Video game publisher Konami has announced that it is collaborating with NHN, a development studio that is based in Seoul, Korea, to create an online version of its Winning Eleven franchise, which is known as Pro Evolution Soccer on Western markets.
The new version of the game is set to be launched on the PC in South Korea during next year and the publisher has plans to then get additional licenses and expand it to other countries.
It's not clear at the moment how the new online game will differ from the normal PES releases that take place yearly and which business models the two companies are considering.
Considering that the initial market for the online version of Pro Evolution Soccer is South Korea, it’s likely that the game will be free-to-play and that microtransactions will be offered for those who want access to a wider feature set.
The two companies are also aiming to game part of the eSport circuit, which is very popular in South Korea.
The model seems to be similar to the one used by publisher Electronic Arts, which has entered into a partnership with Neowiz in order to create the two FIFA Online releases, which at the moment are said to be bringing in 50 million dollars in revenue.
Shinzi Enomoto, who is a vice president at Konami
, has stated, “Korean game makers have the world`s strongest capacity in game development, but NHN is a company that has both game and portal services.”
He added, “We found it optimal in providing an online service of the game and decided to sign the contract.”
In the last few years the regular Pro Evolution Soccer has been performing worse than the rival FIFA series and the two games are set to go head to head again this fall, with EA Sports touting its new Player Impact Engine while Konami talks about improved team mate intelligence.