Despite being the most popular sport on the planet, and the success of FIFA, PES and Football Manager combined, there is a lack of what you would call Online Football Management Games. Instead, if you are wishing to test your skills as a manager against real-life opponents, then you will most likely find yourself playing browser games. With too many to name out there, I have played too many poor ones myself, but I still often find myself searching for that one game which may just offer what I am looking for. Until May 2011, that game was Football Manager Live, but sadly Sports Interactive pulled the plug on by far the best, and most in-depth online management the world has ever seen.
Still, if you like the social interaction, beating real-life managers and competing for signings which come with playing online, then I suggest checking out these best online management games. You will notice they are browser games, but that is simply because no one has touched the market with a client based Football Management MMO. We can hope though right? If this list isn’t what you are looking for, I suggest checking out Ultimate Football Live, currently under development, it will be the only client based Management MMO available!
Hattrick is probably the most popular online management game out there and was one of the first around after being released in 1997. Hattrick is free-to-play, and one of the positives of the game is it’s community. You get the opportunity to form your own team, make transfers and select your tactics and line-up, with the aim of working your way up your nations league system. While visually simplistic, a lot of fun can be had with Hattrick, especially If your a casual player looking for a game you can spend a few minutes a day on, then you may find this to be perfect for you.
Football Superstars isn’t strictly speaking a management game, however for anyone who is a fan of football, I would highly recommend it. It is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online football game, where you create your own player and live like a footballer. The bulk of the game takes place on the pitch and training ground, where you can improve your player’s stats and play matches for you club. You will play alongside other real-life players. There is some management however, and that is why it makes the list. Player Managed Clubs (PMC) are created by players, who recruit other people to join their team. The manager can then assign Captains, Scouts and Players, all of which have different game-play.
Unlike most browser games, Pitchside Manager allows you to play games everyday. This is a big deal for those more”hardcore” players who wish to take things to the next level. It’s also rather in-depth, offering more features and things to do than most other games. As well doing your typical training, transfers and tactics, you are able to build and expand your clubs facilities to help give you a better fighting chance in the league. A Youth System is also included, where you can build and manage a youth team separate to your first team and help feed through future superstars. Another bonus is that over 1000 real teams are in the game. I would recommend checking Pitchside Manager out.
ManaerLeague is one of the more visually appealing games out there. It has a slick and clean userface and has a very modern feel about it. Seasons are relatively quick, lasting no more than a month with you playing on average 2 games a day. Training is also a big part of the game, allowing you to even send your players on training camps to gain extra boosts. The text highlights of matches are also good, giving you a real indication of what is going on the pitch, and helps create the visuals of the match in your head. Overall, it is a well rounded and fun game, however it may not be suited for the more casual manager. Still, it’s well worth a go.
Striker Manager is more in-depth than the majority of games currently on the market. Every aspect of management from tactics, finances and sponsorships to training and transfers are simulated. You will also need to negotiate with your players their contracts to try and keep them at your club. You can also build facilities and improve your stadium. Whereas most games are text-based, Striker Manager gives you the option to view match highlights via a 2D Match Engine. While it is not the best, it makes a nice change to actually see your players out on the field and how the goals were scored. There is a huge player base so you are sure of lots of communication and banter between your fellow managers.
Goalunited is one of the best management games out there, however for me I don’t rate it that highly for one reason. While overall as a game it is brilliant, I felt that in order to fully experience Goalunited and to have the most fun, you need to part with some cash. Visually it is one of best looking management games around. I also would have liked to have played matches more regularly. Goalunited is nearly that game I want to play, but unfortunately for me it falls short in some areas which are crucial for me. I would still recommend it to anyone and most people really enjoy it. There is a lot of stuff to do to keep you busy so head over to the website and see if it is for you.
If you want to manage real clubs, and sign real players, then SoccerManager is the game for you. Featuring over 2000 real-life clubs and over 50,000 real players, you will have fun signing the likes of Ronaldo and Messi! If you wish to be creating your own club from scratch, then you may find that this is not the game for you. I found SoccerManager most enjoyable when joining leagues with friends and trying to compete against them. It’s an easy game to get the hang off and plenty of fun can be had trying to sign players. If you wish to set up your own leagues, you can. A nice variety of options are available for game world owners, such as allowing people to build their own dream team by giving them a set budget and releasing all players. One of the most enjoyable games I have played.
Itsagoal.com is one of my favourite online management games around. While visually it is a very simple and plan game, behind those looks is a great, feature rich browser game. Create your club by choosing a name, badge and kit colours, then you must handle day-to-day running of your club, with a nice emphasis on finances and being sensible. A nice feature of Itsagoal.com. is the ability to hire a wide variety of different staff to your club, ranging from scouts and coaches to physios and assistant managers. Expect to be able to do as you can in other games, but the simple things make it stand out for me.
OFM was voted the Best Sports MMO 2013, and you can see why. I have sunk numerous hours into playing this game, trying to seek the next undiscovered star or grabbing a bargain on the transfer market. My favourite aspect was being able to play a league match every day, as well as organizing competitions and friendly matches to keep you busy. There are some key features missing, such as not being able to loan players and other little issues, but it would be number one if it wasn’t for one reason. To make the most of OFM and experience all it’s features, you need Pro. Pro costs money. While I am in favour of allowing those who wish to pay extra bonuses and features, the game can feel rather bare without it. I spent more time playing when I had Pro than when I did not, simply because there was more to do. But if you enjoy it, then Pro is the way to go.
Trophy Manager gets the balance right in virtually every aspect of a Football Management MMO. It offers a premium service to those who wish to pay for it, but if you want to play for free, you will get just as much enjoyment from the game than without Pro. Better yet, you can earn Pro Days simply by watching some ads! The match engine is my favourite out of all the games and is one of the most realistic. You can watch your match in real-time as it plays out, or watch the highlight. You play matches three times a week, if it was a game every day then it would be perfect. There is a great in-depth stadium editor, which allows you to build facilities around the stadium, as well as improve seating, under soil heating and floodlights to generate you more money, and less risk of sustaining injury during bad weather conditions. If your looking for a football management MMO, Trophy Manager is the way to go!