Konami changes the focus of its legendary sports saga, which returns to action in the fall. PES 2022 will be free, digital-only and it will be called eFootball: details and platforms.
When Konami announced that its Pro Evolution Soccer 2022 saga – Winning Eleven in Japan – was taking a year off in 2020, it was the first sign that major changes were coming for the franchise, and boy are they. As rumoured for months, the PES saga takes a radical turn and goes to the free-to-play format, leaving behind that game of annual titles that the FIFA saga maintains. And not only that: PES will also change its name, and will now be known as eFootball, simply.
In en exclusive news by IGN, Konami confirms that the new eFootball (Pro Evolution Soccer 2022) will be a game as a service, a “platform” that they will expand with frequent patches and other larger annual updates with each new season, all of them free. And yes, this means that the PES saga says goodbye forever to annual paid games. With its name change, eFootball (Pro Evolution Soccer 2022) will be available this fall for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and PC, with a later release on iOS and Android. Konami has not confirmed its release on Nintendo Switch.
The game will be free on all platforms and will feature crossplay features starting this winter. As confirmed by the aforementioned media, eFootball will debut this fall with a reduced content offer: exhibition matches and a selection of 9 starting teams will be available, which you can check in the image below. Konami will sell the rest of the modes as paid DLC. The Japanese company has not mentioned if that will be the case with the MyClub mode – the ‘Ultimate Team’ of PES – although IGN believes that this will be reconverted into a new mode of team creation that will be published after the launch.
With its move to free-to-play as a service, Konami has published a roadmap with its initial plans for eFootball (Pro Evolution Soccer 2022). The game will include a “Match Pass”, which will act as a Season Pass with content, in addition to its other avenues of monetization such as DLC modes. Konami does not clarify if the game will add new equipment as paid or free DLC, but they promise that the monetization of eFootball will be “fair and balanced” for all players.
Beyond this change of format, eFootball (Pro Evolution Soccer 2022) will maintain the possibility of installing Option Files in the game, that classic PES function to introduce custom teams and players and thus avoid licensing restrictions. Of course, it will be added after launch. Of course, and after a year off, eFootball (Pro Evolution Soccer 2022) promises to evolve PES gameplay thanks to its new engine and an improved animation system, Motion Matching, where Konami talks about offering up to 4 times more animations than in PES 2020.
Unlike FIFA 22, the new eFootball Motion Matching system will not be exclusive to PS5 or Xbox Series, and the new animations will be present even in the mobile versions. Konami promises to offer more details of this new eFootball in August and we will then know all the information about its playability, its online modes and its free-to-play game.