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Will FM23 be free?

The short answer is no – there is currently no way to permanently get FM23 for free. However, there are some great options I‘ve uncovered to play legally at no cost temporarily! As a long-time Football Manager fanatic, let me walk you through how to maximize your chances of playing the latest FM for free.

What is Football Manager?

For anyone new, Football Manager (FM) is a series of extremely in-depth football/soccer management simulation games for PC, Mac, Xbox, Mobile and more. You take the reins of a club as manager and are responsible for every aspect of the team – transfers, tactics, contracts, youth development, sponsorships – it‘s incredibly detailed!

FM first launched in 2004 and is published yearly by Sega. It‘s developed by Sports Interactive, who painstakingly model over 800,000 real world players and staff. Each new version builds on an already incredibly deep experience with improved realism, AI and new features.

I‘ve been addicted to FM since the early days. As a stats nerd, I love how accurately it simulates real management challenges. You feel like you‘re truly running a club. No other sports management game comes close!

Now let‘s get into the options for playing the latest FM23 for free.

FM23 Price Overview

As a premium title, FM23 has always been a paid game. Here‘s a quick overview of the current pricing:

PC/Mac (Steam/Epic Games Store)

  • FM23 Standard Edition: $54.99/£39.99
  • FM23 Pre-Purchase: $49.99/£36.99 (20% discount)

Xbox

  • FM23 Xbox Edition: $39.99/£31.99

Mobile (iOS/Android)

  • FM23 Mobile: $9.99/£8.99

Based on my research, FM‘s business model makes it highly unlikely for the full-featured PC/Mac version to become permanently free. Let‘s analyze why…

FM‘s Pricing Strategy

As a management simulation, FM‘s development costs are substantial. The level of detail requires a team of researchers constantly updating the database. Complex AI programming is needed to ensure realistic responses. Annual improvements also take effort.

At ~$50, FM sits at a premium but fair price point given the quality. While not exorbitant, it prices out some casual players. This is likely an intentional strategy by Sega – with development costs so high, they need sufficient yearly revenue from core fans.

Lower priced Xbox and Mobile editions broaden accessibility while limiting production costs. But the full-fledged FM experience remains paid on PC/Mac for good reason.

Healthy Revenue Stream

Here are some key stats that provide evidence of FM‘s healthy revenue model:

  • FM22 sold over 1.5 million copies in its first week per Sega
  • The series has sold over 27 million copies life-to-date
  • FM has highest conversion rate of any PC franchise – over 40% buy yearly

This data shows a significant portion of FM‘s sizable fan base happily pay each year. With robust sales of the core game, Sega has little incentive to make it permanently free.

That said, temporary free access is still possible…

How to Play FM23 for Free – Legally!

While I don‘t expect FM23 to be free forever, there are still some great ways to play at no cost temporarily. As an avid deal-seeker, here are my top tips:

1. Use Free Trials & Demos

Sega typically makes free demos available around new FM releases. Keep an eye out for these official (and legal) options:

  • FM23 Demo – Lets you play 6 in-game months. It‘s a nice chunk of time to evaluate the latest version.
  • FM22 Demo – Previous year demos often get extended. Worth checking for long term access.
  • Holiday Demos – Christmas, New Year‘s and other holidays sometimes bring special free demos.

2. Redeem Giveaways & Free Game Offers

Free FM access is sometimes granted for limited periods via promotions. For example:

  • Epic Games Store gave away FM20 for free for a week.
  • Amazon Prime members got FM22 Mobile free for several months.
  • Occasional giveaways on sites like Reddit or Steam forums.

It takes some effort digging for these, but well worth it!

3. Use Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Microsoft‘s subscription service Game Pass includes the Xbox console version of FM23.

With Game Pass Ultimate, you get full access on Xbox Series X/S. This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to play the latest FM.

Of course, Game Pass goes beyond FM with 100+ games for just $9.99 a month. It‘s arguably the best deal in gaming right now.

4. Check Apple Arcade for FM Touch

Apple‘s gaming subscription Apple Arcade grants access to FM23 Touch, a custom tablet-friendly take on FM.

At just $4.99 monthly, Apple Arcade is likely the cheapest way to play FM23 Touch on iPhone, iPad and Mac.

5. Buy Discount Keys from Resellers

Okay, not technically free, but you can often find FM23 PC keys for 25-50% off from reputable online resellers like:

  • CDKeys
  • GreenManGaming
  • Fanatical

I explain how these sites work and recommend the best in this post.

While not free, it‘s a nice way to get FM on the cheap! But beware shady key sites.

Is FM23 Worth Paying For?

Even as a bargain hunter, I happily pay full price for new FM releases. Why? After over a decade playing the series, I can confidently say FM provides tremendous value.

It‘s impossible to find this level of depth and realism in any other soccer management game. The years of refinement make FM play so believably that you feel like an actual manager.

With 800,000+ real world players, staggeringly detailed stats, and AI that mimics reality, Football Manager has ruined me for other soccer sims. I‘ve lost countless hours (weeks!) to playing FM over the years.

Of course, free is better when possible. But for diehard football fans and management sim enthusiasts like myself, FM is very much worth the price of admission.

That said, I‘d still suggest any new players try the free demos and trials first to see if FM clicks with you. The complexity could be overwhelming for some.

But if you love soccer and strategy games, few gaming experiences compare to the rush of winning trophies in FM. Just make sure to come up for air once in a while!

The Bottom Line – Should You Buy FM23?

While free permanently, my expert opinion is FM23 is still very much worth buying for the unparalleled depth and realism it provides. But try the game first with Demo‘s and Game Pass if possible.

For me, the hundreds of hours of enjoyment FM delivers year after year easily justifies the price tag. But I realize not everyone has the same passion.

Ultimately, I hope this guide gave you a detailed overview of how to potentially play FM23 for free in the short term. Let me know if have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat FM strategy.