PES 2016 Free-To-Play Version Confirmed for PS4 and PS3

[UPDATE] The free version launches for PS4 and PS3 on December 8.


[UPDATE] Konami today officially announced a free-to-play version of PES 2016. It's launching on December 8 for PlayStation 4 and PS3; a release for Xbox consoles was not announced.

It's described as an "entry-level version" of the game, featuring Exhibition Mode with seven teams, including Bayern Munich, Juventus, AS Roma, Brazil, and France (the other two were not named). The game also comes with a Training mode and mcClub support. In addition, it supports online and offline play.

Konami also says the free-to-play version of PES 2016 will get "all future gameplay and content updates throughout the entire PES 2016 season."

The original story is below.

A listing on an Australian classification board has suggested Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 will be released as a free-to-play title. The game, which was classified on November 19, is listed as Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 Free To Play, but provides no further details.

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Konami released Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC on September 15 as a full-priced boxed and digitally delivered title. It has not yet officially announced a free-to-play version of the game, or provided any indications of plans to introduce an free-to-play layer to the existing game.

As of yet is it also unclear whether this version of the game, should it materialise, is for western territories or targeted towards the Asian market, which is generally more receptive to the free-to-play business model in games.

On October 30, Konami reported its financial performance for the six-month period ending on September 30, 2015, and showed improvements in sales and profit. It cited mobile games such as World Soccer Collection, which allows for in-game item purchases, as key contributors to its performance upturn.

It's last major console release, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, was one of Konami's first forrays into using a microtransaction business model outside of mobile. The open-world stealth game gives players the opportunity to create Forward Operating Bases, which they can use to upgrade and outfit with equipment using Mother Base coins. Small amounts of these can be earned in-game, but they are available to purchase in larger quantities using real-world money.

In GameSpot's Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 review the game earned a 9/10. Reviewer Rob Crossley said it "represents the best game in the series since the PlayStation 2 era."

"Trivialities wash away at kick-off, when the feel engulfs you. Matches are brought to life thanks to the AI, which sets a new benchmark for the genre. It's almost as if you and the computer have known each other for years; AI teammates move off the ball realistically, and signal where they want the pass, and run into the exact pocket of space that you hoped they would.

"In each game you encounter dozens of these smart individual AI decisions, but just as impressive is how players work together as a unit. A deeper understanding of the sport runs throughout each team, which works hard to retain formation whilst adapting to opportunities and dangers. Fullbacks overlap, midfielders drop back, defenders close gaps, keepers dash out of the box, but in all cases, only when it makes sense. It inspires more calculated build-up play, where it's the better team that emerges victorious, as opposed to the one that had the most superstar moments."

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