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Football Manager 2021 Mobile vs Touch vs PC

Everyone’s getting the Football Manager itch, but which version of the game is best for you?

football manager 2021 logo

It’s time to re-enter the dugout. 

The latest version of Football Manager is just as addictive as ever, serving up the lockdown remedy we’ve all been gasping for. Trust me, nothing combats boredom quite like a season in the Icelandic First Division, unless you actually plan on winning the odd trophy or two. 

Although we’re all sick to death of being stuck inside, there’s never really been a better time to become obsessed with our own management careers. The BETA came out last week, and I’ve already spent hours wondering why my Total Football tactics are, in fact, a load of total rubbish. Maybe Harrogate Town just don’t have the players for it. 

However, there are several different versions of Football Manager 2021 to sink your teeth into, with the PC, Touch and Mobile editions all offering something a little different. This guide walks you through the differences between each one and, more importantly, ensures you pick the right game for you. 

SPOILER ALERT: they’re all absolutely fantastic.


Football Manager 2021 - PC

Platforms: Windows & Mac

screenshot of a match in football manager 2021
Image from Football Manager.

Summary: 

- the most realistic and immersive experience

- the most time-consuming and expensive version

- impressive match-day graphics

- play online or against friends

- more teams, players and leagues

- has the biggest learning curve

- more interaction with players/press

- you can control absolutely everything


This is the complete Football Manager 2021 experience. If you want to sink hours upon hours into this game, play around with intricate tactics and get to grips with every aspect of running a football club, then this is undoubtedly the right choice. Yes, it has already taken over my life.

The PC version of FM is the most realistic football simulation you can buy. You can take care of everything from training schedules to press conferences, new contracts to player fallouts, and backroom staff to youth teams. Basically, you can manage your club with the most intricate detail, and ultimately get the largest reward (or failure) out on the pitch. 

Of course, this level of control isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re short on time or just want to crack on playing matches. Bringing your own identity to a football club can quickly feel like a part-time job, except you aren't being paid. If only. 

Honestly, this game has the power to take over your life - and it's an absolute blast. 

screenshot of fm 21 team talks
Image from Football Manager.

You’ll also have access to a much larger database of leagues, players and manageable clubs, although the size of that database will depend largely on the performance of your PC. Even so, this gives you the greatest amount of freedom, and your journey could take you everywhere from Salford City to Corinthians and back again. 

The match-day graphics are also vastly superior to the Mobile and Touch versions, serving up a much more engaging experience which really has you biting your nails. This is addictive, immersive fun, and it’s the ideal choice if you’ve got plenty of time on your hands - which is essentially every single one of us right now.

Shop Football Manager 2021

Football Manager 2021 - Touch

Platforms: iPad, Android Tablets, Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows.

logo for football manager 2021 touch
Image from Football Manager.

Summary:

- streamlined version of the main game

- get through seasons much faster

- optimised for mobile and touch screens

- Development Centre feature is included

- not as much media or player interaction

- 3D match engine

- the same FM fun, but without all the fluff

- choose up to 10 playable nations


This is pretty similar to the main PC version, but Football Manager Touch is much more streamlined. Built specifically for players who prefer to play on a touch screen, this slimmed-down version still manages to deliver an immersive experience, but without making you worry so much about the small things. 

In the name of keeping it all mobile-friendly, FM Touch leaves out several features you’ll find in the PC version. For example, you won’t really be interacting with the media very often here, whereas on PC you’ll feel like you’re holding a press release every five minutes, while the lack of half-time team talks can be a real off-putter to many. 

You also won’t have as much control over training, staff or your youth team setup, so you’ll spend much more of your time actually playing matches. The depth and scope of the PC version can seem overwhelming to new players, but the Touch edition slims everything down and has you absolutely flying through the seasons. It’ll be 2047 before you know it.

graph showing features for different fm21 touch platforms
Image from Football Manager.

You can’t ignore the fact you’re missing out on some features, but FM21 Touch essentially delivers the same addictive fun, without any of the “fluff” which takes up so much of your time. True, the lack of motivational team talks is a little baffling (this has always been key to the game), but at least you won’t spend half your time responding to emails or firing staff. 

For me, most of what I love about Football Manager is all here.


READ | Who are the best teams to manage on Championship Manager 01/02?


Football Manager 2021 - Mobile

Platforms: Android, iOS

a 2d match in fm21 mobile
Image from Football Manager.

Summary:

- the fastest, easiest way to play

- no Development Centre

- concentrate on matches and transfers

- some elements locked behind paywall

- very little player or media interaction

- 2D match engine

- by far the cheapest option!

- select up to 4 playable nations


Football Manager Mobile is the simplest, lightest version of the game. If PC is full-fat and Touch is semi-skimmed, then this has been skimmed right down to its very core, and you’ll be spending pretty much all of your time making transfers and playing matches. 

Your enjoyment of this game will depend entirely on what you’re looking for. The Mobile version strips things back as far as they’ll realistically go, and is the ideal choice if you just want a quick distraction. While both PC and Touch editions are much more immersive, FM Mobile definitely falls within the “pick up and play” bracket. 

There’s still absolutely no sign of team talks, but media and player interaction have been improved significantly this time around. Even the tactical instructions are much simpler and the matches much quicker. Everything about this version is built around simplicity and speed.  

screenshot of fm 21 team sheets
Image from Football Manager.

The big omission (for me at least), is the lack of a substantial News Feed, as this means you never really feel involved with what’s going on in the wider football world. For example, you aren’t kept up to date with hirings and firings, so you’re constantly heading over to the “Jobs” tab to see if there have been any major updates. Annoying. 

But FM21 Mobile is still an excellent game. It’s a fantastic entryway into the series for new players, letting you fly through seasons without losing your entire social life. You’ll only get a basic 2D matchday engine but, with an expanding pool of playable nations, this is by no means just a cheap barebones version. 

Getting into Football Manager has never been easier. Especially since there’s not much else to do these days.

Ben Hyde

Rubbish FIFA player with an addiction to buying football shirts which are way too cool for me.