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Should Football Manager switch to a release every 2 years?

Should FM switch to a release every 2 years?  

476 members have voted

  1. 1. Should FM switch to a release every 2 years?

    • Yes, with the roster update for the off year
    • Yes, without the roster update for the off year
    • No, it is fine the way it is
    • Other - Please explain below


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Though I am relatively new to Football Manager, I find the issue with it to be like a lot of the other sports games on the market. Annual releases cause two things to happen. 1) Few new features are implemented. 2) Games are released with more bugs than should be acceptable.

I've noticed some people in the past say they always wait for three to six months after release to buy the game so it's been patched and a more enjoyable experience. I've also personally noticed that the game really doesn't get fixed. For example, FM '13 had a lot of bugs when SI announced they were done patching the game. One important bug I noticed that never got fixed was the odds. If your team was a heavy underdog, then a lot of times in the pep talk, the options you'd be given were as if you were a favorite or vice versa. While that may not be a major deal, in a game where morale is super important, it *could* have had a major impact on the game. Especially if you had a press conference before hand addressing opposite odds.

FM14's big selling point was having over 1,000 game improvements. That sounds like a lot, but I am sure the majority are things no one notices... many of them may also have been bug fixes from '13 labeled as an improvement.

So my point is this. An annual release does not allow SI to release the game as polished as it should be. It forces games to be released too soon and patching ends too quick so (I assume) development can begin on the next version. What I propose is a semi-annual release with a full roster update during the off year available for say $5 or $10. This would allow the development team more time to test and polish off the game before release and it would allow for less complaints for fans from the game. What do you all think?

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It's a pointless debate. Without the sales a yearly release generates the series wouldn't survive. It will always be released every year.

I don't understand this point. There are many games that release only once every couple years and the companies do just fine. Granted many of them are mega companies with more backers, but still. Is it possible their sales wouldn't even drop that much as I am sure I am not the only one who only buys every other year anyways. The annual roster update could help fill the financial gaps and may even benefit as people like me, who normally wouldn't give any extra money in that time, would potentially pay for the update.

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They would need to double the price, because you can't just halve your sales and hope to survive.

The only thing they could do without a massive price hike is move to a subscription model of the game (which I doubt would be well received) or remain as it is.

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The worst idea in history for me, why would you want to skip a season? It's called FM15 for a reason.

I don't know, Operation Barbarossa was pretty bad too.

The problem with a semi-annual release as well is that it's unlikely to catch all the bugs, as the complexity of the game means it really does need a massive beta test (i.e. the whole fanbase) to really catch them all.

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Pointless debate. FM will be released every year like all other profitable sports video games. It doesn't make economic sense. Why say no to money from a million sales from SI's perspective?

Annual releases that cost $50 each ($100), vs semi-annual release ($50+$10 = $60). Yeah, that's not gonna work unless you can somehow make billions of dollars back in sales (looking at you, GTA 5 :D).

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If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

I certainly agree with the point that the game isn't "done" before the last patch comes out after christmas, but SI sell shitloads of copies every year. And, to be fair, it is a great, great game (eventually, at least).

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They would need to double the price, because you can't just halve your sales and hope to survive.

The only thing they could do without a massive price hike is move to a subscription model of the game (which I doubt would be well received) or remain as it is.

A subscription model would be horrible, I agree. But they wouldn't need to double the price. For them to double the price, you assume everyone buys the game each season. While I know the true hardcore players do buy it each year, I believe there are probably more (that likely never visit these forums) that do not. Personally, I get bored with the game after a few months then start it up again. I am never ready to start over by the time the next version is released.

The worst idea in history for me, why would you want to skip a season? It's called FM15 for a reason.

The roster update would prevent you from really skipping a season.

The problem with a semi-annual release as well is that it's unlikely to catch all the bugs, as the complexity of the game means it really does need a massive beta test (i.e. the whole fanbase) to really catch them all.

This is a fair point. How about those that are willing to order the game early get access to a beta version six months prior?

Also, if we were to skip FM16, we would still get the exact same FM17 either way, so it just doesn't make any sense at all to skip FM16.

Except there would be less bugs due to the extra time. The interface and what not may be the same, however. But sometimes that is a good thing. I am still not liking the interface change from '13 until now nor am I liking the tactics screen. Of course, that is personal opinion as I am sure many think it's excellent how it is now.

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Except there would be less bugs due to the extra time. The interface and what not may be the same, however. But sometimes that is a good thing. I am still not liking the interface change from '13 until now nor am I liking the tactics screen. Of course, that is personal opinion as I am sure many think it's excellent how it is now.

