Sports Interactive breaks silence on Eidos split

Sports Interactive boss Miles Jacobson has finally revealed the reasons behind the developer’s split from its publisher Eidos.

The Football Manager developer ditched Eidos in 2003, leaving the publisher with the Championship Manager IP but taking the talent behind the successful franchise. Championship Manager subsequently was handed to new internal team, Beautiful Game Studios.

In the following years, Football Manager became the dominant name in the genre.

Sports Interactive has never publicly addressed the split until at the GameHorizon conference in Newcastle in a chat between Eidos life president Ian Livingstone and Jacobson. Livingstone allowed Jacobson to finally break the silence after nine years.

I’m sure there are two sides to this story,” said Jacobson (and reported by Edge Online). We have never spoken about in the past. At the time we felt there was a lack of respect that we did for our work from Eidos.

There seemed to be an attitude at the time in the industry that anyone could make games.

Eidos wanted more control. We wanted more control. We were asking for high royalties. Eidos set up Beautiful Game Studios nine months before Championship Manager 4 was due to come out. They told me that BGS were making a platform game. I thought our number was up."

Livingstone then added that they were preparing for a future without Sports Interactive, as there were rumours the studio was planning to leave. A rumour that Jacobson then denied.

Sega acquired Sports Interactive in 2006.

Jacobson told Edge: I went for a curry with the CEO of Sega in Japan and Europe and he made me an offer on a napkin,” he said. I kept telling them we were not for sale. I told them they would have to double the offer for me to even discuss it with Paul and Ov (Collyer, founders of Sports Interactive).”

The next day, Sega more than doubled the price. I told Paul and Ov as my best mates that they weren’t going to get another opportunity like this to secure their families’ future," he said.

And I told them I was sure I could get a clause that would enable us to retain our independence.”

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