Konami’s monetization of eFootball already feels like an own goal

Lionel Messi on the cover of eFootball
(Image credit: Konami)

Konami has revealed that eFootball’s first piece of premium content will cost $39.99 / £32.99, which is close to the price of a full game. 

The “eFootball 2022 Premium Play Pack” includes six ‘Chance Deals’, 2800 eFootball Coins, and a further two Chance Deals as a bonus for pre-ordering the free-to-play game in advance. If your eyes are rolling into the back of your head at the sight of yet another in-game currency, and the word “chance” being used in something you’re actually paying for, know that at least you’re not alone.

What makes eFootball’s microtransaction pack all the more irksome, though, is the fact you won’t be able to use the contents until two months after the game launches on September 30, 2021. Instead, you’ll have to wait until an update “scheduled for mid-November of 2021” before you can splash eFootball’s monopoly-style money.

But what are Chance Deals, exactly? Well, they let you sign one of 16 “top-tier Ambassador and partner club players”, which honestly means nothing to me. A description on the eFootball website, which has since been removed (thanks, VGC), said that when each Chance Deal is used, you’ll get a different player from the list of 16 and avoid any duplicates.

It means, then, that some users could spend $80 to purchase every top-tier Ambassador and partner club player if they really want to. And sadly, countless players probably will, which is why I’ve always been turned off by the likes of FIFA 22’s Ultimate Team that sees players spend real-world cash to build a squad of fancy footballers.

eFootball’s take on Ultimate Team is ‘Creative Teams’. This is where these microtransactions will really come into play (and hopefully won't seep into the other modes). Konami claims its monetization model for eFootball will be “rebalanced to ensure that all players can reach the same potential, regardless of how they acquire in-game items”, but forgive me if I’m a little skeptical about that.

The game will use three types of currency: eFootball Coins (premium), eFootball Points (earned through gameplay), and GP (also earned through gameplay). If Konami can give out eFootball Points at a generous enough rate, perhaps there’s a chance that players won’t feel unfairly compelled to purchase the game’s premium currency, which will no doubt be bundled into very specific, annoying amounts.

Thankfully, for the rest of us who don’t see the value of spending money on building a virtual team of football players, eFootball will let at least let players take part in friendly matches locally or online using the nine official teams that are available. Hopefully, the on-pitch action will not disappoint.

Opinion: Cash for goals 

(Image credit: Konami)

While it’s common knowledge and completely expected at this point that free-to-play games tend to be littered with microtransactions and premium bundles such as this, I can’t help but feel disappointed that Konami is pushing DLC so readily for what will likely be its main money-spinner, Creative Team, especially as it can’t even be used until a later date.

It also makes me worry about the direction of eFootball in general. There’s a real possibility that the development team will be bogged down by trying to monetize the game at every given opportunity, instead of focusing on eFootball delivering the most convincing game of soccer to date.

I really hope that eFootball’s Master League mode, which has always been the highlight of any PES game for me, is free of microtransactions, too. Especially as Konami has confirmed that Master League will be a separate purchase later down the line. 

Time will ultimately tell if Konami can get the balance right with eFootball, as the free-to-play model, when done right, can be compelling for both players and developers. The prospect of eFootball allowing cross-platform play, including against mobile players, is also something that FIFA 22 doesn’t offer, and with the game being free, there’s at least no barrier to entry this time around. Let’s just hope Konami keeps the number of microtransactions in check. 

eFootball will be available to download for free on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and mobile on September 30, 2021.

Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.