Winning Eleven 8: Live-ware Evolution (a rather odd name if you ask me), is due in Japan in March 2005, keeping up the tradition of an improved version of the same game being released before a brand new game is released later in the year.
The game is said to include all the online features that were in the recently released Xbox version of PES 4, including friends' lists, but the game will require a subscription in order for it to be played online. It will use Sony's Feega payment system, which on top of import games not working online on chipped consoles, is almost certain to prevent non Japanese players from entering the online arena.
In addition to the online play, the game will include the usual stat updates as well as numerous gameplay tweaks that have, in the past, made the updated version of the game the one to own. It would be nice if the slowdown experienced in the original release is also sorted out.
While it seems that European PlayStation 2 PES players will have to wait for their online fix, this Japanese only release will hopefully mean all the bugs will have been ironed out for Pro Evolution Soccer 5 when it is released late in 2005.