After 25 years, Konami has decided to retire its premier Football simulation game, PES or Pro Evolution Soccer. The company has decided to rebrand FIFA’s only true rival to eFootball. With its mammoth announcement, Konami has also manifested other big, and noteworthy changes to its franchise. In an unprecedented and risky move to unearth FIFA’s dominance, Konami revealed its substantial changes to the community.
Over the years there have been many debates over the quality of the two games. While the heavy lean is towards FIFA for its aesthetic elegance and animations, PES’s rather smaller community argues that they have better gameplay features. While this may or may not be true, one thing is certain, FIFA is clearly the dominant competitor. With massive sales each year, the competitive FIFA community is much larger than PES.
Every year, PES has released its game before FIFA rolls out its franchise in order to gain a market advantage. But, the lack of userbase and the aesthetic simplicity has not helped their cause. MyClub, the FUT rival mode in PES, has not gained the popularity of the EA sports franchise. The absence of enough licensed teams in PES has also been a major hindrance for PES. Therefore, Konami has taken a major leap, albeit risky, in rebranding its title to eFootball. The new eFootball title will feature changes that could potentially change the roadmap for the game.
THE MAJOR CHANGES
The first and most notable change is that the franchise has become free to play. Every year, similar to FIFA, the PES franchise needed to be purchased to get the updates for the next season. Konami has officially announced that from the upcoming update, eFootball gamers will not need to purchase the game every year. eFootball will be available for download every year completely free of charge.
#eFootball™ is on a path to change football gaming forever, and it doesn't stop at launch.
As an evolving platform, we will deliver regular updates and upgrades to players. Including more modes in the future.
— eFootball (@play_eFootball) July 21, 2021
Konami has also announced that it will no longer provide DLC for the game. eFootball will have to be downloaded as it will only be available as a digital copy. This might not be good news for some users who do not possess a stable internet connection. However, this does follow the trend of most online gaming franchises and therefore shouldn’t be too concerning.
The other major change being rolled out is the change of the gameplay engine. Konami has switched to the Unreal Engine to accommodate newer features and also to speed up and improve the design features. According to Konami, the new engine will allow adopt a new system termed motion matching. This new system will allow up to four times as many animations as the previous PES versions.
Free-to-Play is just the beginning.
Rebuilt in Unreal® Engine, #eFootball™ delivers advanced graphics and 4x as many animations than last year with "Motion Matching" technology.
Better yet, this tech is available across ALL platforms, not just next-gen. https://t.co/5531iazNTu
— eFootball (@play_eFootball) July 21, 2021
eFootball will also be a cross-platform game according to the developers. This is a major statement as FIFA has not implemented this change at any level. The brand new eFootball will be available on PlayStation5, PlayStation4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows 10 and PC Steam. It will then be released on android and iOS.
LICENSING AND GAMEPLAY CHANGES
Konami has announced that it will add Atalanta and Napoli as they have acquired the licenses for the two Italian clubs. eFootball will likely also feature all the previously held licenses in PES. The addition of new licensed teams should attract new enthusiasts to the franchise as well.
Another major improvement to be expected is the graphics update. While we do not have enough information on the quality of the improvement, some releases and the trailer points to increased importance to player graphics and animation. The new detailed graphics in the unreal engine is getting the community excited and many can’t wait for the official release.
We’re proud to have you on board @neymarjr 🙌
— eFootball (@play_eFootball) July 20, 2021
The publishers also promise to improve the 1v1 aspect of the game, laying much more importance on it by seeking expert advice from pro footballers. The addition of improved graphics and motion with excellent gameplay should help give them an edge in the coming years.
“We have created a one-on-one system that is incredibly thrilling and, most importantly, realistic,” says the publisher.
With FIFA still dominating the space, eFootball seems like a risky but ambitious move by Konami to gain on their competitors. Many good additions and improvements are being implemented and so eFootball does look appealing to many. With it being free to play, many casual FIFA fans might also switch to the Konami sim.