Each year we give you an update on the status of copy protection and activation of Football Manager and the decisions taken as we know it’s a hot topic for many of you, although for many others it’s not really an issue at all.
As you may remember, last year we decided against any activation as we couldn't find a solution that we thought struck a balance on combatting piracy and not penalising the genuine consumer. We did make our position on anti-piracy pretty clear though, we see it as a big problem for our game and we said we'd continue to look for a solution that stopped, or made it very difficult to pirate the game and play it for free.
This year we have found what we believe is an acceptable solution. Any version of Football Manager 2012 bought on disc will have to be activated through the Steam network, so therefore purchasers will have to have an internet connection for initial activation. This is a one-time only activation which requires you to sign up for a Steam account (which is free) and to install the Steam client and once it has been done the game can be played offline by turning on Steam's Offline mode. With those two simple steps done there are no more hoops to jump through or steps to take.
We appreciate that the vast majority of people reading this post on the forums are genuine consumers of the game, and that having to activate is not as simple as putting the game in the drive and playing. However we hope that, as a fan of the game, you feel that having to do a one-time activation is worth it to try to prevent others playing the game for free and stealing what you purchase with no punishment, and with no contribution toward the future of Football Manager and it's development. Make no mistake, if a quarter of the people that usually pirate the game switch to purchasing Football Manager 2012, the sales of the game worldwide would more than double. This would lead to increased development budgets and more benefits for all of you who do buy the game.
We've taken this decision because we believe that the steps the consumer has to take are not excessive, and that as a one-time only measure with no tracking or reporting it is not too intrusive. Having worked with Steam for a few years now we also believe that their system is ever improving and gives Football Manager players a good service of free auto-updating, achievements and other great benefits without cost or hassle.
We hope you understand and support the decision. It's by no means taken lightly, although I hope for the vast majority of you it's nowhere near as big an issue as we treat it as being.
• You need to connect to the internet to activate Football Manager 2012 on PC and Mac before you start playing it
• To activate you will need to sign up to, and install the Steam client
• Once you have activated Football Manager 2012 you can then play it in Steam's "offline mode" - meaning you do not have to be connected to the internet to play
• Saved games are stored locally on your machine, but you can play Football Manager on any machine by signing into Steam and selecting it from your purchased games
• Staying connected to Steam will mean Football Manager 2012 is automatically updated with any patches or data updates released
Football Manager 2012 Activation / Steam FAQ