In another blow to the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise, top flight German outfit Borussia Dortmund has opted to terminate its contract with Konami. As a consequence, ‘Borussia Dortmund’s logos, players, stadium and other features’ will not feature in Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 as reported in a post on Konami’s web site.
The news comes in the wake of Konami losing the much coveted license to UEFA Champions League and the many associated high-profile clubs and stadiums. Though not officially confirmed by EA, it is widely accepted that the license has moved into the hands of the FIFA franchise and will feature in the 2019 edition.
Konami’s post explains ‘this agreement was prematurely terminated by Borussia Dortmund’, though no further details were offered. Eurogamer put forward an intriguing theory whereby FIFA 19 has acquired the Borussia license in an effort to minimize the effects of USA not qualifying for this year’s World Cup. The reasoning goes that less players in the USA will be drawn to football simulators as a consequence. Borussia Dortmund is however the home of USA star player Christian Pulisic. By acquiring the license, EA would open the door to marketing content featuring the player and guarantee a foothold into the North American market.
The tone of the post suggests Konami were caught off guard by the termination and wholly expected the club to feature in Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 to the extent that Borussia-themed screenshots and content have already been released. Konami were eager to reassure players with an oft repeated squib that ‘the PES series will continue to provide new ways to enjoy soccer through new partnerships with various clubs and leagues’.
The pickings seem rather slim given FIFA’s dominance in the licensing arena. For the moment, Konami have acquired licenses for a rather drab and uninspired set of leagues with the stand out picks being the Scottish Ladbrokes Premiership and Russian Premier League.
PES is widely regarded as the better game in terms of mechanics and game play, but the allure of properly named players, clubs, and stadiums is often enough to steer many players towards FIFA.
As for where Borussia Dortmund has decided to berth its licensing vessel, more will surely come to light at EA’s E3 showcase next week.