Square Enix Europe is satisfied with taking last year’s decision to sell Championship Manager 10 for as little as 1p, and hopes that the game industry as a whole can progress by making such bold moves.
In an interview with Develop, Square Enix Europe CEO Phil Rogers said that the pay-what-you-want initiative was part of a broader scheme to get as many people as possible to play CM10. At the time of the game’s release, rival title FM10 was proving to have a strong grip on the market.
“It was a decision we took across the group,” said Rogers.
“We were confident with what we had with Champ Man 10, and to be honest, we just wanted to get as many people to try it. We considered the barrier that price is nowadays, and we were brave enough to take some decisions on that and thought, y’know, let’s be bold.”
For a limited time after the release of CM10, users could buy a digital edition of the game for as little as 1p – or as much as they wanted upwards. A nominal fee of £2.50 was added to each transaction.
Asked if the initiative actually worked commercially, Rogers didn’t offer numbers but remained positive.
“In many respects it did [work], in terms of getting people to try the game, and raise awareness of the game and getting people back to a brand people have spent a lot of time with in the past. I think in this sense it worked very well.
“I think that it certainly got the game into new people’s hands, and it was interesting to look at how it got picked up across various territories. Looking back we were very pleased with it – I’m pleased that we took the decision, I’m pleased that we were brave enough to try it, and as an industry I hope we all continue to make these brave decisions.”
Elsewhere in the interview with Develop, Rogers implied that the Championship Manager brand, looking ahead, will expand beyond PC.
The group has just announced that Championship Manager has this year been developed for both the iPhone and PSP (via the Minis service), but Rogers spoke of broad, sweeping expansion:
“We’ve tried things like iPhone apps, which was a relatively small success but something, as a new and fresh initiative, we were very pleased with,” he said.
“Again, our policy here is to get a lot of creativity into a vey established franchise and I think we’ve got to be confident to try more.”
He added that this expansion of Championship Manager was central to the reason to consolidate London developer Beautiful Game Studios:
“What happened was we looked at Championship Manager within the PC market and decided that actually we’re now best positioned to focus expand the brand in new ways,” he said.
“We’re looking at new platforms and new designs, we have a number of new initiatives that we’ll be talking about throughout the rest of the year, and I think people will see how we’re expanding the franchise going forward.
“So the staff cuts was looking at our skills, looking at where we wanted to invest more, and where we felt we should invest less.”