The Football Manager series has sucked more hours from players around the world than almost any other. Even now, a year after its release, Football Manager 2014 sits in the top 10 charts on Steam.
Miles Jacobson, Sports Interactive’s games director, revealed to me that on Monday, 20 October, FM14’s players had racked up more than 23,000 years of play time.
Well, in fact, it’s significantly more but that’s just from the people who bought it.
“Our average playtime is very high, it’s much higher than most games,” Miles tells me. It’s actually caused them problems in the past when trying to launch the FM series on consoles. “Taking over the living room was the key reason when we were releasing on console before that it didn’t really work as well. Most people have their console in their living room not in their bedroom, when people take over the living room viewing platform for as long as they do to play one of our games, that’s going to get very frustrating for other people who live in the house.”
You can understand why when you look at the numbers. Monday saw FM14 players rack up 23,000 years of combined playtime. With a million copies sold, that’s an average of 201 hours played per player.
That’s only by the people who bought a legitimate copy of the game through Steam. SI have found that their games are pirated at about 13 to 1 on the PC. They know this because when Football Manager 2013 was cracked the pirates “didn’t take out the little call home thing.” So SI have “a storage system with 13 million IP addresses of users who pirated the game.”
In the six months it took for FM13 to be cracked, the longest it’s taken for any FM game to go uncracked, SI saw 17% higher sales than they would normally. So they do see the value in DRM but Jacobson also learned that “there are people out there who will simply not play a game if they can’t pirate it.”
“I used to get very irate about it but pirates are going to pirate. Now we just base our business models around the people who are buying the game.”
And the people who are buying the game are absolutely loving it.
We’ll have more on Football Manager next week, including the football players who shouldn’t exist.