PES Football Series Becoming Free-to-Play eFootball

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Konami has just revealed details regarding their next football game, and it seems that they’re doing a drastic shake-up. Instead of releasing a new game every year, they are launching a new platform that will continue to evolve with new updates and other additions. The platform will be available on all hardware including mobile phones. They are also changing the name from PES to eFootball, and contrary to earlier PES versions, eFootball will be available for free.

Last year, Konami announced that they would break the annual chain and take a one-year break. Instead of launching PES 2021, Konami launched a season update for PES 2020. Konami cited ‘focusing on next-gen’ as a reason for that shift. They also announced that they’ll change the game engine to the Unreal Engine from the previous Fox Engine. The extra time and moving to a more capable engine allowed Konami to make a decision that they feel is best for the franchise and their business model.

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Image via Konami

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Konami hasn’t yet disclosed full details on how exactly the free-to-play eFootball will function, but they have shared a roadmap for the game. eFootball has no release date and is slated for release this autumn. It is scheduled to launch with an exhibition mode, which will feature 9 teams, including Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Manchester United. After its initial release, Konami will provide seasonal updates through DLC and introduce new modes such as online leagues and team-building modes. The game will also feature a battle pass type tier system called Match Pass, which will be available at a later date.

PES always had a free-to-play version called PES Lite, but going entirely to a free model is new. Konami hasn’t made clear how much content will be locked behind a paywall and whether season update content will be free for all players. Going free-to-play isn’t the only new addition, as Konami is adding a new motion-matching animation system that allows four times more animations than the previous PES games. Konami says this is only possible because of the newer engine and will be applied to all versions, including the mobile version of the game.

The change in the format is because of changing trends in the game industry. Many franchises have found immense success with the free-to-play model, and PES also found similar success with their mobile version. The idea behind it is that a single evolving platform will increase player engagement and could result in higher long-term revenue. Konami will share more details about the game later in August. eFootball is planned to launch on every possible platform later this year and will be digital-only.

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