SCC Napoli is the latest in a string of high-profile Serie A teams to join the Pro Evolution Soccer stable. Konami, the Pro Evolution developer, recently signed a deal to partner with the Italian club for the foreseeable future. This leaves its rival, FIFA, with fewer Serie A teams to pick from for their partnership roster.
This official partnership, labelled an “Official Football Video Game Partnership” starts at the beginning of the 2021/22 season and includes a plethora of marketing privileges and rights. In essence, it means that the Pro Evolution platform is the only football simulation game which can host a virtual Napoli team. Like Juventus, Napoli is not licensed in the rivals’ FIFA games, where Juventus was named Piemonte Calcio in the previous season.
Licensing in the sports gaming world has become a hot topic. And the rivalry between the two major gaming players shows no signs of abating. Konami, PES developer, signed a series of massive deals with top clubs to showcase teams and iconic stadiums in their games. But they also lost out to EA Sports, including in the loss of the Champions League to the FIFA games.
What’s Happening in Football Simulation?
Innovations are standard in online gaming, in the world of poker in GGPoker.co.uk as much as in digital football games. Konami is the most eagerly awaited of the pair to announce what it plans for the forthcoming season. They launched a season update rather than a new title in 2021, leaving room for a lot of innovation to come from the next iteration of the game. FIFA 21 was a more traditional revamp for the season and included an updated manager career system.
Differences Between Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA
FIFA has long been the platform for the top teams and the most up to date kits. This platform represents the players with their actual badges and the replica kit, rather than placeholders. This adds a layer of authenticity that is popular with fans. FIFA hosts two game modes that differ from most other forms of play, and are equally popular with supporters.
However, fans say Pro Evolution has a more natural ball flow and movement, and greater realism in gameplay. FIFA has developed its gameplay in recent years, but critics still think it lags behind somewhat.
The FIFA manager mode is popular as it mixes strategy and off-pitch chat with the on-screen game. It also doesn’t regenerate players but instead retires them and brings in new footballers, which is a more realistic way to play. FIFA has hit back with Volta Football, a game form based on street soccer that has proved wildly popular with gamers. There are different customization options and a fast-paced style to the action.
Future of Football Licensing in the Digital Era
While enthusiasts can instantly tell the difference, many casual gamers cannot. The most noticeable disparity has to be the licensing. FIFA “owns” Real Madrid. Pro Evo has Juventus and Barcelona. The placeholders do stand out rather awkwardly on both platforms. Ultimately, the gamers lose out because of this but it seems there is little change on the horizon and instead a greater battle for supremacy over who owns who.
Licensing continues to be a business-savvy way of making more money for all involved in creating the games. It ties into the real world of football as money from these kinds of licensing deals goes to the clubs. The future for football simulation games looks like an increasingly heated battle between close sporting rivals.