After a couple of weeks in early access beta, Football Manager 2022 is now out for reals. That means you can now grab the being-sacked simulation from Steam, Epic, or for the first time as part of Xbox Game Pass.
Here's the launch trailer for the game, featuring youthful Barcelona midfielder Pedri, and various representations of the kinds of things you do in the game.
Football Manager's screens of data are hard to make sexy, but I'm not sure I want to be whatever augmented reality cyberballer is being depicted in the trailer above, pointing at graphs and clapping loudly. Football Manager's true energy is closer to Sean Bean waxing over stock footage of trains to advertise Train Simulator 2014 (and with diminishing returns in 2015).
Football Manager 2022's major new features include improved on-pitch animations, a new data hub for revealing information about matches and player performance, and new staff meetings. We'll have a review of the game along later in the week.
You can pick FM2022 up from Steam or Epic for £40/€55. It's also, as noted above, available as part of an Xbox Game Pass subscription for the first time. That includes both the main game and the separate Xbox Edition.
This is where things get a little confusing, and a little disappointing. In previous years, Football Manager's streamlined Touch editions were available on Steam, mobile, and more recently the Epic Games Store. FM Touch is a faster way to experience the football simulation that feels closer to how the series played circa 2005 and earlier.
This year's version, FM2022 Touch, is sadly only available for Nintendo Switch, with no Steam, Epic or mobile release.
FM2022 Xbox Edition, meanwhile, is based on the Touch version and broadly the same game. It's available to play on PC, but annoyingly not via Steam - only via the Windows 10 Store and Xbox Game Pass.
Sports Interactive explained back in October that these decisions were made as a reflection of dropping sales of the Touch versions on PC, and the difficulty of developing games during the pandemic. I'm sympathetic, but still a little glum about it.
I'm low on time and often favour the slimmed down versions over the full fat releases of Football Manager, these days. I guess it's a relief that I can still get it via the Xbox Edition, but having to interact with the Windows store in any capacity is a curse. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but you can compare all the new versions of the game here.