As well as attending the keenly contested PES League finals for the first season and learning about all things PES League, we recently caught up with Jonas Lygaard, senior director of brand & business development at Konami. We discussed several topics related to the company, starting, of course, with Pro Evolution Soccer.
But first off, given the venue, we wanted to take a look back at seven months of partnership between Konami and top tier clubs (such as FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC or Borussia Dortmund), and ask how could this setup might grow in the coming years.
"Konami had never worked with partner clubs to the degree we have right now," Lygaard told us. "We've licensed clubs in our games [before], we've had smaller engagement with clubs, but we've never taken the step that we took this year in terms of partnership, and it has been a extremely positive reaction for us internally, but also for the fans, and also the feeling working with the clubs; we can really see how it benefits us."
"Now we're sitting here at Camp Nou, one of the biggest - if not the biggest - clubs in the world, working with them, working with their staff, trying new stuff, doing innovative new ideas, being involved now in an event like this [Esports PES League], doing things in terms of co-promotion together at El Clásico and we raised money for the FC Barcelona Foundation."
Lygaard continued: "So we're exploring a lot of those things and now just, like you said, seven months into this, [it's a] happy marriage where, when you get married with someone your are in love but then as the relationship goes sometimes you either lose your passion for your partner or you continue having your love and you grow your love, and we're still a love story, we're still building on this from both parts and I think that's a great thing where we feel we're growing and we learn from each other".
So, given the good feedback and the positive relationship with their partners, it looks like more clubs will join this partnership come Pro Evolution Soccer 2018:
"If your question is, 'how do you see this evolve in the future?' Yeah, maybe more love stories - you can't love too many because then you wouldn't be focused - but we're definitely exploring how we can build an even stronger base in the future."