The never-ending debate of FIFA vs. PES

Video game rivalries are nothing new. Some examples can be Super Mario Bros vs. Sonic The Hedgehog, Call Of Duty vs. Battlefield, or even PlayStation vs. X-Box. These rivalries have been going on for decades now, and no clear resolution exists to any of these. Today we’re going to take a look at one such rivalry in the football games categoryFIFA vs. PES.

The 90s – FIFA vs. PES

EA launched FIFA International Soccer in 1993 and quickly received worldwide acclaim and fame. It was an instant hit and did much better than the already established football video games. Then in 1997, Konami launched International Superstar Soccer Pro, a follow-up to their Goal Storm that was released in 1996. This is where things got challenging, as ISS gained instant popularity as well, similar to how FIFA did in ’93.


The differences between the two games existed from the start. FIFA was a much faster video game and was easy to play. Whereas ISS was a much more realistic game. In FIFA, all you had to do was line the ball up to the goal to score. On the other hand, ISS had randomness to its football, and it was more of a challenge to score goals in this game.

The New Century

Pro Evolution Soccer 2
The gameplay of Pro Evolution Soccer 2

In 2001, ISS evolved into Pro International Soccer and was released on PlayStation 2, with FIFA Football 2002. PES got much better reviews than FIFA and ruled the football video games territory for half a decade. The key differences between the franchises started from here that exists even now. Where FIFA focused on licensing real teams, PES strived to emulate the feel of real football.

From PES 2 to PES 5, the franchise was untouchable. They were legends, and it didn’t seem like they were going anywhere. But that is what caused their downfall, as EA learned many lessons from Konami and understood what is needed to be done.

The power shift

PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3

PlayStation 3’s arrival is when FIFA was starting to get near PES’s level. Unfortunately, PES couldn’t successfully transition to PS3. Whereas, FIFA came out with a new engine that improved its gameplay and brought it near to PES’s level. It made FIFA a much realistic video game, and PES now had to look out for its rival.

When FIFA 09 came out, it actually outsold PES 2009. The reason behind this was EA’s new optional gaming mode – Ultimate Team. Fans went crazy at its arrival and rushed to buy the new installment. Konami had no real counter-strategy to this – at the most, what they did was securing the rights to a few football leagues and teams. PES fans didn’t care much for this, and 6.9 million sold copies of PES says that, compared to FIFA’s 8.7 million.

The present – FIFA vs. PES

FIFA20 vs eFootball PES2020 - FIFA vs. PES
FIFA20 vs eFootball PES2020

Ultimate Team, or FUT, changed everything for both the franchises. From here onwards, FIFA was the legend, and PES was nowhere on the map. Where PES’s sales declined faster than ever, FIFA reached new heights in sales, outselling every installment. PES 2015 sold only 1.7 million copies, whereas FIFA 15 sold 18 million – 10 times more than PES.

Even now, many fans say that PES’s gameplay is actually better, but by now, FIFA has become the cornerstone of football video games. Fans wish that PES returns to the map with a game good enough to compete, but PES’s latest installment, eFootball 22’s horrible reviews mean, it’s still going to take many years before this dream comes true.

Aryaman Kumar

I'm a nerd and I write nerdy stuff

Leave a Reply