There wouldn't be less bugs at all, as they'd add double the amount of features between releases if they adopted your proposed system which would result in double the number of bugs.

Time isn't what SI need to make it bug free, they need more sales so they can justify hiring more people to work on the game.

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There wouldn't be less bugs at all, as they'd add double the amount of features between releases if they adopted your proposed system which would result in double the number of bugs.

Time isn't what SI need to make it bug free, they need more sales so they can justify hiring more people to work on the game.

I don't think they would double the features though. A lot of times new features are just changes from prior versions. Thus without the middle version, there would only be one change instead of two. I am tempted to reinstall Worldwide Soccer Manager 2009 and just see how much is actually different from today. The general core of the game seems to be the same since then.

Unfortunately, when you have a niche game like this, your sales really are limited. I play it because I enjoy the idea of management and sifting through text doesn't bother me... most these days want graphics and more so, they want to be able to play the sport the title focuses on. Not just watch it. Thus there is no real way to get a massive increase in sales.

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You would have to pay for the season update (surely) and the only way for it to make economical sense would be to sell it at the same price as they would have sold the game, otherwise as a company they lose profit. Let's remember, this isn't just a game, it's a business.

There would be no extra time at all, they'd work on the stuff they would work on normally for FM16 which would still take the whole year as usual, then they would move onto the stuff they would work on for FM17, please explain where this extra time comes from.

The season update would only be a roster update. While I know that definitely takes lots of time, I am sure it's only a fraction of the total development time. Let's say that instead of doubling the features, they do 1.33 times the amount they normally would. On a theoretical 24 month cycle (it's not that long as the first few months are dedicated to fixing the past released version), then you could say they would use 12 months of the 24 month cycle for new content and 12 months for debugging. Whereas before, they would have used nine months of adding features and three months debugging. Again, obviously this is not the actual breakdown. Just an example.

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An example of something that would not be doubled is improvements to graphics during 3d matches. There is a significant improvement to the models used in FM'15 compared to '13. I don't know if the changes came more last year, more this year, or improved equally over both years. But graphics are something that improve as technology improves. As people's average systems become more powerful, better graphics can be added. Thus if graphics were to theoretically increase 100% from FM '13 to '14 and 100% from FM '14 to FM '15, then it's likely that if you skipped '14, the graphics would have simply improved 200% from FM '13 to FM '15.

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Didn't Champ Man do this? And didn't they disappear?

Based on Wikipedia (I know, great source, right?), it appears Championship Manager immediately began declining once the split occurred. I would think their demise would be more to lack of room for competition in a genre with such a small fanbase.

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"SI, I think it would be a good idea if you halved your income, and released your game every 2 years".

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Based on Wikipedia (I know, great source, right?), it appears Championship Manager immediately began declining once the split occurred. I would think their demise would be more to lack of room for competition in a genre with such a small fanbase.

CM went to a 'every 2nd year' release and now they are dead and buried.

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"SI, I think it would be a good idea if you halved your income, and released your game every 2 years".

Again, it would not be halved. To be halved, every last person who plays would have to buy it every year. I really doubt the majority of people do that. With Steam, I am sure they could find statistics on that.

Yeah, great way to kill a business.

The game is very playable upon yearly release.

Playable, yes. Rome Total War II was playable on release... It was also very buggy and didn't work properly. The game today is completely different from launch. I think gamers deserve a mostly polished version of a game when they buy them.

CM went to a 'every 2nd year' release and now they are dead and buried.

Actually, Championship manager is not dead. There is actually a Champ Man 2015, except it's strictly a mobile app. I found it on my Android and it says it has over a million downloads. Of course, it has in-app purchases so I am sure it's garbage (I don't believe in the modern trend of microtransactions). But it's certainly not dead. As for why the traditional versions have died. As I already stated. Likely because it had strong competition in Football Manager. Not because it went semi-annually.

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Just to clarify- your suggestion is that the game becomes biennial, which is every two years and not semi-annual, which is every six months.

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Just to clarify- your suggestion is that the game becomes biennial, which is every two years and not semi-annual, which is every six months. I will change the thread title.

Now that you have mentioned that, you are correct. For some reason, I was thinking biennial was twice per year. Thanks for the correction.

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Now that you have mentioned that, you are correct. For some reason, I was thinking biennial was twice per year. Thanks for the correction.

We have all made that mistake-thread title now edited.

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Again, it would not be halved. To be halved, every last person who plays would have to buy it every year. I really doubt the majority of people do that. With Steam, I am sure they could find statistics on that.

