Pro Evolution Soccer team lead Jon Murphy is calling out EA for outright copying Konami’s PES franchise, saying that the FIFA developers unfairly and underhandedly use their financial and public influence to, well, cheat the competition.
Eurogamer had an extensive and pointedly frank interview with Murphy regarding the upcoming release of PES 2013, and why Murphy thinks that EA has pulled so far ahead of his team in raw sales. In particular, he says that EA have stolen ideas right out of his team’s playbook, and that their PR team works very hard to make PES look like the inferior brand:
Jon Murphy: If you look further back into the past of PES you can see [EA’s FIFA has] obviously gone from a game that was totally different from PES to one that started copying PES to one that started taking areas PES did well further into the product they have now.
There’s been a whole series of – and I’m sure they won’t disagree with this – taking PES apart and rebuilding theirs in direct comparison. And you see other things, such as the replication of players, which we’re now bouncing back at with our Player ID. And there are other recent examples as well where it seems as soon as we’re announcing one thing they’re announcing the same thing as well. I’m not sure how that happens by accident so often.
What are you saying there? Are you accusing EA of copying PES?
Jon Murphy: Yes.
One thing that EA has held over the PES franchise is FIFA‘s exclusive licensing rights to various real-world soccer clubs, something that drives a lot of fan interest in the UK and other regions. As Murphy notes, Konami and his team can’t really compete with the “large chests of money” that EA uses to gain exclusive contracts with those ball clubs, which hurts them in the long run.
As Murphy tells it, another part of the main problem is that people now assume that FIFA “is just better” based on brand name alone, and that PES stagnated long enough for FIFA to catch up.
Whether that’s true or not, the fact remains that both competing games are the only major players in the soccer genre. Not having a wider range of competitors doesn’t help either, since most of the major sports (baseball, football, soccer, basketball, hockey) only have two dueling developers at a time, such as EA and 2K Sports, with the NBA Live and NBA 2K series respectively.