EFootball 2022 and the Anticlimax of PES-FIFA Rivalry


In 2019, the Japanese video game company, Konami, began adding the "eFootball" appendage to their flagship series, Pro Evolution Soccer (hereinafter referred to as PES). An addition meant to highlight the focus of the series now, online soccer games. In the next title released this year, they completely abandoned the name "PES" and released eFootball 2022. The free-to-play and cross-platform game is now Konami's mainstay merchandise. They even reached a year apart, between eFootball PES 2020 & eFootball 2022 (by only releasing the 2021 issue fever update for the first title), in order to emphasize the game for next gen consoles.

More realistic, rivaling the series made by Electronic Arts (hereinafter written by EA) earlier. But what happened was the opposite. Since its release in late September, eFootball 2022 is not only considered the worst game in the series, from the Castolo to Lobato era, but also the worst-rated game on Steam. The top tag pinned by users is "Psychological Horror", a label that has almost nothing to do with soccer simulation games. Of the 17,530 reviews that have existed on Steam since this article was written, only 10% are positive--overall it is considered "overwhelmingly negative". 

Various negative comments on eFootball 2022 based on technical aspects, graphics, gameplay, and everything also widened & triggered a massive roasting in social media. Of the game journalists who have tried it, there are those who say he is that bad, but there are also those who say that the bad reviews are too much. Konami itself immediately apologized and stated that it would immediately attach an update this month as well. For one game in the franchise that has sold over 100 million copies, this is a disaster. The intention to compete again using FIFA (which has sold over 300 million copies) could also be just a mere intention.

PES & FIFA Rivalry I don't forget to play FIFA on PlayStation and the colors disappear to monochrome. Maybe it has something to do with the division of regions in video games, if not pirated CDs belonging to bad PS rentals. That's not a matter of gameplay, where we are able to tackle the goalkeeper versus--of course it ends up being a red card (or black because the game is colorless). In the first FIFA series released in 1993 (FIFA International Soccer) you can even run away based on the chase of the referee who wants to reward your players using cards. 

Playing Roberto Carlos as a striker in PES also makes sense. The predecessor to PES was released in 1996 under the name Goal Storm or its Japanese name World Soccer Winning Eleven (hereinafter referred to as WE). Goal Storm then changed its name as ISS Pro Evolution which then changed again to Pro Evolution Soccer in 2001. This first PES is also known in Japan as WE 5. The first PES title that accompanied the release of PlayStation 2 began to compete with FIFA. In the decade of the 2000s, PES (or WE) mushroomed in every PS rental and tournaments were held regularly. The continuity of the PES series & its popularity in all the places I live makes me continue to play this game instead of trying FIFA. In eFootball PES 2020, I still played Master League mode until the latest issue of the 2040s, when Gianluigi Buffon has retired twice. 

While at Tirto's work, my colleagues are even still playing PES 2019. Outside, EA with its FIFA is growing slowly, while PES is advancing rapidly. In PES three, Konami even confidently uses referees such as Pierluigi Collina to be the cover of the cassette instead of famous players according to Real Madrid or Manchester United. Where FIFA is all about broad licensing, PES is a case of gameplay--feels more football. In exchange for the limited license, PES players themselves are free to modify teams and players in edit mode. Entering the mid-2000s, sales of PES five & PES 6 consecutively outperformed their opponents, FIFA 06 and FIFA 07. PES 6 (or WE 10) content even continues to be modified & is still commonly found on game stalls to this day. 

The accompanying songs have been replaced with Indonesian songs, while the original cover featuring Shunsuke Nakamura & Zico has long since transformed into any player as long as he symbolizes the transfer in this updated game. In order to get rid of the impression that PES is lagging behind according to FIFA (for example: when EA released FIFA 06 in 2006, Konami only arrived in PES five), Konami then changed the naming tradition to follow the year of release. There is no PES 7 or WE 11, there are PES 2008 & WE 2008. The use of this name continued until the last PES series was released using the name eFootball PES 2020.

In terms of sales, FIFA 08 managed to overtake PES 2008. EA's soccer game is estimated to have sold 9.49 million copies, while Konami's soccer game has sold 8.56 million interim. The difference is not too wide, but this momentum was successfully utilized by FIFA as best it could. FIFA sales almost always increase (the peak was in FIFA 15 which sold 18.03 million copies) while PES sales dipped (PES 2019 only sold around 500 thousand copies). The main factor based on the change in wind direction was EA's readiness to deal with the release of next gen consoles at that time, such as PS3 & Xbox 360. 

With a new engine, not just graphic improvements, FIFA managed to match PES in terms of gameplay, the main selling point for soccer simulation games. Konami all this time. Since then FIFA has never looked back, not even having to look up again to see PES. More Lagging When FIFA has a license (which PES does not have) and the gameplay is just as good, then the conflict is resolved. It seems that not many players have bothered to renew Man Blue as Manchester City and play a plain shirt like a cheap jersey that shrivels up after being in the washing machine twice. "EA copied everything that was good in the old PES and implemented it in FIFA," said Steve Merrett, Konami's publicist from 2001 to 2018. The emergence of the Ultimate Team (FUT) mode since FIFA 09 has widened the gap between FIFA and PES. 

Not to mention additions such as women's teams and The Journey, a mode where players can live life as a footballer with various twists and turns, which goes beyond Become A Legend, a similar mode that was previously available on PES. With innovative and vibrant modes, it's not even a battle over who has the better gameplay. Thanks to the Ultimate Team mode, EA is able to make their game a topic of conversation on the internet. The symbiosis between FIFA using clubs and football players in the real world also contributed to increasing FIFA's popularity. Take for example social media posts or response videos from players addressing their modern rating on the game.

Konami then woke up and tried to earn the remaining licenses by receiving exclusive rights such as the Camp Nou stadium, the Barcelona cage, and of course the most horrendous, the right to use the Juventus name, which made the team from Turin to be named Piemonte Calcio in FIFA 20. This was before at all not the focal point of PES. As explained at the beginning of this writing, Konami also took a year off to focus on eFootball 2022. 

They don't want to miss a second time when the next gen consoles are released. Unfortunately, once again, this comeback momentum failed miserably. For casual players such as my colleagues at the office, they will probably continue to play PES 2019 and manually move players every time the trend changes. But players & hardcore fans of the 2 games certainly hope that FIFA and PES will continue to push each other to be better instead of falling, for an increasingly satisfying playing experience.

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