With real sports off for the time being, fans are turning to their virtual versions with everything from basketball teams simulating their games in NBA 2K20 to Formula 1 holding races in F1 2019. The footy's off too, so Football Manager 2020 has kindly been free to play in full for a week on Steam. Now developers Sports Interactive have extended that free trial by another week, and have also offered to put advertising in the game for mental health charities helping people during this difficult time. That's nice, that.
"We will be offering free advertising in Football Manager for mental health charities in different countries who are helping people during the Covid-19 crisis," Sports Interactive CEO Miles Jacobson tweeted yesterday. "If you work for one & want to learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org"
Like real stadiums, Football Manager has ad boards around the pitch during matches, a mix of real brands and generic ones. Presumably that's the space Jacobson is offering. It's not huge, maybe, but every little helps. Football is so huge as an interest, an activity, and a focus for socialising in many people's lives, and it's a huge loss especially with the UK now in Covid-19 lockdown. Virtuafooty like this and Fifa will have to do for now. So it's nice that the trial is extended too.
"The team at Sports Interactive have been overwhelmed by the amount of you who decided to try our 'Free Play' of Football Manager 2020 over the last week," they said yesterday. "We are delighted to be able announce an extension for a further, and final, week. Football Manager 2020 will remain completely free to play on Steam until 3:00pm (GMT) on Wednesday April 1st."
Football Manager 2020 reached an all-time peak of 180,838 players in-game at the same time this past week, Steam's number say. That's 100,000-odd more than the previous concurrent peak. Yes, of course it's higher because the game is free right now, but I'm not cheering for statistics, I'm cheering for all the extra people happily distracted right now.
If you fancy a go, head on over to Steam and get downloading. If you dig it and want to buy it after the trial expires, your saves will carry over.
Football Manager's simulation of league play has already included Brexit scenarios and the consequences thereof, so it'll be interesting to see if pandemic lockdown factors into future years.