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Were Konami’s New Exclusivity Tactics Enough to Win the Soccer Sales War? - Armchair Empire

Were Konami’s New Exclusivity Tactics Enough to Win the Soccer Sales War?

Every year, FIFA and PES – now known as eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 – go head-to-head to win over one of the largest demographics of gamers in the world: soccer fans. It’s the biggest sport in the world, so whichever developer can relay the sport in the most realistic and entertaining way would become a goliath of the gaming industry.

Soccer fans will buy either game annually, and in recent years, Konami’s PES has been said to be closing in on EA Sports’ FIFA over the last few years. This year, however, there appeared to be disappointments on both sides of the trenches. As shown in this comparison, both FIFA 20 and PES 20 took a step back.

 However, the story has always been about whether or not PES can win over FIFA fans, and with their hard-nosed tactics of exclusivity hitting FIFA hard this year, did the Konami product succeed in taking over EA Sports’ soccer title?

PES taking teams from FIFA

One of the major selling-points of FIFA over PES has been its licensing. In the past, FIFA has owned pretty much every license to show team names, badges, players, and leagues – becoming even more powerful by taking the UEFA Champions League licensing from PES a couple of editions back. Now, however, PES has decided that if they can’t beat them, join them, landing club exclusivity deals of their own.

Having the right licensed clubs can win over droves of fans, and eFootball PES 2020 has a fine selection, including Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Arsenal, and Schalke 04 among others. But the real win for the Konami game was landing incredibly popular clubs from around the world, including the one that employees the star who many see as the best in the world.

FIFA 20 isn’t allowed to use the team names, symbols, or equipment of Argentina’s biggest clubs, River Plate and Boca Juniors, or Italian giants Juventus. This will undoubtedly help to sway the huge fanbases of the massive soccer clubs – especially as they are so dominant in their soccer-mad nations.

PES landing these exclusive licenses was a big win, especially as they all set for further greatness this season. Boca Juniors and River Plate are, once again, battling for the Argentine Primera, and the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Juventus are favorites to win Series A in the sports betting and are +1100 to win the Champions League. As these teams assert their dominance and put in bigger and better performances throughout the season, more fans will want to play as the teams in-game – a privilege that only PES can fully provide.

Was it enough?

Looking back on previous editions, multiple reviewers have noted that PES games had the more lifelike gameplay and sometimes even better graphics, but it’s never led to them overcoming FIFA. EA Sports pumps far too much money into advertising and overall licensing that when people think of a soccer game, their minds automatically turn to FIFA.

PES captured some crucial exclusive licenses, but FIFA boasts far more. Konami’s eFootball PES 2020 launched before FIFA 20 this year, but as soon as the EA Sports title was released, PES was knocked down from fourth to seventh in the combined digital and retail sales rankings. Then, at the start of November, FIFA 20 announced that it had reached 10 million players across all platforms.

Pro Evolution Soccer certainly has its fans, and it may have even been able to close the gap on FIFA this year, but there’s no denying that FIFA is still winning the soccer video game sales war.

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