It really does not matter. Any way you look at it, they would lose all income the year that they're not releasing the game. If we work on the presumption that sales are roughly equal each year, that would mean halving their income. But even if it was much less than that, let's say as "little" as 25% - that would simply not be anything SI - or any other business with a somewhat sane board - would even consider.

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Bugs will always appear whether you're a big company like EA or a small one like SI. The fact the bugs FM have are considerably less than (lets say) FIFA shows that what SI needs is support to release a quality game every year. You get what I'm saying, don't you?

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We have all made that mistake-thread title now edited.

To be fair, there is a word biannual, which does mean once every two years, which I assume is what he meant. Also, the context of his sentences made it obvious.

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Bugs will always appear whether you're a big company like EA or a small one like SI. The fact the bugs FM have are considerably less than (lets say) FIFA shows that what SI needs is support to release a quality game every year. You get what I'm saying, don't you?

The problem people have, which is where almost all frustration comes from, and where this thread came from, is with blatant and obvious bugs. It is accepted that complex games will have bugs but it is expected that the most obvious ones will be found before release.

FM always releases with bugs like promotions don't work, players ask for something then don't want it immediately after, players moaning about irrational things, wages going from 10k to 150k, defenders not following instructions etc.

No other game is released with fundamental bugs and this is what frustrates FM fans.

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To be fair, there is a word biannual, which does mean once every two years, which I assume is what he meant. Also, the context of his sentences made it obvious.

Biannual means twice a year according to my dictionary- I was not being picky, just clarifying, even assuming that the intention was clear.

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Bugs will always appear whether you're a big company like EA or a small one like SI. The fact the bugs FM have are considerably less than (lets say) FIFA shows that what SI needs is support to release a quality game every year. You get what I'm saying, don't you?

EA was a bad example to use here because I loathe EA. They love pumping out games yearly and they are full of bugs. Worse yet, EA often doesn't fix them. They release a patch or two and call it good. They also load their modern sports games with micro-transactions. I do understand they need support for sure. But how about a builders program? Those that donate so much get little things in game mentioned (such as maybe their name on a hotdog stand).

I knew you'd come back with some more rubbish, I seem to know you too well and I've only just come across your name recently.

You do seem quite obsessed with me as of late.

So what your suggesting to create this extra time for cleaning up the bugs is to cut out 6 months from making improvements to the game and giving a lot more time to debugging. Well with the quote above about what your issues are, you mention there isn't enough new features? Right... Let's cut 6 months out of making improvements because that will allow SI to make plenty of features then won't it?

You are attempting to look far too intellectual, when in hindsight your far from the mark.

My suggestion is to have more time all around for BOTH new features and debugging. Look at a Madden or FIFA game. They barely change from year to year, but if you skip one iteration and come back two years later, then sometimes you notice some significant changes. The same is with FM. The changes are generally small iteration to iteration as there is only so much you can do. But if you have two years worth of changes, or even a year and a half, then it would seem more significant.

Also remember that more debugging time early on will also increase more time on the back end as there will be less work required on post-release patches.

I should point out that I do really enjoy the series even if I am often critical. But Damian pretty much hit it on the head. These are things that could be caught with a longer production cycle. And to be honest, from a strictly business stand point, I can understand SI doing yearly releases. Because everyone is right. Biennial releases would cause them to lose *some* of their profits. The exact amounts would depend on how many would pay for the roster update and how many don't buy the game every year regardless. Having said that, from a consumer stand point, it sometimes feels rushed and disappointing.

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I couldn't be bothered reading your post after

You are a clueless child.

In fact I've got a solution for you, forget about this whole pointless idea and just buy the game every other year.

Sorry to but in, but you insult him and call him a child...

Ironic?

As an aside, why does he irritate you? Whilst I do not agree with him on this, I thought he was constructive in making his point, with no abuse etc. Nothing wrong with debate.

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The best thing to do if you can't deal with the bugs is wait until the final patch every year, then buy it at a discount.

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Online polls are pointless as it only captures the few hundred that visit these here forums.

SI know how to run their business and there's no debate over that - unless you work for SI or on their Board.

Silly argument with no basis in reality.

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Based on Wikipedia (I know, great source, right?), it appears Championship Manager immediately began declining once the split occurred. I would think their demise would be more to lack of room for competition in a genre with such a small fanbase.

It didn't help that their first few instalments were awful.

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As I said in the beginning, it's a pointless argument as no matter how you dress it up SI will lose half their income, the vast majority of FM players buy it every year and there's no way SI would be able to make up those sales using your suggested development schedule.

