Konami’s switch to focusing on mobile games and pachinko machines is well-publicized at this point, and the publisher seems willing to abandon its largest franchises, such as Silent Hill and Castlevania, to make this happen. However, its Pro Evolution Soccer series shows no sign of stopping, with some reports even stating that it will be the lone console game that continually produced by Konami. While the soccer series isn’t being turned into a pachinko machine, it appears that Konami is taking the first step in making it free to play.
On December 8, the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 versions of PES 2016 will feature a free-to-play option, which includes seven teams as well as an exhibition mode. This sounds an awful lot like a demo, but the free-to-play version of the game will also feature “myClub,” the microtransaction-fueled mode that bears resemblance to the “Ultimate Team” option found in several of the EA Sports games. Naturally, the free version offers “unlimited access” to this mode.
If you want to simply play soccer with your friends using the latest players, however, then the free-to-play version of PES 2016 may actually be for you. The game “will also be compatible with all future gameplay and content updates throughout the entire PES 2016 season,” according to Konami, and since the game just launched in September, that should give you plenty of time to play.
The decision to offer a free version Pro Evolution Soccer raises the question of whether or not Konami is looking to transition the series to a free-to-play only model in the future. Metal Gear Solid V, while still a full-priced AAA game, offered microtransactions and even an “insurance” system for its online mode. Meanwhile, the presumably single-player only Silent Hills was outright cancelled following turbulence between Konami and director Hideo Kojima. The Contra reboot teased several years ago appears to still be in limbo, while a mobile version was announced earlier this month.