Konami’s free-to-play eFootball 2022 is hitting digital storefronts on Thursday, September 30 – which means the game will be out one day before EA’s FIFA 22, which releases on October 1.
eFootball 2022 is a reenvisioned and rebranded sequel to the long-running Pro Evolution Soccer series, or PES as it’s commonly known. It promises to shake up the game’s formula thanks to its free-to-play model and new graphics engine.
The move to a free-to-play model should do away with the traditional, annual releases of the past due to its ever-evolving nature, but it also means the game will be in a more barebones state at launch.
On September 30, the official teams that will be available are:
- FC Bayern
- Manchester United
- River Plat
- Sao Paulo
eFootball 2020’s lineup of teams will obviously be dwarfed by the hundreds available in FIFA 22 then, but Konami has said that more teams will be added over time, all of which will be free.
When it comes to official stadia, things aren’t much better. You’ll have six arenas to choose from:
- Camp Nou (Barcelona)
- Old Trafford (Manchester United)
- Allianz Stadium (Juventus)
- Emirates Stadium (Arsenal)
- Allianz Arena (FC Bayern)
- eFootball Stadium (generic)
eFootball 2022 will be available to download on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, mobile, and PC. Cross-platform play is due to arrive in Autumn (September to November), which means no matter which platform you play eFootball 2022 on, you’ll be able to face off against other players. Mobile players will also receive controller support and the ability to play against console and PC players via an update sometime in Winter (December to March).
Popular modes such as Master League will arrive as premium content (that’s mean you’ll have to pay) and the game will implement a Battle Pass-like system known as Match Pass in the future.
Analysis: A bold new strategy
While there’s no guarantee that eFootball 2022’s new free-to-play approach will pay off, it’s a move that many will feel is the right one for Konami’s soccer sim. It’s hard to see how Konami could continue to compete against FIFA 22 by offering paid annual releases, even though many believe that PES has always played a better game of football on the pitch.
By going free-to-play, Konami can at least hope that more players give the game a go and discover that fact for themselves. And, if they can get the free-to-play model right, it could become a thriving community, with players checking back regularly to discover new content and gameplay improvements.
However, there is always a risk when it comes to free-to-play games. The balance between free and premium content has to be right, and in a competitive game such as this, Konami has to ensure that those who spend big aren’t provided with an unfair advantage against those who opt not to spend a penny.
- PS5 vs Xbox Series X: what's the difference?