Microsoft and Sony have adopted very different philosophies in how they want to build up their gaming portfolios, and how they’ve tackled subscription services has been perhaps the biggest differentiator between the two. While PlayStation Plus remains an additive service on top of Sony’s flagship offerings, on the other end of the spectrum, Xbox Game Pass is very much central to what Microsoft is building.
The difference in approaches between the two companies recently surfaced in a very public way when, during the Microsoft vs FTC trial, in his testimony, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan called Game Pass “value-destructive”, saying that the service is viewed by publishers in that light “unanimously”.
One developer that has supported Game Pass consistently that does not agree, however, is Soccer Manager Sports Interactive studio. Speaking in a recent interview with Eurogamer, studio head Miles Jacobson touched on the issue and said that Sports Interactive would not have agreed to a Game Pass deal if it wasn’t profitable from a business viewpoint.
“We run quite a tight ship, and I like our studio to be profitable – Sega took a big gamble on us all those years ago, and their shareholders – however weird it might sound – should be rewarded for that,” Jacobson said. “So we don’t tend to do deals that are bad for any parts of the business.”
Jacobson went on to explain that Football Manager’s success on Game Pass has allowed Sports Interactive to keep expanding the franchise in other ways as well, including attracting players that had never played it before, as well as helping the studio get a better grip on the demands of the live service space.
“The simple fact is Game Pass and Apple Arcade have brought new people to the franchise that never played it before,” he said. “I’m confident enough in our games to believe we will now have those consumers for a long time, whatever platforms we’re on. Fiscally, it makes sense. Creatively, it makes sense.
“Learning-wise, it makes sense as well. We were looking at games as a service… Game Pass and Apple Arcade are games as a service platforms that we’re in. So you’re learning a lot more about that audience as well as you’re going along. And there’s no way we would have reached five million players on FM23 without the audiences on those platforms – with PlayStation being an added bonus on top, because we’ve done much better on PlayStation than we were expecting.”
Speaking specifically about Ryan’s aforementioned comments on Game Pass, Jacobson voiced his disagreement, saying that though every studio and company will have a different outlook, Sports Interactive’s doesn’t necessarily align with Ryan’s comments.
“Every studio has to make decisions themselves, but I don’t recognize some of the quotes that I see from other studios, and depositions,” he said. “I don’t recognize that in our business. It’s all very sunny for us.”
For a number of years in a row, Football Manager’s yearly installments have been available via Game Pass, and presumably, the same will be true for this year’s title as well. Though concrete details are yet to be confirmed, Soccer Manager 2024 is expected to launch sometime in November.