Football Manager 2013 Pirated 10 Million Times, Including Once in the Vatican

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2013


Sports Interactive’s Football Manager series is one of the most addictive gaming franchises ever created.

So addictive, in fact, last year’s instalment was pirated over 10 million times, including a particularly curious download inside the Vatican.

While it’s unlikely Pope Francis was trying to decide his next starting lineup before holding a papal audience outside Saint Peter’s Cathedral, statistics reported by Sam Petherick of the Daily Mirror highlight what a far-reaching brand Football Manager has become:

As impossible as it sounds, neither is out of the question, after Football Manager chief Miles Jacobson revealed that one cheeky person from Vatican City illegally downloaded last season's instalment of the addictive game.

Jacobson told the London Games Conference 2013 that a staggering 10.1 million people got their hands on Football Manager 2013 after a leak on the web on May 12.

Sports Interactive included an anomaly called "Home" inside the crack, a tiny flaw that allowed the developer to track the IP addresses of those who decided to pick the game up without spending, per Christopher Dring of MCV.

China led the way on 3.2 million illegal downloads, and Turkey came in at second with 1.02 million. Portugal grabbed a shameful bronze with 787,785 downloads, and Italy just snatched a Champions League place with 547,000.

The numbers proceed all the way down to the Vatican—a sovereign state with the population of 800 people, per Petherick’s report—where one person decided to get involved without paying their entry fee.

(Potential) Vatican City Football Teams
Zenit Saint Peters SquareBayern Tunic
Swiss Guard BoysSao Paulo
FC Saint PauliOrlando Pontius Pilates
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This is made all the more surprising when you consider most of the Vatican inhabitants work for the Swiss Guard or are in the service of the Holy See.

Jacobson believes 1.74 per cent of illegal downloaders would have purchased the game if a crack had failed to appear, costing the team around $3.7 million in revenue, per Dring’s report.

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - AUGUST 13:  General view of the San Pietro during the press confernce of Italy and Argentina Football Teams at The Vatican on August 13, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.  (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)
Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

This is particularly worrying at a time when many gaming companies across the globe are struggling to stay afloat, highlighted by the closure of THQ, per Wesley Yin-Poole of Eurogamer.

It will be interesting to see how the imminent release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 effect Football Manager 2014's sales, or indeed, if they have an impact at all.

For now, at least we finally know what the priests are doing inside the confessional.