Acknowledging that they've rested on their laurels as EA Sports' FIFA siphoned off their fans, Konami's gunning "to win back the hardcore", with Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, a senior executive vows.
Jon Murphy, the PR and marketing boss for Konami in the United Kingdom, told CVG the series - which was top dog not too long ago - has seen a migration of its best consumers and needs to stop that, immediately.
"What we want to stop is hardcore level of our fanbase moving, if I'm totally honest - which worryingly has started to happen," Murphy said. "For years, we sat on our laurels and assumed it never would happen."
Well, it has, as FIFA's turnaround to has become a case study for resurrecting a franchise. Murphy counters that Pro Evo maintains strong rivalries on a territory-by-territory basis, in the UK, France, Spain and Italy, all elite footballing nations. "It depends from territory to territory, so you can't just look at the sales," Murphy said.
And, to further explain PES' necessity to the core, he invoked what would happen if a single publisher faced no competition.
"I hope we do get back to [No.1]because if PES ever did disappear and you saw one game on the market I think you'd go back to seeing a very, very lazy game of football that everyone would be sick of."
But his comments to CVG acknowledge that EA is setting the agenda in this series.
"What we now have is a benchmark from EA that we've got to beat, which is fine. It gives us a challenge," Murphy said. "But that's not our ultimate aim. Our goal is not only to ensure we don't lose any more fans, but that we win back the hardcore fans. The rest of it - we'll see what happens."