Dubai: Sports Interactive Games — the developers of popular football management simulator Football Manager 2013 — have defended the fact gamers still can’t play with Etisalat Pro-League clubs or the UAE national team.
The series has become one of the biggest selling video-game franchises of all-time since its inception as Championship Manager in 1992, with the new PC/Mac version, out on November 2, boasting leagues playable in 51 countries.
There’s a database of 500,000 staff and players, with gamers now even able to manage South Sudan in the Turkish language should they wish, but the options of Arabic and managing in the UAE are still unavailable.
“It’s a simple matter of how we manage our resources,” said Ciaran Brennan, public relations director of Sports Interactive. “We would love to include every team in every league in the world and hopefully one day we will, but at the moment we have to concentrate our limited time on what we can realistically achieve.”
Last year’s edition of Football Manager enabled gamers to chose clubs from eight leagues throughout Asia — Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Malaysia and South Korea.
But the UAE, despite qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games and the 1990 Fifa World Cup, have been rendered a virtual backwater by the game’s makers. The nation’s 40-year-old league has been professional for five seasons, attracting star names such as Diego Maradona, Fabio Cannavaro and George Weah. Meanwhile, the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) online games market is set to reach $42 million (Dh154.27 million) by 2014, up 61.5 per cent from 2011.