Gaming

How to play Football Manager 2020 for free on Steam

by Isaac McIntyre

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Looking for something to do as sports competitions like the Premier League, the NBA, and the Champions League grind to a halt? Here’s how to get Sports Interactives’ mega-popular Football Manager 2020 for free on Steam.

As sports fans around the world head into isolation amidst the ongoing coronavirus crisis, many are turning to eternal time-sink Football Manager. In fact, Sports Interactive’s annual title has hit a record 100,000 concurrent players.

For those looking to join the record number of fans turning to virtual football to get their fix ⁠— a list of which includes Barcelona superstar Antoine Griezmann and former England striker Darren Bent ⁠— here’s how to get it for free.

Sports Interactive
Football Manager, the world's most in-depth sports simulator, can now be played for free.

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How to get Football Manager 2020 for free

After hitting a massive 100k concurrent players on Wednesday, March 18, Football Manager devs revealed they would be making the title completely free to play on PC or Mac via Steam until 3pm on Wednesday, March 25.

If you already have Steam installed on your computer, it’s super simple to get your hands on FM20. Head to Football Manager’s store page, and hit “Play Game.” This will start the install process. From there, launch the title from your library.

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For those that don’t already have a Steam account, there’s only one extra account ⁠— sign up to Valve’s game store program. This can be done at steampowered.com. Once you’ve joined, click “Install Steam,” and install FM20.

Keep in mind after SI’s free week has ended on March 25, you will have to purchase the full game to continue your save. To buy the full FM20 release, head to the store page again. It is available for £44.99 (UK) or $49.99 (US).

Sports Interactive
Sports fans around the world are turning to Football Manager to fill the current gap in sports events.

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Will the COVID-19 delays be added to FM20?

Luckily, it looks like the FM franchise, which usually adds real-life events like Brexit and fans demanding Qatar be stripped of the 2024 World Cup to its “realistic” simulator, will skip the pandemic as an in-game event.

According to Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobsen, who is renowned for chatting all things Football Manager with fans on social media, the devs want to keep their title as “an escape” from COVID-19, not “a reminder.”

“Just to let everyone know that we will not be doing an update to FM20 to reflect this or postponed leagues as we want it to be an escape from COVID-19, not a reminder of it,” he revealed on Twitter on March 18. “Stay safe everyone.”

So there you have it: a free version of Football Manager is just a button-push away for you to pass the next week without the world’s sporting leagues.

The question now is what kind of campaign are you going to lead ⁠— a Premier League title battle? A journeyman save starting in the Indian Super League? Will you take Hyde United to the very top? The FM world’s your oyster until March 25.