Miles Jacobson

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Miles Jacobson

Miles Jacobson
Miles Jacobson presenting the Sports & Fitness category at BAFTA Games Awards 2012
NationalityBritish
OccupationStudio director
EmployerSports Interactive
Known forFootball Manager games

Miles Jacobson OBE is studio director of Sports Interactive, the team behind the Football Manager series of video games, and creators of the original Championship Manager.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jacobson was born in 1971 to a Jewish family[2]. His father was an inventor and his mother was a teacher. [3] Jacobson was raised in Watford. A talented musician, his childhood ambition was to become a singer, and he spent more time on music than education when at school, singing or playing at the Royal Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican and St Martin-in-the-Fields during this time, and appeared in Carmen alongside José Carreras.[3] However his singing ability was affected by the voice change during puberty. He attended Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School on a scholarship - fellow pupils at the time included Matt Lucas and Sacha Baron Cohen. He also became a keen fan of Watford F.C. in his childhood, attending his first game at Vicarage Road on his seventh birthday.[3] His interest in and love for music sowed the seeds for his early career; while working in a record shop he produced a fanzine which caught the eye of the then NME editor Steve Lamacq. Lamacq helped Jacobson to secure his first position in the music business, introducing him to Andy Ross of Food Records, who hired him as an A&R manager.[3] During his time in the music business (with Food and Polygram Island Music), Jacobson worked with a number of household names, including Jesus Jones, Dubstar, Shampoo, Blur, Feeder, Fatboy Slim and The Bluetones.

Sports Interactive[edit]

Sports Interactive was founded in 1994 by Paul and Oliver Collyer on the back of the success they had achieved with a game they had originally created in their Shropshire bedrooms in the late 1980s. That game was first published commercially in 1992 as Championship Manager.

Jacobson first became involved in Sports Interactive as a fan of the game, after obtaining an advance copy of Championship Manager 2 in exchange for two Blur concert tickets,[3] offering his services as one of the early testers. The Collyer brothers realised that Jacobson's abilities and experience would be put to better use in other areas and he became the fledgling company's unofficial business advisor. Jacobson quickly became an integral part of the team, assuming the role of part-time Managing Director in 1999 before finally taking the helm on a full-time basis in 2001.

Under Jacobson's management, Sports Interactive has grown from a fledgling start-up employing five people to one of the best-known names in UK game development with a staff of almost 100 and a network of roughly 1,300 scouts across the globe. To date, the studio has sold in excess of 15 million games, has been responsible for six of the top 10 fastest-selling PC games of all time in the UK (five of which are from the Football Manager series) and has enjoyed more than 200 weeks at No.1 in the PC charts. Sports Interactive also has been responsible for five of the top 20 best-selling PC games of all time in the UK.

The Football Manager catalogue has expanded in recent years and now includes versions for both iOS and Android devices as well as a forthcoming free-to-play with microtransaction online game called Football Manager Online, co-developed by the Korean company KTH.[4]

Charitable endeavours[edit]

Outside Sports Interactive, Jacobson is heavily involved with the War Child charity, working as part of its entertainment committee.[5] This committee is responsible for music-based fundraising initiatives which include record releases (including the Heroes album, the Young Soul Rebels single) and live events which have, to date, included gigs featuring Kasabian, La Roux, Al Murray, Jason Manford, Madness, Plan B, The Killers and Coldplay (the latter pair's gig also involved an encore featuring Gary Barlow and Bono). War Child also receive a donation for each copy of Football Manager sold, raising more than £700,000 to date, and in 2011, Jacobson went on a trip with the charity to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2008, Jacobson was one of the co-founders of GamesAid,[6] a broker for charitable activity on behalf of the games industry (and sponsor of the Paddington Academy). He is also currently working on a charitable project in Mozambique, giving local villages business opportunities whilst also helping the environment by planting fruit trees which thrive in the area. He recently became involved with the Nordoff-Robbins music therapy charity, where he is part of a committee that organises the annual Football Extravaganza dinner, the most recent of which raised more than £400,000 for the charity. He also recently became a vice-president for the charity Special Effect, which makes gaming accessible for people with severe disabilities.[7]

Other work and honours[edit]

A former Entrepreneur of the Year (London) finalist, Jacobson serves as a Creative Business Mentor for NESTA, is a Develop conference steering committee member, and has previously been on the steering committee for the Edinburgh Interactive Festival and was on the BAFTA steering committee for video games for 6 years until June 2012. In addition to making regular appearances on national TV and radio, Jacobson has also appeared as a panellist and interviewee at festivals and conferences, not just for the games industry, but also at the Edinburgh TV festival and conferences organised by the music business strategy consultancy MusicAlly.

In 2011, Jacobson was awarded the OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for services to the gaming industry.

On 13 July 2018 Jacobson announced that he is battling melanoma [8].

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hoggins, Tom. "Football Manager 2012: Miles Jacobson interview". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 June 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  2. ^ https://twitter.com/milessi/status/537217871307612160?lang=en
  3. ^ a b c d e Parkin, Simon (5 December 2015). "How Football Manager changed the game". theguardian.com. Archived from the original on 5 December 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  4. ^ "News - This Week In Korean Online Gaming News: From Rappelz To Football Manager Online". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  5. ^ "War Child on corporate partnerships « JustGiving blog". Blog.justgiving.com. 9 November 2010. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  6. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 10 November 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  7. ^ "{title}". Archived from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  8. ^ https://twitter.com/milesSI/status/1017740159725514753