Key point: if you're a beta-tester, don't pre-order until you have the e-mail.
We are very happy to announce that we'll be starting to take pre-orders for Football Manager Live in the coming days.
We know we've still got a couple of issues to sort with the opening day of gameworlds, but we're working on those now and once those are sorted, we are ready to roll.
As places are going to be in short supply at first, I wanted to take the time to explain to you the launch plan.
There is no set "release date" for the game as there would be for a standard retail release. This is because Football Manager Live (FML) is not a standard game release, but a subscription based service, and therefore, much like something like the launch of Sky HD, there will be a release period of a few months. This period is likely to start in October.
During this release period, gameworlds will be started, and therefore places will be available, as and when the hardware and service levels are able to be there for new customers. We want to ensure that everyone who plays FML has the best quality experience possible.
The timetable for release is thus.
Wednesday 20th August – beta testers invited to take up their spaces in the first gameworlds. The beta testers should wait until they have received an email which will give them access, so keep an eye on your inboxes!
Thursday 21st August at 6pm – people on the FML registered mailing list, and people reading these forums, invited to pre-order.
There will be 14 gameworlds available in this phase, or 14,000 places. We expect these to fill quickly, and do expect some people to be disappointed, but these are the optimum amount of gameworlds to be launching in the first few weeks of release. When these 14,000 spaces are full, we will have 1 gameworld at a time available, until another 6 are full. This means that during the "launch window" as it's called, there will be 20,000 spaces available.
Once these 20 gameworlds are sold out, people who haven't got into any of the gameworlds will be invited to join a "gameworld alert" mailing list. This will be the only way to find out when gameworlds after this initial phase are to be launched. We hope to be able to launch new gameworlds every few days, on a first come, first served basis. This phase will likely stay in place until January.
Please also note that FML will be English language only for the foreseeable future. When we have plans to release non-English language game worlds, we will, of course, announce this on these forums. This will definitely not be in 2008, and most likely not til the latter part of 2009.
Come January, we’ll be telling the world about FML with a large marketing and PR campaign, and there will be lots of spaces available. In February, we will aim to launch a retail boxed version of FML in a few countries, still to be confirmed.
I should probably explain how subscribing to FML will work!
The FML client (as in the piece of software that will work on your computer that you’d normally buy on a CD or DVD) will be free. When you subscribe to the service, you will be given a link where you can download on PC and/or Mac. You can use this software on as many computers as you want to, and download it as often as you want to.
You subscribe to the service for a set period of time. Initially, these will be 3 monthly, 6 monthly, or annually, with a cheaper fee per month the longer you subscribe.
Unlike most MMO’s that charge you for the client, and then for future expansion packs on top of the subscription, for FML we are using a development practise that we’ve dubbed "constant development". What this means that we’ll be adding new features to the game every few months, and will keep subscribers in the loop on what we are working on through the FML forums which are available to subscribers to the game. The first of these updates is due in January 2009, and every few months after that.
We fully understand that some people are going to miss out on the initial places, and are going to be disappointed with that. However, we felt it was very important to release the service in this way to ensure that everyone has a great experience from the off – walking before you can run is very important. This is because we’ve seen too many MMO launches hitting issues in the first few days and weeks recently, which is something we want to avoid. There will be enough spaces for everyone in the coming months, and we ask those of you who don’t get to play in the first few worlds to be patient – we know there is a lot of anticipation for the game despite us not doing any PR or marketing on it for a while, but we’re hoping the plan we have in place will ensure that those most loyal to our games through these forums and who signed up to get information on the game are rewarded with the initial spaces.
Unfortunately, there will also be other disappointed people, as there are quite a few countries that we are not allowed to sell the game in at launch. This is for a variety of reasons - some legal, some because we aim to have local partners in countries when non-English language versions are available, and some because the payment system being used won't allow payments from those countries. The full list of these is - Brazil, Chile, Singapore, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Korea, Republic of Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Serbia, Montenegro, Uruguay & Vietnam. If you have any questions or comments about this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will reply - please note that this is one of the rare cases where this is very much out of our (SI's) hands, so there's no point asking us questions about it, as we don't have answers
So, one thing left to talk about, and that’s pricing of the service. As I mentioned above, this will come in various "plans" initially. The longer you subscribe for, the cheaper per month the game will cost.
The initial subscription pricing is
3 months - £22.99
6 months - £43.99
12 months - £72.99
Payment in most countries is available via credit/debit card or via PayPal, with Visa, Mastercard, Switch/Maestro and Electron all usable. In some countries, payment is only available via PayPal.
If you have any questions, this thread is the place to ask – but please make sure you’ve read the thread in full before asking questions to ensure that they haven’t been asked already! We’ll also add the best questions to the FAQ for FML, which you can find over at www.footballmanagerlive.com, which is also the place to find out more about the game. Remember, this is NOT Football Manager online, so do not expect the same experience that you get from the Football Manager series. FML is your club, your way, your management style!