Japanese game developer Konami is a long way from its heyday. Titles like Castlevania, Metal Gear, Suikoden, and Silent Hill are now in the dark, with the company dedicating its efforts to Pachinko gambling machines, rather than digital entertainment. PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) or Winning Eleven (as it was known in the East), was one of the few titles that continued to bring new deliveries year after year, competing with FIFA to establish itself as the best soccer simulation video game. The industry used to have dozens of different bets for these sports games, but little by little only PES and FIFA remained, and today it was known that the era of PES has ended. From now on it will be called eFootball and it will be a free video game. We tell you everything that is happening in the world of digital football.
The overturn to free to play
There is no official date for the launch of eFootball , but at least we will have to wait until September 22 to learn about this new commercial video game strategy from Konami. Two great figures of world football such as Messi and Neymar, are the godfathers of this new football adventure with which Konami will try to get closer to players from multiple platforms with a next-generation title, with free content and microtransactions and other ways to make money. . Will they be able to combine the enthusiasm of both casual and hardcore gamers? Will it have an attractive enough development to invite you to continue playing even without paying, or will it become one of those games that, given the impossibility of putting money in, becomes unplayable?
The new eFootball will have a new graphics engine, customized from what was Unreal Engine, and leaving behind the Fox engine . This will facilitate that it can be played multiplatform and on consoles of different generations. Konami has already confirmed that the game will be available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One Windows 10, Steam, iOS, and Android. Nintendo is out, and at the moment it is not known if it will ever have a version for the Nintendo Switch, but it is too early to say.
What are free to play games?
Free to play titles are those that, in the first instance, can be played directly once installed. We don’t need anything else to start playing action, skill, or in this case soccer adventures. In the event that eFootball definitively adopts this strategy, it is most likely that we have the game and the basic functionalities available to play online from minute 0, but that there are purchase alternatives within the game interface for new characters, game modes, hairstyles, clothing, leagues and more. It has not been confirmed yet, and everything is very recent, but the transformation of PES into eFootball will surely bring many changes. In addition, it is consistent with a focus on eSports for a company like Konami, which in recent years has turned to the development of less demanding titles and abandoning its large franchises of triple-A titles to oblivion.
Division closures and the promise to be “more agile”
In February 2021, Konami closed three of its divisions dedicated to video game production . Despite the statements that denied the abandonment of the video game industry, many fans of the company ended up burying their longings to see great franchises such as Castlevania, Metal Gear and Silent Hill return in all their splendor. From Konami they said that the closure and restructuring measures aimed to make the company more agile for the development of video games in more efficient ways, but this decision to end PES and make it a free to play under the name eFootball, does nothing but disappoint to the few fans still waiting for a revival from the Japanese firm.
It is true that the video game development industry has changed abruptly and that today the development of a triple A game is very expensive, without knowing also if it will get back the investment. But Konami’s turn to Pachinko gambling machines , and its growing concern with making its soccer franchise profitable by including microtransactions doesn’t seem to be the path that fans were hoping for.
Perhaps this is the defining moment in the history of Konami , a company that since its inception in 1969, has been changing and shaping part of the entertainment industry. Today, with business decisions being questioned by fans and its large franchises almost in total oblivion, it is likely that it is taking the last steps to become just a company that supports a video game with millions of fans, but without innovating or offering other alternatives such as I used to do when I had shooter, horror, adventure, role-playing and sports video games. We’ll see what history holds for Konami.