Football Manager Handheld 2014 hits iOS and Android, as developer reveals result of piracy honeytrap

Sega and Sports Interactive have released Football Manager Handheld 2014 for iPhone, iPad and Android devices - a simultaneous release that offers some key new features and plenty of improvements over former iterations.

Priced at £6.99 for all devices, the game is available for download now on iTunes and Google Play. It features a new look and more intuitive menus, plus a cloud save option that allows you to pick up where you left off on another device - but only on iOS as it uses Apple's iCloud.

Another new feature is My Club Mode, which allows you to create your own football team from scratch, including name, team colours and squad. You can then play as that team in any league or international competition.

Other improvements include a more realistic transfer system and better media interaction.

Sports Interactive studio head Miles Jacobson also presented a talk at the London Games Convention earlier today, 14 November, where he revealed that the PC version of Football Manager 2013 contained secret code that was intended to collect data about pirate versions of the game.

READ: Football Manager 2014 review

It took a remarkable six months before a hacker was able to crack the game and subsequently distribute it on torrent sites and peer-to-peer networks. But unbeknown to them the illegal version of the game contained an intended flaw that "called home", given Sports Interactive access to the IP address of every person that downloaded it.

The development team then used that raw data to collate a definitive picture of illegal downloading and how it affected sales of FM 2013.

In the last year, there have been 1,184,652 legal activations of Football Manager 2013. The cracked illegal version "called home" from over 10 million unique IP addresses. China was the territory from which most of those were registered, with 3,186,277 illegal downloads, with Turkey, Portugal, Italy and South Korea making up the rest of the top five.

Further investigation into those IP addresses suggested that of the 10 million, 18 per cent went on to play the game five times or more.

In the period after the game was cracked, legitimate activations (sales) fell by 17 per cent. Using all the data it has to hand, Sports Interactive calculates that 1.74 per cent of illegal downloaders would have purchased the game if no cracked version was available.

"We believe that Football Manager 2013 enjoyed an uplift of 144,000 units prior to the crack and lost a potential 32,000 extra sales post-crack," says SI Games.

"Therefore, the difference between the game never being cracked and being cracked on day one can be calculated as 176,000 in unit sales or, in financial terms, a potential variance of $3.7 million (£2.3 million) in net revenue."

That's a lot for a small development team and/or publisher to lose. Maybe those responsible will think twice before attempting to crack the PC, Mac and Linux versions of this year's game, Football Manager 2014.



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