Konami Not Renewing UEFA Champions League License
Konami is not renewing the UEFA Champions League license for its Pro Evolution Soccer series – a license it has had for the last 10 years, and which was one of the few distinguishing licenses that set it apart from rival series FIFA.
The Champions League – a prestigious yearly competition featuring the top European clubs – was playable in PES titles as a separate tournament as well as folded into the Master League career mode. The loss of the license also means that the accompanying Europa League is leaving the series.
Jonas Lygaard, senior director of brand and business development for Konami, didn't elaborate much on Konami's reasoning behind the decision other than saying, "This year, however, we will shift our focus into other areas."
The Champions League was an exclusive license for PES, which lags significantly behind FIFA in its number of official licenses. In recent years, however, Konami has signed non-exclusive license deals with individual clubs such as Barcelona and Liverpool to feature those teams' official kits and stadiums, as well as inked deals with legends of the sport like David Beckham for its MyClub fantasy mode.
Rival FIFA from EA Sports currently has the exclusive World Cup license, but it's unknown at the time of this writing if EA will sign the Champions League license now that Konami has dropped out.
We've contacted both Konami and EA Sports on the matter, and will update this story if we receive any significant information.
I fully expect we'll hear about EA's signing of the Champions League license at E3, and it'll will make a great addition to The Journey story mode. As for Konami, I imagine the price of renewal was simply too rich for its blood – especially given the company's shift away from console games, of which PES is one of the few. However, I don't think it will make a big impact for existing PES fans.