We are back into that time of the year when two of the biggest football titles in the world lock horns to establish supremacy in the industry.
While EA has been a sort of undisputed leader in terms of popularity, with its FIFA series, Japanese heavyweight Konami has turned up the heat on EA with its PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) series. The current year will see both of them try to capture the market with their respective titles, again.
EA may have all the licences to the game (barring one) compared to Konami, but it still needs to up its gameplay quotient each year so as not to lag in the race. Moreover, Konami boasts of the licence to the UEFA Champions League that FIFA fans have been crying out for so long.
With both the developers' new titles – EA's FIFA 16 and Konami's PES 2016 – arriving soon, here's a comparison that may indicate who is likely to have the upper hand in the long run.
Licencing and Management
This is one area where EA gets the better of the competition each year. Like every other FIFA title, the new FIFA 16 is also coming with as many real life teams and leagues that one can think of. Back in the day, FIFA 15 was blessed with 25 licenced championships and EA will look to build upon that.
Thus far, one of the biggest revelations for FIFA 16 has been the inclusion of international women's teams. This is surely something that's new and could see EA gain maximum advantage over Konami in this two-horse race.
That Konami severely needs some licencing deals for its PES franchise is evident from the list of funny and unreal names they place for the teams they cannot licence.
For instance, while the company did have Liverpool's licencing not long ago, it's now branded the team as Merseyside Red. For instance, we have no idea what 'Mohammad Lewis Stadium' is.
Konami does have the all-important licence for hosting the UEFA Champions League in its game. It's the proverbial silver lining in the cloud. However, we are hopeful that things will get better for PES going forward (or maybe not).
This is where the real race begins for both the franchises. Sure, Konami doesn't always manage to give you all the licenced teams and leagues in the business, but they know how to make that up with some scintillating gameplay mechanics. It has been doing just that since the days of PlayStation 2.
With PlayStation 2, Konami found the perfect chemistry for its PES series, and that excited all those who enjoy a good game of footie with their friends after the final whistle is gone. The passes had to be calculated, each game felt like a major battle for survival and it was quite an ordeal to get into the scoresheet.
But that was a long, long time ago.
Since then, EA has more than understood the gravity of the situation and the rival it's dealing with, and has considerably upped its gameplay mechanics. The developer brought in improved AI, more human-like players (Messi and Ronaldo don't count), realistic ball control and dynamism.
That being said, Konami witnessed a sort of renaissance with the previously released PES 2015. The game was quite the upgrade from its predecessors and introduced an even smarter AI presence that sometimes required more cohesion than FIFA 15 to get within touching distance of the goal.
With PES 2106, though, Konami will look to keep the thing going. But if it could further up the gameplay mechanics from the last one, a few folks over at EA will surely witness beads of sweat on their foreheads.
As far as player realism is concerned, few would disagree that Konami had the better of EA in that department in the last few years. With Konami's PES 2016, player realism reached an entirely new level and fans were often jumping with joy seeing the perfect reincarnation of their real life stars in the game.
EA, however, had some ground to make up on that one. Back in the day, the likes of FIFA 2007 and FIFA 2008 offered reincarnations of players that were, well, less than satisfactory. Most of them looked like machines and nowhere near to their real-life counterparts. Maybe that's where EA lost a few of its faithful to Konami.
But in the last few years, EA has made a point not to repeat the mistakes of the past. And hence we have all the Rooneys and Ronaldos that look so similar to the original ones. This has been achieved thanks to perfect detailing capabilities that EA takes up so seriously before each game hits the market.
EA holds the upper hand here, undoubtedly. FIFA has always gained from whatever EA has learnt in the multiplayer department, from the likes of Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed. And we don't see any reason why the same won't fall in place for FIFA 16 as well.
However, Konami still lacks multiplayer features for its PES franchise. But with PES 15 already laying the ground work for that, we expect good things in the multiplayer department for PES 2016.
Expect another massive battle when both PES 2016 and FIFA 16 hit the stores. However, we have a feeling that EA will hold all the major cards heading into this poker game, as always, thanks to its top licencing deals, real stadiums and leagues and a great online presence.
But let's not write off PES 2016 just yet.