Miles Jacobson, the head of Sports Interactive, said that “Football Manager Live will be released, but we're not having a release day, or anything like that”. The idea is that the developer hopes to have what's called a “soft launch”, where just a portion of the game is initially available, in order to be able to see how it works and to make the necessary tweaks.
Jacobson revealed that “this year there'll be a limited amount of game worlds launched, which are available for people to pre-order at the moment, and they should be released before the end of the year. Then there'll be a proper push on FML early next year”. First, Sports Interactive wants to have English only servers handling a limited number of players, while retail copies of the game will only become available in 2009, probably in the first trimester.
A player will be able to buy a subscription for a minimum of three months, or for six or twelve months if he enjoys the game. Each couple of months, content patches will be delivered via digital download and the developers say that they are not planning to charge for anything other than the subscription.
A football themed massive online game is a pretty big undertaking, mostly because there's a huge amount of data that must be compiled and then made available to the player. There's also the question related to establishing the leagues.
The basis for the MMO will be the engine which is already powering Football Manager 2009, supposed to be released for the PC and for the PlayStation Portable, on November 14. The game will feature a 3D match engine for the first time and will allow the player more control over all the aspects of team management, especially the transfer of players and the events in the pre and post match press conferences.