Extra effort is going into PES 2022's gameplay, but if Konami doesn't back that up with new licences, they'll be facing an uphill battle.
Strides have been made in recent years with Juventus and Roma - but who will be the next side to join the PES army?
Latest - Club Editions
PES partner clubs get special treatment and will receive their own version of the game.
Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Manchester United are all expected to feature, and any new exclusive partnerships will also likely feature.
Check out what we know about PES 2022's various editions here.
Current PES licensed clubs
As things stand, Konami still has deals with plenty of footballing heavyweights.
The flagship club is Juventus, who do not appear in any other game thanks to their agreement with Konami.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich have also been strong flagbearers for PES over the years, with both club's stadiums - the Nou Camp and Allianz Arena, exclusive to PES 2021.
If they were to secure another exclusive club, one of these would be the most likely - but whether Konami can get around EA's deals with La Liga and the Bundesliga remains to be seen.
Despite losing deals for AC Milan and Inter Milan last year, Konami did manage to secure AS Roma on an exclusive deal, with Lazio now also a partner club for the PES brand.
Similar deals are in place for English giants Manchester United and Arsenal, but an exclusive deal here is pretty much impossible due to EA's relationship with the Premier League.
PES 2021 Partner Clubs
- Barcelona (stadium exclusive)
- Bayern Munich (stadium exclusive)
- Juventus (exclusive)
- Manchester United
- Roma (exclusive)
- Lazio (stadium exclusive)
- Celtic (stadium exclusive)
- Rangers (stadium exclusive)
- Zenit St Petersburg (exclusive)
- River Plate (exclusive)
- Boca Juniors (exclusive)
Other licensed clubs include Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, Olympiakos, Panathinaikos and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Potential new Club licences for PES 2022
This is where things get tricky, with EA Sports and FIFA having a lot of clubs and leagues tied up already.
If Konami is looking to bring brand new clubs to the franchise, it looks as if the best bet could be another German club - especially as there isn't even a German league on PES 2021.
Borussia Dortmund would be the tempting one, but they have a close relationship with EA, and have burned bridges with Konami after dropping out of PES 2019 at the last minute.
Therefore, could Konami do a smart deal with Red Bull, that would get them the licences to their various clubs - RB Leipzig, RB Salzburg and possibly event New York Red Bulls.
Trying to get one of their partner clubs on a more exclusive basis is another route they could go down, with Celtic, Rangers, Monaco and Lazio all possible options.
Leagues & Tournaments
The clubs are actually just the crowning glory when it comes to licences, as it's not worth a lot unless you have the league to go with it.
On an international level, Konami does brilliantly, currently holding the EURO 2020 licence - but it remains to be seen if the summer tournament will make it on to PES 2022.
Whether they could replace it with the Champions League and Europa League is a firm no, after EA signed a multi-year extension with UEFA earlier this year.
PES 2021 Licensed Leagues & Tournaments
- UEFA Euro 2020
- Italian Serie A (except for AC Milan and Inter Milan)
- Italian Serie B (except for Brescia) (exclusive)
- French Ligue 1
- French Ligue 2
- Portuguese Liga NOS
- Turkish Super Lig
- Russian Premier League (exclusive)
- Dutch Eredivisie
- Belgian Pro League
- Danish Superliga
- Scottish Premiership
- Swiss Super League
- Brazilian Brasileirao Assai (except for Palmeiras) (exclusive)
- Brazilian Brasilieirao Serie B (exclusive)
- Argentine Primera División
- Chilean Primera División (exclusive)
- Colombian Categoría Primera A (exclusive)
- Chinese Super League
- Thai League (exclusive)
- AFC Champions League (exclusive)
Potential new League licences for PES 2022
Perhaps what's even tougher is for PES to pick up a new league licence.
With the Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga and the MLS all tied up with EA - Konami has limited options.
France's Ligue 1 seems to play both sides, with the division licenced on both FIFA and PES - so perhaps a licencing war could be sparked.
The Scottish Championship seems to be of declining interest to EA, and although not a massive league, it would ruffle enough feathers if Konami could secure it exclusively.
Watch this space, however, and we will update this page as soon as any new clubs, licences or stadiums are announced.
Kubo to the rescue?
Some fantastic news for Konami is that Japanese wonderkid Takefusa Kubo has secured an agreement with the company.
This could see him become one of the cover stars for PES 2022, but it will also create speculation about whether Konami has secured a partnership with Real Madrid - Kubo's parent club.
Before you get too excited, Real Madrid has a partnership with EA until 2025.