Monday, October 31, 2011

FIFA's dominance

FIFA is pulling CRAZY numbers yet again, which is no surprise. Madden gets more play and fanfare here in the States but FIFA's worldwide numbers makes Madden's gargantuan sales figures shrink in comparison - the true franchise darling in EA Sports' catalog is FIFA - and they know this…

But there is more than one way to look and evaluate dominance.

Madden is the de-facto football title after out-muscling and out-buying their competitors - mainly the 2K series, but also from Sony's NFL Gameday in the PlayStation (psOne) days. Madden was arguably the better football game anyway, the NFL giving EA Sports' Madden series official licensed exclusivity basically killed the competition. 2K valiantly tried an NFL legends/hall of fame type sim with famous ex-players but they were too far out the picture, having bowed out seasons ago…Madden was already established as the only option, it was too little too late.

It SEEMS the same scenario is playing out in another sport more appropriately named football - the REAL football.

Seems being the imperative word - unlike the situation with EA VS 2K the battle between EA and Konami is more fascinating.

Unlike 2K, Konami is not known as a "sports" studio

Unlike 2K, Konami NEVER had the benefit of official licenses from all teams and leagues.

Konami is responsible for Pro Evolution Soccer - a title that dominated during the PS2 era, unlike 2K - PES wasn't the "sleeper" or "alternate" it was THE footy game to play.


However, now we are in the PS3/360 era and the situation has changed - EA has been able to put more resources into their title and it's graphics and presentation show up a stagnant PES franchise, but the biggest leap is a component that has become essential this console generation - online.

Yet, PES is still out there…still without licensing, still backed by a traditional non-sports studio in Konami and even with FIFA pulling out record worldwide sales they still put out a title in a year where Konami HQ in Japan was ravaged by an earthquake. Sure, a worldwide sport is going to garner more support than an NFL game (which will only thrive in the States) but Konami is doing something 2K wished they could have done and they are closing the gap once again.

Kotaku recently compared the most recent version of these 2 footy titles and their critique of PES was harsh, to be fair there was a lot of criticisms levied on EA's FIFA as well (in an overall kind of "bleak" piece on the current state of footy games) but almost EVERY other respectable publication review had PES closing the gap, equal to, or getting very close to FIFA - with critics praising its gameplay and AI.

Owning both titles, I can confidently say that PES is king in gameplay - FIFA feels too "floaty" to me STILL, something they have never been able to fix but what a lot of users have become accustomed too - it's like you are playing hockey instead of futbol. In PES - Messi feels like Messi, Gerrard feels like Gerrard, Fabregas passes like Fabregas…can't say the same with FIFA. FIFA still bosses in animation/presentation, but their supposed dominance is looking more and more in question…ProEvo will eventually get online right…right?  

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