"It is with great sadness that I have to today announce that Football Manager Live will be closing at the end of next season.
Simply put, with the current level of subscribers, we can no longer afford to keep the game alive.
We’ve tried various marketing initiatives since the reset, including Google advertising, mail shots to over 100,000 people who have declared interest in the game, as well as the constant advertising to people playing Football Manager 2011 via the in game advertising hoardings which have been very successful for the third parties who advertise in game, but none of them have seen a great upswing in new or returning users.
There are other things we could have tried but, to be frank, the market just isn’t there to make the game viable and that’s due to the design decisions that we made along the way.
When we first started working on Football Manager Live many years ago, the idea behind it was to make a football management game where people would play for an hour a day, 3 or 4 days a week, and it would be a mainstream game.
The longer development went on, through alpha, then beta, then release, the feedback given to us was that this wasn’t what you, the customers, wanted from a subscription based game. The game kept moving away from our initial vision, and also from the business model and subscriber numbers we were expecting from what was meant to be a more mainstream online football management game.
We tried many different approaches in an effort to turn things around, new features, price cuts and even a reset. At times we probably listened too much to certain types of managers and it meant the game started appealing more and more to the hardcore.
The MMO market has changed massively since we started working on the game. Very few subscriber fee games have survived, with many that started in this way switching to a free-to-play model. And with the way FML is, free-to-play just wouldn’t work within the design of the game.
The key design decisions were made very early on in the project and at the time they made a lot of sense. None of us could have foreseen back then how much impact social games and free to play would have on the MMO market and we didn’t adapt quick enough to this. Decisions like only having each player available to one team naturally limited the amount of teams in each gameworld, as there are only a finite amount of good real players in the world, and limited demand for gameworlds without real players, particularly as one of the things that SI is best known for is it’s fantastic database of players put together by our global research network.
Something else we massively underestimated was people’s desire to win! When we were working on the design it was our belief that as long as people were progressing in some way, they would be happy and that winning wasn’t the only way to progress however the most common reason given for people giving up their subscriptions was that they didn’t feel they were progressing in the game, as they weren’t winning every match or in the top 100 of the gameworld. With the model in place, someone had to be taking that bottom spot, and not surprisingly, no one wanted to be that person. Or the 900 above that.
Of course none of this is your fault. It is all ours for getting it wrong, and going down an alley that made it impossible for us to just change things round for Football Manager Live.
We know that there are going to be lots of disappointed people out there with this decision, especially the 8,000 or so current subscribers that have supported the game through thick and thin. To each of you, we thank you for playing the game. For any of you who do play the final season of FML, which we hope will be all of you that are left playing at the moment, we will give each of you a Steam code for a free copy of Football Manager 2011 shortly after the final game of the final season so that you can hopefully still get some fun out of our work. If you already have a copy of FM2011, you will be able to give this code to a friend.
Everyone currently working on FML at SI are staying at the studio and have been given new roles on other projects.
Once again, we thank all of you for the huge amount of feedback that you’ve given to this project over the years, and the huge amount of hours you’ve each spent playing the game. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we have done, and understand our decision. And to be clear, it was our decision, not SEGA’s, who have been nothing but supportive with the project over the years."