It was in early November of last year when Konami announced that they were delaying the version 1.0 release of eFootball 2022 into the spring. The game’s soft launch was marred with problems, so the delay was expected. Now, it’s the end of March and the beginning of spring but we’ve heard nothing new about the status of the game, including it, still being at version 0.9.1. We’re now at the point that this is officially the most bungled sports game release ever.

A gameplay shot from NBA Live 19, featuring the 76ers versus the Warriors

This is worse than NBA Elite/Live

When discussing messed-up sports video game franchises, two come to mind. The first is 2K Sports’ handling of their MLB 2K series. The series just sort of gave up as it could not contend with the superior The Show franchise on Sony’s PlayStation consoles. The other is EA’s efforts of giving us basketball games between 2010 and 2018.

EA delayed multiple basketball games over those nine years. I was working at EA between the launches of NBA Live 14 and just before NBA Live 18. Yes, the first few NBA Live games were bad. Even with the constant comparisons to NBA 2K, Live attempted to do build a game that would focus on player customization, something that was lacking with 2K’s games at the time.

It’s a tad disappointing that the series just abruptly ended. It felt like the series was finally on the right track. For whatever, EA decided to not release an NBA Live 20 and we won’t see another console NBA game from EA anytime soon. However, the NBA Live name still lives on with their mobile game, which used to be a lot of fun when I played it.

The 2021 and beyond roadmap for eFootball by Konami

Can Konami save eFootball?

EA’s efforts in trying to keep NBA Live alive are something Konami should use as guidance. I am not a dedicated Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer fan but I always enjoyed the series. eFootball’s focus on online matches is not for me. I was hoping that they’d have a fun and engaging enough single-player portion that would keep me interested.

Konami has to announce something now. It’s spring and this radio silence cannot continue. Even if it’s just a small update, it would make a world of difference. I am not expecting them to announce triumph and that the game is perfect. It would be better if they just said “hey, we know we’ve been quiet for these last few months but we’re making some nice progress, and here is what we have to show.”

On the flip side, if the game is in an even worse spot, just admit it. Say that you messed up and have decided to completely shelf the game until the fall. Be honest and accept the negativity you’re going to have for the long term. Lower the expectations so that when you’re ready to try again, you might surprise people.

Memphis Depay approaching the centre circle to begin the match

Change it back

If the move is to delay the game until the Summer/Fall of 2022, don’t call it eFootball. Revert to Pro Evolution Soccer and try to bury the mistake that was eFootball. Keep the same free-to-play model and the modes you were hoping to offer with eFootball, but use the name that people associate with a solid football game. I think people will quickly move past the mistakes.