eFootball PES Is Going Free-to-Play This Year
Following the rumours and speculation, Konami has announced that eFootball PES aka Pro Evolution Soccer is going free-to-play this year.
Firstly, Konami has rebranded the football game to be simply known as “eFootball”, with no PES or year attached to the title. This indicates to me that this will be the name going forward, as an ever-evolving live-service if you will.
eFootball will be powered by the new Unreal Engine “which has allowed us to massively overhaul player expression, we’ve made a number of modifications to virtually create a new football game engine that will power eFootball™ for years to come,” said Seitaro Kimura, producer of eFootball.
Konami claims that despite going free-to-play, eFootball which is a digital-only title will be “a fair and balanced experience for all.” Which I have my reservations about because F2P games are known for making the big-spending gamers happy and feeding them those that might spend little money on the game. But we shall see.
Quite interestingly, eFootball will eventually have matchmaking across all consoles, PC as well as mobile.
eFootball is said to introduce a new animation system called “Motion Matching” on all platforms which apparently “converts the vast range of movements that players make on the pitch into a series of animations, selecting the most accurate one in real-time. The system provides more than four times as many animations as before, achieving highly realistic movement.”
Being a free-to-play title, modes and features will be rolled out post-launch, and some available at launch, as detailed by the roadmap. Certain game modes will also be sold as DLC to give “players the freedom to build an experience that follows their interests.”
eFootball will release “early Autumn”, though we have no set release date yet. In early Autumn cross-gen matchmaking will be enabled for PS4 vs. PS5, and Xbox One vs. Xbox Series X|S. Local matches will also be playable featuring Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester United, and more. It remains to be seen if as many club teams will feature compared to the previous traditional PES releases. Local matches will be free to all.
Later in Autumn, cross-platform matchmaking will be enabled between all consoles and PC. A “Team Building Mode” which is a place-holder name will also launch. I would imagine that this would be like myClub, which is Konami’s answer to FIFA Ultimate Team.
Online Leagues (name TBC) will also launch to “take your original team and compete in a global, competitive league.” Finally, during Autumn, a Match Pass System will also be available which will enable you to “earn items and players by playing eFootball”. So, in other words, this sounds like a battle pass, and I assume this would be paid for.
Then in Winter, more content will roll out. Such as mobile controller support, full cross-platform matchmaking which includes PC vs. console vs. mobile. Professional and amateur eSports tournaments will also begin.
Konami has stated that further details on partnered clubs, licensing, modes, and more will be shared in the coming weeks.
In my humble opinion, I am a little torn on eFootball going free-to-play. I like the idea of the game being free to all, however, going by past experiences, being F2P also enables companies to monetise the hell out of any game.
Can we really trust that matchmaking and unlocked content will be balanced and fair? How much will it cost to buy additional content and modes? How heavily monetised will the best players be and how difficult will it be to obtain them? Further details on the new direction of eFootball can be found here.
At this time, we can only speculate, but we will all know soon enough. What are your thoughts on eFootball going F2P? Let us know across our social media channels.
Featured Image Credit: Konami