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Are you curious about how has ea sports managed to beat Konami and stay in the highest position? Read the article below

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Can Konami, who is already a distant second to EA Sports, rebound from the disastrous launch of their main football game?

While 25,000 people checked in to watch individuals play FIFA 22 on Twitch on a Saturday night in early December, only 19 people watched the competitive game eFootball 2022.

The cultural divide between EA Sports’ FIFA series and Konami’s eFootball – a rename of its once-dominant Pro Evolution Soccer game – has widened more than ever this year, with eFootball 2022 players looking like zombies and game mode options rehashed from previous incarnations.

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Even Konami aficionados are having trouble justifying their time spent on a game that is commonly regarded as unfinished. The current setback has been especially difficult to swallow for those devoted fans who have stuck with PES even as its popularity has faded since its golden days in the mid-2000s, and who want to continue supporting the game publisher.

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“I feel like they sold us a lot of optimism, and what we received was pretty disappointing,” YouTube video maker Bryan Bryezer said to the source on how eFootball 2022’s final product compared to the excitement surrounding its pre-launch. “It almost feels like a slap in the face, because as a PES fan, you get the game every year.”

“It’s astounding, to be honest, that a business with this much history would release a game that’s practically unplayable.”

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Via eu-images.contentstack.com

PES was formerly largely regarded as the superior football simulation due to its advanced game play immersion and extensive customising tools for the time. It didn’t have the same licencing range as EA, but that didn’t matter. In older games, subtleties like an AI system that truly punished poor decision-making existed that aren’t even fully realised now.

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However, Konami hasn’t outsold FIFA for a football game in well over a decade; in 2018, global sales peaked at 550,000 copies, compared to FIFA’s 12.2 million.

Konami has given eFootball for free this year in an attempt to reclaim some of its lost market share. The buggy release, on the other hand, has done little to improve its public reputation.

“We are deeply sorry for the issues, and we want to reassure everyone that we will take all concerns seriously and work to fix the current situation,” Konami said in a statement in response to the outpouring of criticism directed against eFootball 2022.

Since then, Konami has promised a major springtime update to the game, which will likely include the return of old game modes like Master League and Become A Legend, as well as a new mobile launch. The company is hoping that these innovations will help to correct the flaws with eFootball 2022’s release.

But, considering its previous failures, can it really make the game acceptable to consumers in a short period of time, not only retaining hardcore supporters but also gaining new ones?

It’s helpful to look back at Konami’s history of conflict with EA Sports, as well as the significance of console generation transitions like the one the video game industry is currently experiencing, to appreciate the background of Konami’s involvement in football.

Let’s start with Konami at its pinnacle, offering one of its best games at the end of the PlayStation 2’s life cycle, which it had previously dominated.

Many people would tell you that when Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (also known as Winning Eleven 9) was released in August 2005, it was one of the best, if not the best, football video games ever developed.

Pro Evolution Soccer 5 cover

“You were completely immersed in the drama,” said YouTube creator Marlon Anthony, who has done substantial documentary work on the history of PES and FIFA. “I believe it was a supernatural occurrence.” In a bottle, there was magic.”

On Metacritic, PES 5 scored an 8.3 user rating, whereas FIFA 06 received a 7.8.

Anthony chooses PES 5 over the others because he has documented the evolution of football games throughout the 1990s. The competitive intensity required to succeed is refreshing, he remarked, when compared to prior games.

“The player is rewarded for their patience, and your opponent is punished for making terrible decisions,” he explained. “Modern games strive too hard to make the player feel like they’re [winning], and whatever you want happens for you, regardless of whether it makes sense for your player’s body form or the team’s situation on the field.”

“PES 5’s nature was harsh, and you had to work hard to achieve your objectives.” And you’d know why something failed if you rushed a pass or a shot. Whereas now, regardless of the circumstances, I believe that if a player requests to shoot, regardless of whether it makes sense or should be successful, nine times out of ten, it will go on target and result in a goal. You’re unsatisfied because you didn’t intend to shoot in that way.”