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I dont know about vast majority buying it every year, perhaps vast majority of those you know, me personally, I have switched to buying every 2 years (and I haven't yet bought FM2015) simply because by the time a new release comes out I've not "finished" with my long term save from a previous iteration due to lack of time.

I voted for every year on the poll, but I could perhaps envision a two-year cycle. Say the base game normally costs £30 from most stores, a 2-year edition would probably be hiked to £40 with a £10 DLC for the next years database update. Obviously sales and cdkey stores would mean some would get it cheaper than that, but in theory it could sort of work. Although how many would the extra price put off I wonder, even knowing it meant a game supported for longer?

Either way, subscription model definitely would make no sense as the loss of save-game compatability is a part of the reason they are allowed to make changes between releases.

I do think they are better off carrying on with the current format.

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Actually wouldn't mind if they released a "database" for the current year for say £20

I'm still playing Fm12.

Wouldn't mind if the database and players/clubs/reputations were updated.

I'd pay for that.

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Longer Dev time doesnt necessarily mean better game, might just mean more problems will arise. Having said that for a 2-3 year cycle the game is pretty much the same just prettier (as in not many features are added, i know this year you were bigging up all the new stuff but i really cant see the difference apart from a new skin that is hard to navigate!) and the thing that got me hooked on the original CM 01/02 is that you didnt need a supercomputer to run it, all you needed was a 133Hz processor with 16mb graphics card! But now you need (while not a supercomputer) but something in the region of half decent (a 2gb processor with a load of ram and half decent graphics card). Frankly is SI decided to have a 2year Dev cycle for FM with a database update for the off year (for a modest fee of course, £15-20 would be totally acceptable) then i would support it

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I should point out that I do really enjoy the series even if I am often critical. But Damian pretty much hit it on the head. These are things that could be caught with a longer production cycle. And to be honest, from a strictly business stand point, I can understand SI doing yearly releases. Because everyone is right. Biennial releases would cause them to lose *some* of their profits. The exact amounts would depend on how many would pay for the roster update and how many don't buy the game every year regardless. Having said that, from a consumer stand point, it sometimes feels rushed and disappointing.
You're talking about a series on PC with a very healthy modding scene, so I don't think there'd be very many at all who'd pay even a small fee for a roster update when they can reliably get it for free (and if modding tools were removed to accommodate such a change in the business model, that'd upset the community considerably more)

Also, your primary argument for a two-year dev cycle is more time for testing stuff so obvious bugs are removed, but Championship Manager 2010 had a two-year cycle and it was still abysmally bug-ridden. This included bloopers such as a replay of a goal where the goalkeeper saved the ball because he jumped to the right when the goal was scored but jumped to the left in the replay, and in another match (not my own) Arsenal beat Spurs 3-0 despite being reduced to ten men and I wanted to check the highlights. In the highlights, there was no indication at all of a red card in the match, and the first goal was apparently scored by someone who never even played in the match (the highlight clearly had Rosicky scoring and it was listed as his goal, even though outside the highlights everything I found suggested the goal was scored by their new signing Misimovic and that Rosicky was an unused sub). There were also issues like a scout report that said someone had potential to be an established first-team player at one of the best clubs in the world but simultaneously recommended not signing him because he wasn't currently as good as the players already there. I found more bugs (and far more obvious ones) in the 3-4 hours I played CM10 than in the 100+ hours I put into FM15's beta.

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All they have to do is increase the public beta time from two weeks before the release to a month or two before at least. In three weeks we have gone to 15.1.4 which is a far better playable experience than 15.0.1/2/3. If they extended the beta time limit we could have had a 15.1.4 on release day and there would be far many more happy customers.

Also, for the die hard fans such as myself and thousands of others a subscription of lets say £100 for Football Manager for the next five years. Closed beta opportunities and a goody bag lets say. I would be all over a subscription. Casual gamers could still pick up the game for £25 every year and by having more closed beta participants, I'm sure they will be happier than they have been recently over games lacking overall quality on release days.

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All they have to do is increase the public beta time from two weeks before the release to a month or two before at least. In three weeks we have gone to 15.1.4 which is a far better playable experience than 15.0.1/2/3. If they extended the beta time limit we could have had a 15.1.4 on release day and there would be far many more happy customers.

Also, for the die hard fans such as myself and thousands of others a subscription of lets say £100 for Football Manager for the next five years. Closed beta opportunities and a goody bag lets say. I would be all over a subscription. Casual gamers could still pick up the game for £25 every year and by having more closed beta participants, I'm sure they will be happier than they have been recently over games lacking overall quality on release days.

