Since the turn of the millennium, there have been two major football games on the market. EA Sports’ FIFA, with officially licensed teams and players and the backing of most major football organisations, and Pro Evolution Soccer by Konami, with often ambiguous team names like the infamous Man Red instead of Manchester United, or last year’s English champions, East Midlands. Gameplay aside, the lack of licensing has always been PES’ downfall, especially in the U.K as they haven’t struggled as much over the years for official names overseas.
This year, Konami have attempted to amend this. Official partnerships with Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona along with official licenses for Arsenal means outside of the Premier League and Bundesliga, Juventus and Real Madrid are the only unlicensed teams in the top five leagues. Unfortunately, EA have an exclusive deal with Juve, Real and Man Utd so until that expires, there’s not a lot Konami can do. Most player names haven’t been affected at all, so the days of Dwayne Booney and Ryan Greggs are long gone.
All is not lost for the unlicensed teams either – even though they’re not in the base game, it’s a fairly simple process to download user created mods that replace the unofficial content with the correct crests, stadiums and names. And that applies to console players too, simply requiring the use of a USB stick to transfer. The problem with this is that it’s still a clunky workaround compared to FIFA having everything ready to go, and the stereotypical audience for football games will likely not be bothered enough to go to all the effort.