EA bow out of the football management genre: “One game has dominated the market”

fifa_manager_14

There are two countries in which football management games bewilder the rest of the globe by selling like billyo: England and Germany. It’s the latter where FIFA Manager developers Bright Future reside, but even there they’ve been forced to watch year after year as that other FM claimed hearts and shelf space in their stead.

FIFA Manager was an EA series, so it doesn’t get to be on Steam. Perhaps that’s a small mercy – the numbers would not have been kind. That’s why EA Sports have announced that FIFA Manager 2014 will be the last installment in the subseries.

Series lead designer Gerald Köhler was involved in the “tough decision”. Besides a “general trend” towards online and mobile games, he blamed Sports Interactive’s dominance in a niche market as a key factor in the series’ demise.

“The football manager genre at this level of sophistication is highly specialised and primarily played in two countries (England and Germany), in which – on top of everything – one game has practically dominated the market in recent years,” he wrote.

“Moreover, FM had reached a crossroads at which a new engine and/or corresponding online technology would be the only way to give the series a boost. When all these factors were evaluated, it led us to the decision to blow the final whistle.”

Whistle blown, it’s not clear what’s to become of Bright Future. But Köhler implied that support for the series wouldn’t continue – instead hoping that fan sites will go on to expand and improve the last iteration in the series “wherever they can”.

“All of us, the team at Bright Future and our colleagues at EA Sports, loved and still love FIFA Manager,” he eulogised. “It’s a game that has captivated many fans over the years, and been our pride and joy since its first instalment FIFA Manager 2002 (with Rudi Assauer on the cover).

“We’ve had Löw and Mourinho on the cover, Felix Magath twice, and many other German and international stars who have lent their expertise to the game. We were also lucky to have a very dedicated community. Your passion and commitment to FIFA Manager is unrivalled, and made the series a great joy to work on.”

FIFA Manager was released this time last month, on October 25 – just as Football Manager 2014 was busy becoming the best-selling boxed PC game in the UK, despite some serious launch issues. Be honest: did you notice?