That day has come - mobile technology has reached a point where it can handle a more substantial Football Manager experience. And that experience is the more friendly/streamlined Football Manager Classic game that's become a popular part of Football Manager on PC.
A touch-tailored version for newer Apple (Air 1 and 2, Mini 2 and 3) and Android tablets will be released tonight. The iOS release is midnight local time everywhere except Australia, where the game comes out about now. The Android release date is midnight UK time (BST) and however that translates for your region.
"Basically this is the Classic game mode from PC on tablet," Miles Jacobson, from developer Sports Interactive, told me. "There are very few differences between the two."
That means a 3D match engine - rather than basic top-down dots on a pitch - on mobile for the first time, more data and more options. There are 14 nations and 35 leagues in Football Manager Handheld, for example, and there are 51 nations and 139 leagues in Classic. The new game will be available in 16 languages rather than the four in FMH. Save-transfers aren't in this version but the longer-term plan for Classic is to have saves transferable across PC (Windows, Linux), Mac, Android and iOS devices.
"I'm just delighted there are finally tablet devices that are capable of it," Jacobson beamed. Apparently it took a lot of work to technically shrink it onto tablets with "no compromises".
But it being a full PC game means it comes at a premium price of £14.99.
"It is a full product, as in, it is a full PC product, so we're going with a price of £14.99, which is obviously high for iOS but very cheap for PC and Mac," explained Jacobson. "We've been debating this one quite a lot and looking at quite a lot of different models, but for the amount of playtime that people are going to get it's still fantastic value for money."
Nevertheless, it's hard to think of examples of games on tablet that cost as much (Final Fantasy 6 at £11.99 is the closest I came).
"I can't think of many examples of full PC games that are on tablet," Jacobson responded. "If you were playing the full Civilization experience on tablet rather than Civilization Revolution, would you expect that to be the same price as the PC version or not?"
Football Manager Classic won't replace Football Manager Handheld - the latter will continue, offering a simpler experience for older phone and tablet devices. There are some "quite big" plans already for FMH 16 and 17, Jacobson said.
Football Manager Classic debuted as a simplified, back to basics mode in FM 2013. It went down really well, and it's progressed every year since. Check out our Football Manager 2014 and 2015 reviews for more.
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