But that would result in less features being added between releases as more time is used for beta testing so SI can't really win.

If you want them to release a beta and work on new features while the public test it out then they'll be releasing a game with some new features that haven't been tested and therefore bugs will still be prevalent.

The reasons the beta is two weeks before release is because that's when all major development has finished and all that's left to do is the final touches and fix any bugs that haven't been picked up so far in development/have been caused by the final build.

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I'm sure they would already have started putting some ideas towards FM16, can't imagine still having the full 100 staff working on bug fixes.

In an interview, Miles stated they have enough ideas to have atleast FM up to FM20.

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It is a pointless thread in that it's never going to happen, personally I think they should release FM twice a year :)

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It is a pointless thread in that it's never going to happen, personally I think they should release FM twice a year :)

I don't think the bug forums could handle it.

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I don't understand this point. There are many games that release only once every couple years and the companies do just fine. Granted many of them are mega companies with more backers, but still. Is it possible their sales wouldn't even drop that much as I am sure I am not the only one who only buys every other year anyways. The annual roster update could help fill the financial gaps and may even benefit as people like me, who normally wouldn't give any extra money in that time, would potentially pay for the update.

It is not a difficult concept to understand. This is a company with one product, not a company that derives revenue from multiple products. If they skipped to releasing every other year, then they would either: a) have to reduce staff, b) diversify into other games. Either way, the impact is not the one you are hoping for. Lower resources or resources that are focused on other products does not translate into more time focused on FM and more/smoother developments between versions.

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I've played CM/FM since 1997. After the release of CM4 and the infamous "strikers can't win a duel with a defender in an aerial duel"-bug I decided to not buy CM and later on FM at the release date because I wanted to wait for them to iron out all the bugs. I followed this routine throughout every release as this left me with a functioning game that I could enjoy from day 1, instead of patrolling the forums and reporting bugs, waiting for a version that would be playable.

After FM13 I felt the game got too easy, so I opted not to buy FM14 because I just felt that the game moved more and more away from the tactical side of things. Reading about FM14 and now FM15, I realized that they were back on track. So I decided to buy FM15 as soon as it got out, relishing the opportunity to get my hands on the new way of looking at tactics. At first, it seemed more simplistic and worse off than before, but I was wrong. After a few games I really enjoyed the new challenge of really understanding how tactics work in FM, how to counter certain opponents and certain tactics. I was thrilled!

Now? Not so thrilled. I now experience all to well why I earlier chose not to buy the game before february/march, not at release. The game is ridden with bugs. As of now, if you f.ex play vs a friend in a network game, it's not about creating the best team, it's about who exploits the weaknesses in the ME to the greatest extent. It's ridiculous.

Want to play Barca? Or Arsenal? Or any other team putting the emphasis on playing through the middle with neat possession as your main weapon? Wait for patches. Want to face your friend in a network game? Hope he doesn't pick Chelsea, because Azpilicueta will win him every trophy available due to his long throw-ins absolutely wrecking every team.

TL;DR: Wait for patches, buy the game 6 months after release.

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I am amazed this thread has not been locked. One thing I have learned around this forum is that negatives will not be tolerated, especially during the initial sales window. It really is disgusting. I have praised this game every single year except this year, and what I find it that my praise is accepted but any hint of negative commentary on the decisions they made this year is NOT acceptable. Will be squashed, and as a loyal customer of over 10 years I receive those loyalty points called infractions.

I support the idea of a two year release simply because SI have no real competition out there so they churn out new skins every year, and they have run out of ideas so badly that they champion Movember as a worthy new feature. They have made absurd changes to the UI just so its easier to sell the idea of a 'new' game. I have gone back to FM2014 and will not be buying next years version. Had enough now. Loyalty gets you nowhere.

SI have done a windows 8.

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I don't think the bug forums could handle it.

What I find amazing is the disconnect between the Match Engine rants in General Discussion, and the actual volume of complete Bug Reports that are raised.

There are all sorts of histrionics in here, but it is generally a sparse sea of well reasoned calm in the Bugs section.

There are obviously other sections of the game that aren't exclusively Match Engine related, but that's the bit that matters to me, and I'm intrigued by the lack of proactive bug reporting.

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Is there some kind of memo going around saying you guys must spin everything? Maybe people are fed up having to come and do a report bug and all the relevant details. Maybe people are fed up being SI's little testers. Seriously stop trying to spin everything. The game is riddled with absurd bugs, minor bugs, big bugs. bugs bugs bugs. Stop being so rude to loyal customers. You know damn well this game is riddled too.

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