Interview: A new vision for Football Manager 2013

Sports Interactive's Jacobson explains how his team is trying to appeal to all tastes

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CVG reader RobbieJ' has asked if a PS Vita version was going to be available. We thought it would be a good idea to pass that question onto you.
We actually found out by accident that you can play the PSP version of Football Manager Handheld on Vita. At the moment, this year there will not be a specific Vita version. I really like the device, I know it may not have performed at retail as much as people would have liked, but we're constantly watching to see if it does pick up. It is a really special device, and hopefully it will get to the stage where we can get something through Sega so Football Manager can be on the system.

At the end of the day, we are running a business and we need our games to be profitable, so we have to take into account the sales of the Vita version before making a decision.

So the project is dependent on the sales of the Vita itself?
Yeah, and Sony are giving it a good push at the moment so we'll see how it goes.

With regards to the iOS edition, have you played New Star Soccer?
I've been playing New Star Soccer for nine years since it was first released on PC. Simon Read, who's created the series, is a really clever guy and a lot of people in the studio are fans. But it's not Just New Star Soccer that's doing well. There's Fluid Football which is great, and then there's the brilliant Score, which is my favourite of the bunch.

The scene for sports games on iOS is very vibrant in the UK, and is driven by a group of really clever and lovely people.


Clearly you're on good terms with Simon Read, but do you consider New Star Soccer to be a competitor?
No. I don't consider many games to be competitors. All games have their own values and I don't think rivalries are a particularly good thing.

In terms of 'mind-share', surely there is an element of competition?
Well we just have to make sure that our games are as good as they possibly can be, and make sure that we are entertaining as many people as possible. We are fighting for mind-share against not just games but all entertainment and of course this other thing called life. People just have less and less time to consume things, and that's exactly what Football Manager Classic is for.

With regards to Classic, how much will people have to pay for microtransactions?
They are going to be as cheap as possible. For the unlockable features, we're looking at probably something like 69p for each - but we haven't finalised any prices. For transfers, small amounts of cash will be cheap, and of course large amounts of cash will cost more.

We don't want people to focus on that side too much, but we want people to be able to accelerate their progress if they so wish. I'm not allowed to say the word cheat [laughs].


It also allows people to play out a fantasy as a Saudi Arabian prince that can invest huge sums of money into a club.
Yeah it does. But again we don't want to push this on people. With New Star Soccer, I had spent a lot of money on in-app unlockables straight away, and that kind of ruined the experience for me. So we want to balance this carefully.

I was actually playing Classic mode last night, and I really wished the in-game features were available, because I've now had four work permits turned down on players that I really want in my team.

So the microtransactions definitely allow you to progress faster in Classic mode, but you don't have to buy anything. You can play the game for fifty seasons without buying anything.

With Sega relying on the success of Football Manager more than ever, do you feel more pressure to deliver for the company?
Not at all. Sega has been brilliant. They literally leave us alone, they have great territory teams as part of the new structure, and it's very strange having as much freedom as you like.

Finally, as a foot-note, it's great to see you're adding in a director of football into Football Manager.
Thank you.

I imagine it will be a relationship you have to maintain over your career, which of course could make the whole progression more interesting.
Yeah definitely, and the director of football works in different ways in relation to how you want them to work with you. You can let them get on with the transfers, or you can build your own shortlist for them to pursue. It's a feature we've thought about for a while.

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