Football Manager developer disagrees with Sony criticism of Xbox Game Pass – That’s Gaming

Microsoft and Sony have adopted very different philosophies in building their gaming portfolios, and how they handle subscription services is perhaps the biggest difference between the two. While PlayStation Plus remains a complementary service on top of Sony’s flagship offerings, Xbox Game Pass, on the other hand, is a central part of what Microsoft is building.

The difference in approach between the two companies came out in a very public way recently when, during the Microsoft vs. FTC trial, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan called Game Pass “value-destroying” in his testimony and said that the service is unanimously viewed that way by publishers.

One developer that has consistently supported Game Pass and disagrees, however, is Sports Interactive, the studio behind Football Manager. In a recent interview with Eurogamer, studio head Miles Jacobson discussed the issue and said Sports Interactive would not have agreed to a Game Pass deal if it was not profitable from a business standpoint.

“We run quite a tight ship, and I like our studio to be profitable – Sega took a big gamble on us all those years ago, and their shareholders – however weird it might sound – should be rewarded for that,” Jacobson said. “So we don’t tend to do deals that are bad for any parts of the business.”

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Jacobson went on to explain that the success of Football Manager on Game Pass has also allowed Sports Interactive to expand the franchise in other ways, including attracting players who had never played it before, as well as helping the studio to better understand the demands of the live service space.

“The simple fact is that Game Pass and Apple Arcade have brought new people to the franchise who had never played it before,” he said. “I’m confident enough that we will now retain those consumers for a long time, no matter what platforms we use. Fiscally, it makes sense. Creatively, it makes sense.

“Also in terms of learning points, it makes sense. We looked at games as a service … Game Pass and Apple Arcade are games as service platforms that we’re in. So you also learn a lot more about that audience as you go along. And we would never have reached five million players on FM23 without the audience on those platforms – with PlayStation as an added bonus on top, because we did much better on PlayStation than we expected.”

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Speaking specifically about Ryan’s previously mentioned comments about Game Pass, Jacobson expressed his disagreement, saying that while every studio and company will have a different view, Sports Interactive’s vision does not necessarily match Ryan’s comments.

“Every studio has to make their own decisions, but I don’t recognize some of the quotes I see from other studios and witness statements,” he said. “I don’t recognize that in our business. For us, everything is very positive.”

For several years in a row, annual editions of Football Manager have been available through Game Pass, and the same is expected to be true of this year’s title. Although concrete details have yet to be confirmed, Football Manager 2024 is expected to be released sometime in November.

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