An extensive post that looks into the various issues people have concerns with and a series of proposed solutions that are being… What?
No it’s not, it’s a quick post that refers back to the roadmap blogs and recognises that the biggest area of concern is the“perception” that older game worlds are an unattractive starting place for new players.
It goes on to hint at the names of players as a big part of this, and announces the intention to announce a possible solution to this in the near future.
He goes on to talk about a new initiative that Sports Interactive are taking with the formation of a FML Council.
We’d like to put together a group of FML managers, both past and present, to represent the community by meeting with the team regularly in order to discuss the game. Marc Duffy – Sports Interactive
On the surface this suggestion has gathered instant support from the forum masses; some others though see it as a big slap in the face for the community as a whole.
Face to Face
The idea behind this new FML council appears to be the formulation of a select group of people who can have ‘face to face’ meetings with someone from SI/Sega where they will be told some future plans and given an opportunity to discuss them.
In an era where worldwide communication is instant what value is there in face to face meetings? Beyond the opportunity to befuddle those attending with a bit of hype and shiny presentation I’m at a loss to come up with a sensible reason.
The recent reorganisation of the official forums was done to separate those playing the game from the general public, providing additional levels of communication for information sharing. There are a range of options available now to determine and control information flow, the addition of an exclusive FML council hints at further limiting the access to ideas and proposals is required.
If there’s a good idea to discuss outside of the development team then why not discuss it with everyone playing the game?
My first concern (and probably the biggest) is what’s wrong with the beta testers?
Isn’t the further development of ideas and feedback on those ideas what beta is there for?
The fact Sports Interactive feel the need to bypass their beta testers in order to gain feedback from a more specific group raises some doubts over the effectiveness over the beta process as a whole.
I’ve been involved with the forums long enough to realise the most constructive threads are those where the responses between community and developer are in close proximity. Bouncing ideas around is a lot easier to do when all parties are doing so at the same time, and responding to threads in the forums (or online chat rooms) while the other party is still online can be very effective.
But an important part of this is having time to disseminate the information from the other user, and time to thoughtfully formulate a response.
Both are minimised in a group face to face discussion, I can give you a far better response to your question after ten minutes than what I could straight away – but by tomorrow you will have lost the focus on the subject.
Live discussion via the technology currently available, whether that makes use of a forum, emails, twitter, skype, live chat rooms, etc, etc.
The tools are there to communicate in real time with whoever you wish, with as big or small a group as you want, whenever you find it necessary.
Get on line and get active!
Having set times when the forums will be manned by certain members of the SI or Sega community (developers, marketing, etc.) is a far more effective method of gathering feedback from a larger range of users than a face to face presentation.
To help me further clarify my sentiments, Jordan Cooper has weighed in with his thoughts on this issue with two videos.
One is a quickly slapped together (using YouTube clips & Windows MovieMaker) general overview into the macro-level concepts he’s trying to get across in conjunction with this editorial.
The other is a completely ad-libbed personal opinion on his part recorded via webcam earlier today – be aware that this is not the most flattering of outlooks on Sports Interactive’s customer relation practices. It may be quite harsh and can very easily “stir the pot”, but it’s an honest viewpoint coming from the perspective of a community advocate in the Football Manager Live playing public.
Definitely post your opinions in the comments section below!
|Written By Mark Burton
A moderator since May 2008 in a number of beta worlds and now GW Fowler, he strives to highlight the community aspects of FML and inform new & experienced users about future game development.