This year’s instalment of Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series is stepping up the licencing war with EA’s FIFA IP.
PES 2013 will boast 150 licenses in total, including the entire Spanish league, every team in Italy’s Serie A, The UEFA Champions League, a host of European club teams and 17 additional international teams, including England.
What it lacks, however, is a strong showing from the Premier League. In fact, Konami’s press material suggests that Manchester United will be the only licenced team from the English divisions.
Konami has been especially bullish in the build-up to PES 2013, clearly buoyed by the genuine belief that the game is best the series has produced since its PS2 heyday.
“We always focused on gameplay and that’s what we want to get back to,” UK PES boss John Murphy said last month.
“Maybe EA thinks they’ve gone far enough with gameplay and they’ve got other things to do – maybe they want to attract a different kind of audience with different features.
“But I’ve always thought it’s right that we should be concentrating really hard on the way you play a game against someone else, and that unique PES feeling, which is all about gameplay.”
However, licences are the one area where Konami has admitted that it cannot compete. The reason for this is simple. Licencing is not about dev talent or strategy – it’s about raw spending power.
And when your opponent is EA and it’s going around buying exclusivity agreements with individual clubs and leagues, that’s a lose-lose battle.