It’s the release day of the most popular and successful football management game franchise of all time, “Football Manager 2009” (née “Championship Manager”). Having sold millions of units since the early 1990s, the mere announcement of a game is enough to guarantee a #1 hit across Europe and that’s what will probably happen again.
In spite of being plagued by minor (and occasional major) bugs that require a quick-fix patch (or, to use the one-time popular euphamism of the game designers, “Enhancement Pack”), this can be overlooked given the complexity of the game.
The 2009 version of the game was not well-received when released as a demo a few weeks ago. A significant number of users had problems even launching the game (which now features a much-vaunted 3D view of match day). A significant number also reported jerkiness and poor performance of the match engine even though it itself was not advanced technology (granted, the number crunching “under the hood” is very detailed).
I played it and was quite unimpressed with the 3D. I have looked forward to seeing a 3D representation for some time but found it wholly unconvincing and performing poorly on my decent 3.6GHZ workstation with 2GB of RAM and a 256MB Quadro FX 3400 graphics card. However, I’ve read that performance improvements, once the release-day patch is applied, make the game far more palatable.
But today there has been uproar as the DRM on the disc required that users either validated their game online or phoned a helpline to register their game. I haven’t looked in any great detail at the numerous threads on their forum (linked above) but some sample subject lines are “I wany an apology!”, “Key Code Problem, Please Help?”, “As SoftAnchor won’t work….”, “Sanity Check : Is anyone playing the game without any issues?” … and many more. Sega (the game distributors) have acknowledge and apologised for the problems people have had trying to play the game.
But that’s not the reason I’m not buying it. The reason I’m not buying it is the price. Below are my e-receipts for the last four versions of the game. From 2004 to 2007 I have paid no more than £19 for the game (nor would I).
Now, in time of recession, for whatever reason, the price has jumped significantly. The cheapest I can find online is over £25.
This is probably a combination of increased costs and businesses (Sega and the retail outlets) both seeing an opportunity to increase margins. Well, this price point has lost them one sale (no doubt offset many times over by the hundreds of thousands willing to pay the extra £6) and by the looks of things they are in no position to claim any brownie points over today’s events.