In short: Konami will be launching PES 2019 in the form of an update to its existing mobile game, the company confirmed this week, adding that the major PES 2018 upgrade that will rename the title, ensure its player rosters are up to date, and bring a wide variety of new features is scheduled to hit the Google Play Store this December. Besides extra licenses, the biggest selling point of the new game is an engine change that the developer-publisher claims will “revolutionize” the gameplay formula of the previous title. More capable artificial intelligence, support for new playing styles, improved ball physics, and better graphics are all part of the package, being powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.
Background: Earlier this year, Konami acquired licenses for ten new leagues from Europe, South America, and Asia, including Campeonato Brasileiro, Superliga Quilmes Clásica, and J.League. All of those will appear in the upcoming mobile game, as well as the PC and console version of one of the thereof. One exception is the J.League that’s set to launch as a mobile PES 2019 exclusive, Konami confirmed. The myClub mode redesign from PC and consoles is now also coming to Android and iOS, offering new cards for in-form players on a weekly basis, which is something FIFA already popularized with Ultimate Team. One thing that will remain the same year-over-year is the business model as Konami will still be offering the latest Pro Evolution Soccer installment as a free-to-play download with optional microtransactions.
Impact: The fact that PES 2019 has been entirely reworked compared to the previous title but is still launching as an update and not a standalone game suggests Konami is doubling down on its games-as-a-service business model. Keeping the package name and Google Play Store listing also allows the company to have a smoother launch as it won’t have to build its user base from scratch but by most definitions, PES 2019 will be an entirely new game aiming to bring Konami’s football formula to the next level.