FM 2012 requires Steam to play

Sega hopes to combat piracy.

Football Manager 2012 fans have reacted angrily to the news that the PC game requires Steam to play.

Any version of Football Manager 2012 bought on disc has to be activated through Steam, publisher Sega confirmed this month.

Gamers have to have an internet connection for initial activation - a one-time only activation which requires you sign up for a Steam account and install the Steam client.

Once done, the game can be played offline by turning on Steam's Offline mode, but that hasn't stopped fans from venting their fury on developer Sports Interactive's forum.

3802 comments fill the 39 pages (at the time of writing) that make up the "A Message On Football Manager 2012 Activation" thread.

Inside the debate on Football Manager's Steam activation rages, with some threatening to refuse to buy the game because of it.

Sega said the decision was taken to combat piracy. If a quarter of the people that usually pirate the game buy it, the publisher said, sales worldwide would more than double.

"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 combating piracy and not penalising the genuine consumer," Sega said.

"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.

"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."

"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."

Always-on internet requirements are currently a hot topic of debate among PC gamers.

Blizzard suffered a backlash of its own following the revelation that upcoming PC action RPG Diablo 3 cannot be played offline.

Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce told Eurogamer the decision was taken as part of a wider effort to create an "always-connected community" around all of its games, and that piracy was "not the driving factor".

"Ultimately, if people want to pirate the game, they're going to find ways to pirate the game whether we require an online connection or not," he said.

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