Konami faces challenging times with Pro Evolution Soccer

It’s kind of weird to see the position Konami is in with its Pro Evolution Soccer series. At one time, it was the “underdog” to EA’s mighty champion known as FIFA. Yet PES manages to hold its own, with its fans claiming that the superior gameplay made up for the lack of licensing.

Over the years, PES crept closer to the sales that FIFA was consistently achieving until it was pretty much a close race between who could take the number 1 spot and for how long.

However, PES 2010 failed to recreate its magic (in terms of sales) that its past instalments did and as a result, saw FIFA 10 outsell PES 2010 by a “considerable margin”

Why PES 2010 failed to capture the football gamer’s attention can be debated; some have said that the gameplay wasn’t much of a change from 2009 while others have claimed FIFA 10 finally had gameplay to match PES 2010 and had better presentation and modes to boot, Since I haven’t played either game, I’m not really in a position to offer my opinion.

Regardless of the reason, this puts Konami in a position where they have to look at the last instalment, look at the feedback, see what they did right and did wrong, and apply that knowledge to PES 2011.

As far as we’ve heard, Konami have taken this very seriously, with “extensive updates” applying to “the new title's control system, AI, visuals and overall balance.” The next instalment has been described as “most ambitious” with the developer claiming it’s worked closely with fans - who you could argue are more hardcore then FIFA fans, if you believe the stereotype that PES caters to the hardcore gamer while FIFA is more for the casual gamer.

These are the type of challenges Train2Game students may have to face in the future; even with your first game, you have to take on board feedback, updates and changes during the development cycle and hope you make the right choice in what to keep in and what to leave out. And If have a successful game and the chance to release a sequel/update is viable, how will you be able to implement changes and improvements without alienating their existing core fanbase, but also being able to attract new fans?

It’s an impossible question to answer until the new game has been released, where you’ll see if the changes – as well as elements you kept intact – have worked or not. It’s a lesson not just independent studios learn, but veteran developers like Konami go through as well.

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