Technology

Football Manager 2011 kicks-off on 5 November

Football Manager 2011
Image caption Users are restricted to tactics, rather than controlling players directly during a match

The latest football manager game from veteran game designers the Collyer brothers has been given a release date.

Football Manager 2011 is the sixth in the series and the eighteenth football manager game designed by the pair.

The title goes on sale 5 November 2010 and features a new negotiation system and updated player database.

But analysts said that it was unlikely to ship in the volumes seen by the likes of Halo Reach and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Piers Harding-Rolls - senior analyst with Screen Digest - told BBC News that it was "a European centric title" and "has an enthusiastic following".

"It will do well on the PC market, and has a broad appeal cross the football markets too," he said

"But compared to the big sellers, it doesn't match up in that respect," he added.

For a time, football management games were one of the most popular video game titles in the shops.

Championship Manager 4, released in 2003, became one of the fastest selling PC games of all time in the UK.

Graham Smith, deputy editor on PC Gamer magazine, told BBC News that while their profile had been somewhat eclipsed by "sexier" games, like Call of Duty, they were still very popular.

"Games like this always top the charts although they don't get the marketing push that we see with other titles," he said.

Timeline

The Collyer brothers created and designed the Championship Manager series, but their firm - Sports Interactive Games (SI Games) - and UK publisher Eidos parted ways after Championship Manager 4 was released.

SI Games kept all the intellectual property (IP), apart from the brand name, which was retained by Eidos. However, while the new brand Football Manager proved popular with consumers, Championship Manager failed to win fans.

"Football Managers only competitor was Championship Manager and that's gone the way of the Dodo," said Mr Smith.

One problem faced by football games of all types is improving on a game that, having been in existence for almost 20 years, is viewed by many players as "practically perfect".

Miles Jacobson, SI Games' studio director, told BBC News that while on the surface, the game looks very similar to last years edition, underneath were a multitude of changes.

"Because the game engine stays the same, if people don't spend the time playing it, then the skin is similar," he said

Image caption Tactics can make or break a team.

"However, we've got over 400 new features this year and we work very hard to improve the game," he added.

Mr Smith agreed, saying that while the firm had a "struggle" to improve things "there are always things they can tweak".

"They don't have three or four big changes, they have 500 little ones," he said.

"The biggest difference from the previous version is real-time trading. You're in a room arguing with the player and agent, which is a significant change from before.

"Of course, the biggest update is the new players, stats and teams and that's the real drive for the fans," he added.