Master League Online gets major Ultimate Team-inspired overhaul - but will it avoid being pay-to-win?
PES 2015 is to introduce microtransactions with the game's new MyClub mode, a twist on Master League Online that will allow users to build their own team and purchase new players via in-game currency or real world cash.
MyClub is described by Konami as an "extensive Master League Online overhaul" that "allows players and managers to be added using accumulated GP or via micro-transactions within club dealings".
"If you don't have a lot of time then you can - with microtransactions - go and buy the great players that you want," James Cox, PES UK studio head told VideoGamer.com this afternoon. "But you also can earn the Game Points in [MyClub] and other parts of PES as well. We're trying to link things together. You can earn a few Game Points in training, exercises and other things, so you can progress through and build your team by just earning [GP] in the game.
"The idea is we're trying to give players a choice of what they want to do. Some people will have more time, some people will have more money. You'll have the choice."
The model appears to be similar to that of FIFA's Ultimate Team, which lets users buy new packs of players using in-game coins or purchasable FIFA Points. Unlike Ultimate Team, though, users will be able to purchase individual players rather than player packs.
"No prices have been announced or fixed, but yeah, you will be able to just buy the players," Cox says. "If that's what you'd like to do, you will be able to do it."
Access to certain players will be dependent on your agent, Konami says, although it's not clear how you will be able to change your agent, or whether they themselves will be purchasable.
"The fine details of it are still being worked out and there'll still be more details at Gamescom on this," Cox continues. "The general principle is that you will be able to buy the players that you want. We want to make sure that you get value for your money. The exact final mechanic is still being tuned... But the idea is, yeah, if you want to just buy Ronaldo, one way or the other you will be able to do that and you will be happy with what you spend your money on."
One concern, of course, is how microtransactions will affect the balance of online matches, and whether players will - essentially - be able to pay-to-win by purchasing a super team with real world cash.
"We will balance the online matchmaking," Cox says. "And of course, you've always got that problem of skill of the user and skill of the team, and it will vary on both. We're trying to do careful matchmaking there so that you're not completely outclassed [and] when you come online you have the chance of winning, either because you're actually really good at the game even though your team is not very good, or you're not so good at the game but you've bought a couple of players. We want to try and balance that matching up."
PES 2015 releases for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and "additional formats" this autumn/winter.