Jacobson "delighted" by ELSPA download chart

Sports Interactive studio director believes PC platform is "still thriving" as FM11 is revealed

Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson has told that he's "delighted" by ELSPA's announcement yesterday regarding the trade organisation's plans for a PC download chart in the UK.

"I'm delighted by the announcement, and it's something I've been lobbying for for a couple of years - it's great to be able to compare how your titles are doing against others in the industry, and learning from it," he said of the move.

The news came on the same day as the SEGA studio unveiled this year's edition of Football Manager, a game that has become one of the most successful annual franchises in the industry over the past two decades - but despite that, the game has more new features this time around than any previous version of Football Manager.

"We changed our dev practises a couple of years ago that included more production documentation," he explained when asked how the team rose up to the challenge of keeping the title fresh. "On doing so, we found that we had well over 1500 ideas for the game sitting there, lost - so I think we've going to be fine for a few years yet, particularly as those ideas have sparked lots more too.

"It also helps that the football world is always changing, so there are always things to look at, and we've got to a stage now where we're pretty much welcomed into the football world, so we've been able to learn a lot from many people who work directly in the game.

Football Manager 2011

Football Manager 2011 is the latest iteration of Sports Interactive's hugely popular franchise.

And while Jacobson has a vested interest in the success of the PC platform - where the vast majority of the team's sales come from - he's clear about his belief that it's still going strong - despite others concluding, from falling boxed game sales, that it is dying off... hence the need for a download chart.

"[It's] still thriving, even if in a slightly different way," he said. "The boxed market is now dominated sales-wise by a few key brands and studios, but the indie scene is going from strength to strength on both PC and other platforms, the Steam platform has breathed life into the market for both PC & Mac and given many smaller studios huge opportunities, which many have taken.

"The casual market is also huge on the PC and there's 'gaming' too. So it's still very strong, but FPS games have shifted to consoles, so there are less boxes being sold on the platform."

And finally, with David Beckham and the World Cup showing, has a newfound popularity for soccer led to greater penetration in North America for Football Manager?

"Yes - it's slow but sure," he said. "The iPhone version of Football Manager Handheld actually performed really well in the US, outselling FM but also introducing a lot of people to the type of game. We're hoping to see a bigger increase this year."

Football Manager 2011 is set for release before the end of this year.

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