A few weeks ago, Konami secretly dropped a beta version of what it called a New Football Game. The on-screen prompts when it loaded specifically said:
“The chief goal of the New Football Game Online Performance Test was to assess the stability and connection quality of our servers, as well as the performance of our matchmaking.”
While the game is obviously a work-in-progress, many PES fans obviously took this version as a preview of what’s to come, and to be fair, you can understand that line of thinking to an extent. Considering that this is the first time we’ve gotten our hands on a new PES since PES 2020 (PES 2021 was a “Season Update”), putting this version in the hands of the community this early was always going to create a lot of speculation as folks tend to jump to conclusions. Keeping in mind the video game community is famous for breaking down even the shortest of trailers — myself included — it was still interesting seeing respected PES content creators nitpick over a game that looked a lot like PES 2021 Mobile.
This isn’t the first time that Konami has put the game in the community’s hands early on. Both PES 2012 and 2018 received two demos/betas, with the latter using it in a similar way to this year’s version as an online stability test — albeit with a then-new 3 vs. 3 co-op mode. What’s different this time around? Well, for starters, the name is completely different. Perhaps by not using the PES moniker, Konami was trying to really hit home the idea that this is not indicative of the final product and distance itself from the inevitable negative feedback. That approach makes sense to some, particularly folks new to the franchise, but those of us who are experienced PES addicts could feel the similarities to recent PES games.
Konami’s New Football Game
The Case For “This Was A Bad Idea”
We’ve been waiting two years to get our hands on a new PES and this is the first nibble we get? In that sense, it was not a good look on Konami’s part at all, and it was easy to see this coming on some level. Konami’s PR/marketing arms have been historically shaky at various points. Longtime PES representative Adam Bhatti has faced his fair share of criticism, but he often acted as the only conduit between Konami and the community. That’s a heavy burden for one person to carry, and the community often interpreted his tweets as if he were the sole vision behind the game.
The past few years have given way to Facebook and a plethora of surveys that act as another means of communication, but those often start out strong and fade as they get further away from the release date. What am I getting at exactly? Well, communication (or the lack of it) on Konami’s part plays a role in fueling the never-ending PES rumor mill. In hindsight, this online test — which was just that according to Konami — looks, sounds, and controls a lot like PES on mobile. The whole “whetting of your appetite” piece that Konami put out probably did more to hurt than help given the arcade-like nature that sums up this online test.
With the July 21 reveal coming tomorrow, and FIFA 22 coming strong out of the blocks, there’s a lot to be curious about.
The Case For “This Was A Good Idea”
If you take Konami at its word, and we probably should here, the sole purpose of this online test was to test the online matchmaking abilities. Yes, I know, shocker! With that comes the good and the bad, which any network engineer would expect. The folks who didn’t experience smooth online performance provided Konami with exactly the kind of feedback it was looking for if the company wants PES 2022 to be a strong online offering.
It stinks to be a guinea pig, but sometimes it’s necessary, especially if the end-goal is worth it. If you’ve played PES these last couple years, you can appreciate the efforts made here by Konami to better its online experience. Not only has navigating to the online servers been laborious in old PES games, it has also inconsistent. My hard-wired PS4 will still lead to me experiencing lag with local friends in the area, yet the experience will be smooth when I am matching up with someone from another country. Inconsistency breeds frustration, and PES has been plenty inconsistent.
At the end of the day, we won’t know how true to PES 2022 this online performance test was until we get our hands on the official demo later this summer. I, like a lot of you, had mixed feelings about this online performance test. While it was fun to play something new, it left me with a sour taste in my mouth, and I hope it’s not indicative of the final product given how popular Konami’s mobile games are. Only time will tell, but here’s to hoping that the July 21 reveal will bring back some positivity to the community.
Did the Online Performance Test leave you with positive or negative vibes?