Pro Evolution Soccer has officially been renamed 'eFootball' by producers Konami – and it will be free to play.
The long-running computer game, which has been developed and released annually since 1995, is set to become a digital-only, free-to-play game on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One consoles and PC when it is released this autumn.
The new instalment will also be available to play on iOS and Android devices at a later stage, but Konami have refused to comment on any potential Nintendo Switch version.
All versions of eFootball will feature cross-play, although mobile users will need to use controllers if they want to play against console and PC opponents.
One of the driving forces behind the shock change is series producer Seitaro Kimura, who explained the decision in an interview with IGN.
"We started planning this move roughly two years ago to coincide with the console generation transition and changes in the market environment," he said.
Do you think Konami should have renamed Pro Evolution Soccer? Let us know in the comments section below.
"I believe that we have already proven that this structure can be successful on mobile. By applying the same model across all platforms, we hope that more football fans will be able to play this game on consoles as well."
eFootball will launch with exhibition matches and a selection of nine clubs for users to play with, before subsequently selling other modes as optional content.
Konami plan to announce more about the gameplay of their new instalment in late August, but for now they have released an initial roadmap of content and feature updates: such as online leagues, team building mode, esports tournaments and mobile controller support.
Fans are sad to see the PES franchise draw to a close after 26 years, taking to Twitter to express their concerns with the new format.
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One wrote: "Its honestly sad to see this because PES gameplay wise has always been superior [to FIFA]. I hope this doesn't ruin the series."
Another put: "Free to play just means in game premium micro transactions. The worst type of games ever in my opinion."
While a third said: "And just like that FIFA became the only football game on the market. Shambles."
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