Last week's announcement that Sports Interactive, the creator of the Championship Manager series, and SEGA had joined forces to publish the development studio's output for the next five years sparked a virtual stampede of traffic to the SI website (www.sigames.com), with almost 183,000 fans visiting the site in search of news of the company's forthcoming games.
Prior to the announcement, which was posted at 12.00 on Thursday, February 12th, the Sports Interactive website was among the UK's most active, with 70,000 users visiting the site during the average month. From February 1st, the site (which normally houses a mixture of news and background information on the company and its award-winning sports management games) built expectations by replacing its normal content with a single page which 'counted down' to the announcement.
"We knew that the announcement would increase the normal levels of traffic to our site ? and had even worked with SEGA to install extra capacity ? but the sheer volume of interest took us by surprise," says Miles Jacobson, Managing Director of Sports Interactive. "It's up to us to now to ensure that we produce games that are deserving of this level of anticipation."
"The initial traffic was so heavy that our website went down when the announcement was first made," adds Marc Duffy, Sports Interactive Webmaster. "However, thanks to some sterling work by the chaps at SEGA, who installed three new servers and got everything back up and running over the weekend, normal service was resumed by Monday."
Analysis of the servers which host the sigames.com website show that, in the seven days from the initial announcement, a total of 182,969 unique visitors accessed the site. These visitors made 2,688,284 page views in a total of 271,795 visits to the site ? resulting in 25,361,746 successful hits.
The first two games to be published under the new agreement will be Eastside Hockey Manager (working title) which will make its debut in the summer and Football Manager 2005, which is scheduled for a pre-Christmas release.