There is always a tough competition between FIFA and PES. Both FIFA 17 and PES 2017 are released. In terms of sales, FIFA 17 is much better than PES 2017.

It’s all a long cry from the PlayStation 2 era when PES comfortably dominated in reviews and led FIFA sales-wise in numerous territories despite a lack of licences.

But over time, that gap has closed. Culminating in FIFA’s biggest ever first week of sales in the football-dominant UK market. But it’s a sales pattern that is likely to be mirrored the world over, painting a bleak future for the Pro Evo series, despite the series undoubted quality.

Both PES 2017 and FIFA 17 and felt far more comfortable playing PES 2017, scoring it a 4/5 compared to the 3/5 I gave to FIFA 17. While Pro Evo’s licence issues are noteworthy, when it comes to gameplay I found that FIFA had fallen far behind its rival. During the PS2 era, FIFA had to fight hard to regain the players’ trust when Pro Evo was clearly the dominant force and through years of trying they finally managed to provide the superior game a few years ago, at a time when Konami took their eye off the ball.

But it’s interesting to note that FIFA’s major innovations in the gameplay department stopped around the same time that Ultimate Team started to generate a significant amount of revenue for EA.

Ultimate Team is now a major reason why people buy FIFA, it’s hard to ignore its influence in large football communities and it has long since replaced the Panini stickers that young fans used to swap in playgrounds up and down the country. Those who grew up with that childhood now find that Ultimate Team is the replacement for that in adulthood and spending small amounts of money every few days on Ultimate Team is akin to buying a few packs of stickers to fill your book up or swap your stickers with friends.

This addictive (and almost gambling-esque) game mode has its hooks into players and its popularity on YouTube is unmatched by Konami, even though they’ve attempted to replicate this mode unsuccessfully through their own My Club variant in recent Pro Evos. When things like Ultimate Team become ingrained into players’ lives like it has – some YouTubers make a living off of just Ultimate Team videos – it’s hard to combat.

Konami can go on next year and create a realistic looking and great playing football game, but without Ultimate Team, player likenesses and licences, it’ll be all for nothing. While the contest in terms of developing the best football game is still very much alive, it’s debatable whether or not the two will ever trade blows in the sales department.

This round, FIFA 17 is the winner. A few more years of strangling and you have to wonder if Konami’s already wavering stance on producing video games will finally see PES bow out of the annual football race.