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Winning UK is FIFA Manager's "goal"

In "two years or so", says dev.

EA's and FIFA Manager developer Bright Future's hopes to win the loyalty of the UK audience in the next "two years or so".

Football Manager may rule the roost, but Bright Future's Gerald Koehler told Eurogamer that FIFA Manager has plenty of clout of its own.

"Football Manager is the main game in the UK, but FIFA Manager has around 95 per cent market share in Germany," the executive producer revealed.

"Players in this genre are really loyal - they stay with their game. It's really, really tough; you need such a long time to learn a game that loyalty has to grow step by step.

"But [boosting our UK market share] is our goal for the next two years or so."

Bright Future tried having outspoken Chelsea FC manager Jose Mourinho on the game's UK box once. That, surprisingly, "didn't work".

Koehler said the rivalry between FIFA Manager and Football Manager isn't the same as that between the FIFA series of games and Pro Evolution Soccer. That's partly because the two management games are "really different".

But that may also have something to do with Koehler feeling "absolutely no pressure" from EA. In fact, the benefits of the FIFA name stretch only as far as sharing artwork, official names, clubs and stadiums.

"We are one of the smaller franchises," Koehler admitted. "It's really a niche market and there aren't really a lot of games left.

"Some weeks ago I saw a top 20 chart from the UK from 15 years ago and nine games were football management sims! It's completely different today. Now only two are left."

One area of growth Koehler sees is online with browser games that have "pretty impressive numbers".

"Football Manager Live is probably the best you can do with a classic approach to the game for a limited number of people. There is very tough competition between the players and for every game you must have a loser, and they get very frustrated," said Koehler.

"But a different approach is now coming up on Facebook where you don't have too many frustrated people - everybody can build up something and have fun. And fun is more important than winning or having the best possible team or tactics and working very hard just to prepare for one match."

As for other areas for growth, Koehler's convinced "it makes no sense to take FIFA Manager and make a console version". "It's too tedious without a mouse," he said.

One avenue Koehler definitely won't pursue is comedy. UK gamers, he said, "take things very seriously".

"Before I worked for EA I made On the Ball. It was a game that tried to catch the silly side of football," revealed Koehler. "A lot of the fun in the game was lost in translation. In Germany we had lots of pretty funny things like witches brewing potions for use at half-time. Every funny event in real-life was put in the game. When a player injured themselves in a strange way we played on that in game.

"Today we can't do these things because the UK version scored between 20 and 30 per cent. The UK take things very seriously," he chastised. "Some things work in one country but not in another."

FIFA Manager 11 will be released in the UK on 29th October. A demo will precede the game by "two or three weeks".

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Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Associate Editor

Bertie is a synonym for Eurogamer. Writes, podcasts, looks after the Supporter Programme. Talks a lot.