Sports Interactive Studio Director and football gaming man-God Miles Jacobson has revealed that his studio are “looking to hire six to ten engineers” to work on “next generation tech,” but has ruled out a return to consoles with the NextBox and PlayStation 4. The studio will instead work with cloud and mobile based services, with some particularly curious thoughts on the future of tablet devices such as the iPad.
Speaking to Develop Online regarding the future of his studio’s wildly popular Football Manager series, Jacobson confirmed that the team “are not looking at coming back to console,” believing that the series’ future is set to be much more mobile going forward. Having spent two years researching the idea, the conclusion was that “When we spoke to people who stopped playing Football Manager on consoles, the common response was that they didn’t want, or weren’t allowed, to have the same thing on their TV for hours on end.” My wife could have given us all the same answer in much less than two minutes, never mind two years.
Regarding mobile, Jacobson also had some intriguing thoughts on the future of tablets. “The way mobile technology is going, I think we’re going to get to a stage quite soon – within the next two, three or four years – where mobile tech catches up to where PCs were only a few years ago. If we get to a stage where mobiles and tablets catch up, the decision that we’ve got to make is whether we port across the full experience, or whether we do something that’s more like the handheld versions of Football Manager.”
Jacobson was also incredibly supportive of cloud gaming service OnLive, declaring it a “perfect fit” for Football Manager. Although the series is yet to appear on OnLive, Jacobson did state that “I’d love to get on there and experiment with that technology.”
The studio’s definition of the term “next generation” is certainly a cause for further thought in this context, and clearly the advancement of cloud computing and mobile technologies are of greater interest to some developers than new console hardware. Talk of tablet devices approaching relatively recent PC hardware within two or three years certainly challenges how we currently think about mobile platforms, and it’ll be interesting to see just how teams like Sports Interactive embrace these avenues going forward. The ability to seamlessly pick up a Football Manager save away from my desk has been a personal dream of mine for years, although I’ll genuinely fear for my job and life in general if it ever happens.
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