Coke vs. Pepsi. KFC vs. Popeyes. Britney vs Christina. Ford vs. Chevy. NYSNC vs. Backstreet Boys. 98 Degrees vs O-Town. McDonald's vs. Burger King. Cappucino vs. Latte. Taco Bell vs. Gastrointestinal health. No matter what you're looking for, the world has no shortage of consumer rivalries, and video games are no exception. For the better part of a decade now, EA Sports FIFA series has gone toe to toe with Konami's PES series for the hearts and minds (and dollars) of football gamers. And, yes, FIFA crushes PES in terms of actual sales, but the Konami game has more than its fair share of devotees who are more than willing to tell you why it's the more superior and authentic virtual footballing experience.
As a long-term FIFA fan, I was able to fulfill my Roma dreams year after year while watching the pixilated Francesco Totti look increasingly more lifelike. And sure, they didn't have authentic Serie A stadiums but with licenses for virtually every club on the planet, FIFA was the undisputed king for those of us who favored authenticity over the actual quality of game play.
But with Konami's licensing slowly expanding over the past several years, PES was quickly encroaching on FIFA's territory. So, when Roma announced they were parting ways with EA Sports earlier this month, it put FIFA fans like me in quite a pickle: how would I get my virtual Roma fix?
Well, fear no more...
Our new home!— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) August 27, 2020
We are delighted to announce our exclusive partnership with Konami for #eFootballPES2021!
#WhenInRome @officialpes pic.twitter.com/n7fazv9mPQ
Earlier today, the club announced a new, exclusive partnership with Konami, one that will make PES the official and exclusive home of AS Roma. Or, as the official announcement put it:
The AS Roma team name, crest and official kits will be fully exclusive to the eFootball PES series, making eFootball PES 2021 Season Update (PES 2021) the only console football video game to feature the Italian heavyweights when it launches on September 15th.
The long-time home of AS Roma, Stadio Olimpico, will also be included in PES 2021, having been passionately recreated in-game by Konami’s talented artists and designers
Konami and AS Roma intend to take full advantage of their new partnership, promoting Roman football to a global audience through a variety of initiatives, including future involvement in esports projects.
No financial details of the deal were disclosed, but one would imagine the folks at Konami offered the club an enticing package to leave the larger and more extensive tentacles of EA Sports. PES 2021 will be released on September 15th.
So, my fellow FIFA fans, what will you do? Will you follow Roma to PES or try your hand at leading a different club in manager mode? Assuming they have enough memory to capture the swath of empty blue seats, will you be able to resist the “passionately recreated in-game” experience of the Stadio Olimpico?