Between June and July, all football fans eyes’ will be focused on the EURO 2016 tournament. Helping fans celebrate the tournament, which takes place in France this year, is Pro Evolution Soccer 2016‘s EURO 2016 content which will be available for free for those who already own the.
While many welcomed the news of EURO 2016 when (PES 2016 publisher) Konami announced it last year, fans aren’t happy as the EURO 2016 content pack only includes full licenses for 15 of the 24 teams who will be playing in France and one licensed stadium. But, more than just being disappointing, it also highlights why the PES franchise will never beat its rival, FIFA.
EURO 2016 and Why PES Will Never Beat FIFA
When the EURO 2016 content was revealed, fans were incredibly vocal across social media: that it’s unacceptable for Konami to release this content when it is missing half of the things that will be on show when the real-world EURO 2016 tournament kicks off. As noted, nine of the teams who will be taking part are not licensed: Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. A whopping nine out of 10 stadiums are missing, though with just the Stade de France being available.
When it comes to unlicensed teams, PES will likely do what it always does and offer knock-off alternatives to players who aren’t licensed and strips and logos aren’t a huge deal. The action on the pitch is more important than the location of the pitch too, so there’s also an argument that that doesn’t matter a great deal either. But that’s not the point; this is being advertised as EURO 2016 not EURO 2016 Half-Baked Edition and this just doesn’t cut it.
The issue is a thorny one not just because the content isn’t up to scratch but because Konami wants to make money from it. As mentioned, those who already own PES 2016 will get it for free, while the standalone digital version and a retail version which also includes the base PES 2016 game will both be paid-for. We won’t fling around allegations of ‘false marketing’ here, but this will surely be a let-down for those ready to pony up the money for the mode only to find that it’s severely lacking.
Moreover, the controversy surrounding the content highlights the Pro Evolution Soccer series’ longstanding issue with licenses. While it has secured some wins in becoming the EURO 2016 partner at all and the Dinamo Zagreb license was recently secured, as long as the PES franchise cannot secure licenses, its EA-developed and published rival FIFA will always beat it.
To the PES team’s credit, they are aware that the licensing problem puts them on the back foot, with the series’ product manager Adam Bhatti previously saying that “there are things we can’t control like licences, but in terms of presentation, visuals, we want to be industry leading”. And Bhatti is certainly correct in suggesting that PES 2016 looks better – some of FIFA 16‘s character models are so bad they look like they’re made out of plasticine, so much that some fans have suggested that some players have hired their own animation teams.
For the most part, PES 2016‘s focus on looks over licenses has not been a problem and when the game was released, its gameplay was so strong that no one seemed to mind. There’s also no doubt that those EURO 2016 players that are licensed will look almost disturbingly realistic. However, here, the licensing trouble is glaring and if Konami wants to use EURO 2016 to get more football fans playing and to shift more copies of the game, it will certainly have to do better than 15 licensed teams and a single stadium.