landscape of PC gaming beyond recognition. Positively seismic, they are! We can barely keep up, so have taken the liberty of arranging the many announcements here for your delectation.
I've been plugging away at this experiment in playing on in-game day of Football Manager 2012 for each day of real life. It's now finished, and available as an ebook.
Check it out for an in-depth exploration of the nature and appeal of football management simulations.
An entry has appeared in the Steam database that confirms that Football Manager 2014 is on its way, ending absolutely no speculation about the future of the enormously successful management series. We can also confirm that the world is still spinning and we expect the sun to rise tomorrow morning, though the celestial body was not available for comment.
If there were ever a genre to benefit from the post-Steam world of continually updated PC games, it’d be sports management. There was a time when Football Manager 2013 would’ve begun dating as soon as it left Sports Interactive’s offices - a static image of a past season, doomed to perpetually repeat itself.
No longer. With update 13.3.0, FM13 will allow you to see “Beckham strut his stuff at PSG, watch Balotelli back in Milan or lead the French revolution at Newcastle", thanks to newly updated squads.
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By this point in our gaming lives we're fairly used to crossover characters, developers stripping fan favourites from the different universes of gamedom and collecting them together in a single title. Gordon Freeman appearing in Renegade Ops, say, or Poker Night at the Inventory sitting Max from Sam & Max at a table with Tycho from Penny Arcade. But SEGA have gone off the beaten track a little with the casting for Sonic and All-stars Racing: Transformed. You can play as Manager from Football Manager.
The changelog for FM 2013’s 13.1.3 patch lists a lot of things, but as I read them I was thinking of something else: Football Manager’s in-match engine has become an incredible complex and powerful beast of a sim, isn’t it?
The search for fresh youngsters continues in Football Manager 2013. Every Football Manager player understands that finding great players at an early age is vitally important. While the search continues, we decided to try something: we simulated five seasons worth of play in Football Manager 2013, while keeping an eye on our Football Manager 2012 Wonderkids selection, to see how they fared in this brave new world. The results were fascinating.
FM13’s Classic Mode is a wonderful idea; a leaner season playthrough created because Sports Interactive no longer had time to play FM themselves at home. It was actually conceived as a streamlined console Football Manager, akin to Firaxis’ CivRev. Only, says studio head Miles Jacobson: “The feedback we got was, please don’t put it on console".
Our retail partner Green Man Gaming's latest attempt to avoid taking your money involves a curious, stackable discount on Football Manager 2013. An existing 25% discount takes SI's latest from £39.99 down to £29.99, but by applying the voucher code GMGFM-35OFF-SCORE a further 35% discount can be had. Ziggy says that works out at £19.50, which is more than half off the original asking price.
Perhaps it was the wrecked relationships; the broken lives. Or maybe it was just the bloodshot eyes of their own development team resigned to staring at lines of code, only to spend their spare time with retinas locked to the experience they create. Whatever the motivation, with Football Manager 2013, Sports Interactive decided we needed a new way of playing – a return to the more disposable, dare I say fun, way of experiencing the monster they produce each season.
[Breath, Benson. Breathe, just stick to the facts. No one can complain with the facts] Football is a sport. A sport that is played by men and women. There are two teams. These teams have managers and those managers, er, [you're losing it], er, [keep it together], organise the teams. [Good, if you're running out of facts don't let on] The managers are selected by their ability. There is a footballer called David Peckham. Managers are gauged by their aptitude in a simulation device, Football Manager. Each year's iteration allows new budding managers find work with a team. Footballers eat oranges. There is a demo available for the new Football Manager.
Just a few months back, Harry Redknapp seemed to be applying for simpleton status. The then-Tottenham boss claimed the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic were beyond him – almost belittling his place in the upper echelons of football management. But then Harry is old school: a breed that flatly refuse to complicate the business of managing 11 men to kick a ball with purpose. Such grizzled gaffers snarl at those who take the job into the realms of academia, who lose themselves in positional data, dietary requirements and psychological profiling. Nothing is left to chance for these “professors" but Harry’s game is a different one. This is Football Manager 2013.