One of the many changes that Football Manager 21 makes from its predecessor is that the franchise is now available to play on Microsoft’s three most relevant consoles, the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One. Sports Interactive’s hugely popular management sim is available to Xbox gamers in a form similar to Football Manager 21 Touch, a version of Football Manager that has been available to PC players for multiple years as an alternative way to experience the game.
The Touch iteration is ideal for players who find Football Manager to be overbearing or confusing, as it offers a streamlined version of the game that just focuses on the key aspects. Subsequently, the version available to Xbox gamers has numerous differences to the main PC iteration, and they are worth knowing for anyone unsure of which version to buy.
10 User Interface
Getting the most obvious difference out of the way first, the Xbox and PC versions of the game have numerous differences in terms of the User Interface.
Whereas the PC version can be played without using anything other than the mouse, the Xbox iteration tries to make the menus simple to navigate with a controller in a few different ways. The most notable change is that many menus are now assigned to a button on the controller, so players don’t have to drag the cursor with the analog stick continually. The button tie-ins work reasonably well, though overall, the Xbox version is unsurprisingly more fiddly to use, and it can be easy for newcomers to miss important menus, such as individual player instructions.
9 Amount of Selectable Nations
One of the many ways that the Xbox version tries to be more streamlined than the PC iteration is with the speed that players can get to a match. Whereas the PC version is designed for players to take their time between matches by scouting, implementing tactical changes, tweaking training, and more, the Xbox iteration is designed so managers can hop from match to match with very little interference.
One way that the Xbox version ensures the game runs quickly is by limiting the number of nations selectable at the start of the game. Xbox players can choose up to five nations, while PC gamers have no limit.
8 Individual Meetings
For many people, individual meetings are a significant part of the Football Manager series. Man management is a crucial skill that real-life managers need to have, so it makes sense that the main version of Football Manager 21 lets managers talk to their team almost anytime they want.
The Xbox version of Football Manager 21, however, doesn’t let managers meet with their players at all. Managers can’t praise, criticize, motivate, or simply talk things over with their players on Xbox whatsoever, often making it difficult to gauge why a player may be struggling or looking for a move.
7 Team Talks And Team Meetings
Following on from the previous point, it’s not just individual meetings that don’t feature on Xbox, as team meetings and team talks are also removed.
Football Manager 21 made alterations to the team talk feature in the main version of the game, making it all the more surprising that it doesn’t feature on Xbox. The removal does have its benefits, of course, as Xbox players won’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing and demotivating their team.
6 Press Conferences
The Xbox version may not let managers talk to their players, but it does let them speak to the press. However, befitting of the version’s streamlined feel, only part of the feature is available.
The main game lets managers talk to the press in two main ways: through mandatory press-conferences and through optional questions that individual journalists will ask from time to time. Xbox players won’t need to worry about the mandatory press-conferences as they don’t feature in the game, but they can answer the optional questions if they like.
5 Body Language
One final difference between conversations and interactions in the two games is body language. Body language is a new feature introduced in Football Manager 21 that lets managers drive their points home through body movements such as Pound Fist, Smile Warmly, Put Arm On Shoulder, or even Throw Water Bottle during heated team talks.
Xbox gamers are unable to use the feature in their interactions with journalists, despite PC managers being able to do so.
4 Depth in Training
In any sport, what happens on the training ground is a vital part of what happens during the match and an essential factor of a team’s long-term success. The Training feature was greatly improved upon in this year’s predecessor, Football Manager 2020, giving more options than ever before for managers to mold teams into their image.
Football Manager 21 does feature a training mode on Xbox, but it’s massively refined. Whereas the individual training is mostly the same, the team training on Xbox simply requires managers to choose from a selection of options, which will determine the training’s overall theme. Options include Tactical, Possession, Defending, and Set Pieces, which does give managers some control, though it would be far better if they could at least select different options for the strikers, midfielders, defenders, and goalkeepers.
3 Agent Discussions
The concept of “tapping up” refers to when a representative from one team privately contacts a contracted player or player agent from another team about a possible transfer. Tapping up is against the sport’s rules, but it likely happens more times than FIFA would like to admit.
Football Manager 21 introduced a feature that lets gamers take advantage of this, as they can now directly contact a player’s agent to gain insight into how transfer proceedings may unravel, with no fear of being fined. Befitting of the Xbox version’s removal of most interactions, the new feature isn’t available on consoles.
2 In-Game Editor
One of PC gaming’s key selling points is the customizability available to players. Football Manager 21 on PC does, of course, have pages and pages of mods each year, but it also has a built-in feature known as the In-Game Editor, which lets players make alterations for a small fee.
With the In-Game Editor, players can change attribute points, contract lengths, player happiness, team transfer funds, and much, much more. The Xbox iteration does have unlockables that can be obtained by reaching various accomplishments or buying them with real money, but they don’t compare to the excellent In-Game Editor.
1 Instant Result
As this article has exemplified, features that appear on the Xbox version but not the PC version of Football Manager 21 are few and far between. However, there is one feature available to console gamers that may make PC players envious: Instant Result.
The Instant Result feature does what it says on the tin, letting players completely skip matches by simply clicking Instant Result and picking from a small selection of gameplans. The feature is the clearest example of how the Xbox iteration wants to be more streamlined than its PC counterpart, as players who use Instant Result will likely complete a full season in around an hour. In contrast, the PC version usually takes anywhere between 10 and 30 hours.