Konami‘s Pro Evolution Soccer, also known as PES amongst football/soccer fans and Winning Eleven in Asia, and EA’s FIFA have been rivals for a long time. FIFA has always had a huge advantage over PES by obtaining exclusive licensing rights to many of the world’s most prestigious football leagues like the English Premier League. For the past ten years, PES boasted of having the licensing rights to the UEFA Champions League. However, that’s going to change very soon.
In a news post on its official site, UEFA has announced that it will be ending its decade-long partnership with Konami. The 2018 UEFA Champions League final in Ukraine will officially mark the end of the tournament’s license being featured in the Pro Evolution Soccer games.
UEFA Events SA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said: “It has been a very cooperative and mutually beneficial partnership. UEFA would like to thank Konami for its tremendous commitment and support to UEFA club competitions for the last decade and we look forward to continuing to work with Konami in the sphere of UEFA national team football.”
This will surely be another crippling blow to Konami, especially after losing Hideo Kojima and having experienced an underwhelming release with Metal Gear Survive recently. PES has now lost its only major license, which means it will have one less advantage over rivals FIFA. If EA successfully strikes a deal with UEFA to gain the licensing rights to the Champions League, it will give FIFA even more of a lead over PES in the future.
Konami Digital Entertainment senior director of brand and business development Jonas Lygaard said: “The UEFA Champions League license has given us a platform to create unique experiences and provide football fans from all over the world with an opportunity to enjoy this competition first-hand. This year, however, we will shift our focus into other areas. We will continue to explore alternative ways UEFA and Konami can continue to work together, as our relationship remains strong.”