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Konami was incredibly confident and prepared to take risks in this age, knowing they had a fantastic product. It even included a referee on the game’s cover, as well as a mode in which human participants may be replaced with penguins or dinosaurs.

Former Konami public relations chief Steve Merrett described the company’s confidence level during the PlayStation 2 period to The Guardian as “we could accomplish anything at that stage.”

And they did for a time.

However, EA Sports rapidly grabbed control of the playground after the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were released, ushering in the crucial next-gen transition phase.

As EA concentrated their sports video game titles around this period, FIFA became increasingly prominent. After 2005, it lost its MLB rights, and in 2007, it stopped covering collegiate baseball. With the soaring NBA 2K series, Take-Two Interactive had destroyed EA in basketball by 2011, leaving EA’s NBA Live brand in a distant second place. Due to legal challenges, development of the popular NCAA Football game ceased in 2014.

Desperation to succeed in football spawned an era of innovation and rapid advancement.

FIFA 09 was not only the most important title in current football video game history, but also in modern sports game history in general. That’s because it launched FIFA Ultimate Team, a build-your-own-fantasy-squad game mode with gleaming virtual cards that represent players who can be used in real-life matches.

The game mode is now a mainstay of several EA sports series, including NBA 2K and San Diego Studios’ MLB The Show.

“Obviously, it was the huge changing moment where it was like, OK, it used to be about how the game played and how it looked and all that stuff, and now it’s about the fact that FIFA has Ultimate Team,” game reviewer Jordan Oloman said. “Ultimate Team is the big moneymaker. And, as you may know, if you’re a teenager like me, Ultimate Team was the biggest thing ever when it originally came out.

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“Everyone plays FIFA over PES because of the Ultimate Team cult.”

Indeed, the action in FIFA 09 was far from flawless, with online players rapidly discovering that goalkeepers could be chipped from any outside-the-box angle, including immediately from kick-off. New additions like Ultimate Team, as well as upgrades to Career Mode, served to pique interest and lay the basis for ultimate dominance in the 2010s.

EA Sports had found its groove, and it didn’t have to worry as much about the competitor slipping behind it.

Former FIFA head designer Gary Paterson admitted to The Guardian that “after FIFA 08, we didn’t really look towards PES.” “We had so many things on our to-do list. We spent a lot of time talking about the shooting mechanism, which was a more advanced version of what we’d done on the PS2. The designers would describe the difficulty as “passing the ball 15 times in order to generate room for a shot,” rather than “passing the ball once.”

EA Sports harnessed the momentum of FIFA 09 to build titles that pushed the boundaries of what was possible on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, much how Konami had honed its product to near-perfection late in the PS2’s lifecycle.

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EA began to realise their goal of 360-degree player dribbling and passing control around the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, eventually culminating in full freedom of movement, which was urgently required in football video games.

Soon after, PES gained similar skills, but its instability from year to year during this time period meant it couldn’t keep up with its rivals’ advancements across the board.

“Each game didn’t just get better than the one before it,” Anthony explained. “We’d have one game that would come along, and it would be, you know, not industry-changing, but it would be very, very impactful, and it would be critically appreciated.” “And then, in so many ways, the next game would regress.”

To make matters worse for Konami, the company’s failure to tap into the burgeoning cultural genre of YouTube and game streaming meant that a disproportionate number of influencers were handing FIFA tremendous amounts of free advertising.

Videos of Ultimate Team pack launches with live responses racked up millions of views for accounts like KSI, who now has over 23 million YouTube followers after branching out into more mainstream cultural subject matter.

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In the years afterwards, EA has made it a point to work with singers and internationally prominent players from various sports to help promote games.

“That [influencer culture] has definitely boosted popularity to the fullest, to the point where, in the build-up to FIFA 22, influencers and football stars were prioritised,” Oloman added. “That influencer boom and YouTube boom all happened at the same time, and a lot of influencers who are now more lifestyle brands like KSI and have music albums rode up on this great wave of FIFA Ultimate Team.”

