Konami announced its PES 2016 soccer video game today in advance of the Electronic Entertainment Expo next week. An interesting question for the competition with Electronic Arts’ FIFA 16 rival soccer game: Will Konami’s game thrive because it doesn’t have women players?
When EA announced recently that it would have players from 12 women’s national teams from around the world, it won a lot of praise. But it also brought out the worst in the Neanderthal men of the Internet, some who said they would boycott the FIFA title and play something else instead. Add to that the FIFA bribery scandal, and you have an interesting change in the rivalry, where EA’s game traditionally dominates.
The reaction against the women was so negative among the haters that Peter Moore, the chief operating officer of EA, scolded them, saying it was “sad to see the misogynistic vitriol” following the announcement that EA’s FIFA 16 game would include women players for the first time since 1993.
“We are better than this,” Moore said.
So yes, Konami has a chance to market its game as the favorite among the Internet’s male chauvinist haters.
Konami, of course, is not trying to run with this angle as a marketing advantage. Rather, the Japanese publisher issued a release saying it was celebrating the return of PES 2016 for its 20th season. Soccer games are big sellers in any year, and sports game fans keep buying them annually because players want to have the latest accurate rosters of players, said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. Konami’s actual marketing message is “Love the past, play the future.”
The first PES game debuted on the original PlayStation.
FIFA titles usually outsell PES games, and EA probably doesn’t have much to worry about. One of the things that will stoke demand for the FIFA title this year is the women’s FIFA World Cup in Canada. Theoretically, video game players will watch it on TV and perhaps start to recognize the best female players. Then they’ll be able to play them in the game.
On top of that, EA has a chance to get female players and others who are curious about playing with the female athletes for the first time. EA has made the game easier to learn, and it has a chance to market this combination to people who would ordinarily never consider playing the game, like my own daughters.
We’ll see how this competitive mix shakes out. Of course, for hardcore fans, the real decision will be about which game plays better.