After a few weeks in the beta version of early access, Football Manager 2022 is now out for reals. That means you can now grab the simulation of being fired from Steam, Epic, or for the first time as part of the Xbox Game Pass.
Here’s the launch trailer for the game with the young Barcelona midfielder Pedri and various representations of the kind of things you do in the game.
Football Manager’s computer screens are hard to make sexy, but I’m not sure I want to be the augmented reality cyberball player portrayed in the trailer above, pointing to graphs and clapping loudly. Football Manager’s true energy is closer to Sean Bean growing over stock footage of trains to announce Train Simulator 2014 (and with declining returns in 2015).
Football Manager 2022’s great new features include improved animations on the pitch, a new data hub to reveal match and player performance information, and new staff meetings. We will get a review of the game later this week.
You can download FM2022 from Steam or Epic for £ 40 / € 55. It is also, as mentioned above, available as part of an Xbox Game Pass subscription for the first time. It 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 most recently the Epic Games Store. FM Touch is a faster way to experience the football simulation that feels closer to how the series played around 2005 and earlier.
This year’s version, FM2022 Touch, is unfortunately only available for the Nintendo Switch, without Steam, Epic or mobile release.
FM2022 Xbox Edition, meanwhile, is based on the Touch version and pretty much 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 declining sales of the Touch versions on PC and the difficulty of developing games during the pandemic. I’m sympathetic, but still a little gloomy about it.
I lack time and often prefer the sleek versions over the full releases of Football Manager these days. I think it’s a relief that I can still get it via Xbox Edition, but it’s a curse to have to interact with the Windows Store in any way. I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but you can compare all the new versions of the game here.