It was enough of a perfect storm for EA that the PS3 and Xbox 360 transition to the PS4 and Xbox One in 2013 went by without Konami making any meaningful advances.

In 2009, the difference in sales was only 1.8 million copies; by 2018, it had grown to over 12 million copies.

eFootball 2022 on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S marked an opportunity for Konami to exploit a system transition to drive the start of a comeback after being in decline for almost a decade and failing to capitalise on the previous console shift.

After all, EA has been accused of putting too much faith in the Ultimate Team idea, which attracted a lot of attention and earnings when it originally debuted.

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According to Oloman, some aspects of the pack opening system are predatory, with users driven to loot boxes with minimal odds of obtaining desirable cards.

However, an EA spokesperson refuted this claim, telling a source, “Spending is fully discretionary in our game.” FUT packs can be opened by earning incentives through gaming, which is how the majority of players do it – more than three quarters of FIFA 21 players did not spend any money in the game, and nine out of ten FUT packs opened in FIFA 21 were earned rather than purchased. In the end, it’s a game of skill, and we devote a significant amount of time and money to ensuring that gameplay determines long-term success in-game.

“We firmly think that Ultimate Team and FUT Packs, which have been a feature of the game for more than a decade, are a part of FIFA that players like, and we will continue to listen to our community and invest in the game to improve it for everyone.”

Konami has not only failed to establish a credible alternative to EA’s strategy this year, capitalising on the criticism levelled at its rival, but with its springtime game update still pending, the firm has slipped farther behind during a historically critical moment.

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EA Sports plans to capitalise on Konami’s misstep in the previous next-gen cycle by taking a fast-paced business approach.

On a recent earnings call, CEO Andrew Wilson remarked, “When we kind of communicate with our hundreds of millions of football fans, they tell us they want more cultural brand involvement from across the world.” “They want more [experiences] inside the game that aren’t limited to 11-on-11 football. They want new digital experiences outside of the game, such as esports, virtual reality, and broader sports consumption, and they want us to react swiftly.”

Of course, whether that pledge to keep improving the product rather than becoming complacent will be fulfilled remains to be seen. While EA Sports has been the more groundbreaking firm since the PlayStation 3’s release, Konami has had its moments of brilliance as well, albeit more recently than its rival.

Konami’s return to form, as implausible as it may appear in the aftermath of eFootball 22, would not be received with quiet.

Consider Dylan. For example, Yo, a self-described football gaming fanatic with a fondness for retro titles, owes his nostalgia to a childhood spent with a Nintendo World Cup, two controllers, and a brother who, even as an adult, still gives crooked thumbs up to refer to the mangled way his hand would look after long basement sessions pressing the sprint trigger.

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The native of New Mexico, United States, has been a member of the FIFA family for a long time and sees no need to quit now. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility. After all, football video games can transcend the sport’s tight tribalism.

“To tell you the truth, I’d be willing to convert to PES at some point,” he remarked. “I mean, I’m not obligated to you in any way.” If a better soccer-related game comes out, I’ll attempt to play it because I’m more concerned about having a good time. My days of fierce rivalry are passed, you know. “All I want to do is have fun.”

For many, the presence of FIFA plus a Konami game, such as PES or eFootball, fosters a competitive environment that can only benefit the consumer.

After all, the studio rivalry has spawned innovation that has inspired all sports games.

“They’re both crucial to each other,” Anthony, the documentary’s creator, said, “despite though many people now would probably believe there isn’t really a rivalry anymore.” “I still think they’re both vital, and I don’t want to see one of them go out of business,” he says, despite Konami’s terrible launch of eFootball. They still have time to turn around and get back into this…”

“Those who decided to release the game in the form it was in must learn a terrible lesson….” “It was necessary to humiliate myself.”

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