Pro Evo Soccer exclusivity proves enigmatic

Furious footie fans were quick to cry foul when Microsoft announced at the Leipzig Games Convention that Pro Evolution Soccer 6 was to be a 12-month, next-gen exclusive for the Xbox 360. The initial wave of anger has since been replaced with confusion, as several remarks from Konami seem to indicate that Microsoft was already celebrating a goal which they hadn't quite scored yet. Has Microsoft been caught in a lie or is this merely a case of misinterpretation and marketing hyperbole? The story thus far:

  • After the initial announcement, Konami shoots down claims that Pro Evolution Soccer 6 is exclusive to the Xbox 360, pointing out that the game is a planned "multi-platform release" in order to satisfy "as many people as possible." Konami was right to take issue, as Microsoft never claimed to have total exclusivity. The deal only encompasses next-generation platforms. That means the PS2 version, sure to be the most widely played one, remains unaffected.

  • Next, 1UP has a chat with series producer Shingo Takatsuka and triumphantly reveals that "Winning Eleven is not exclusive to Xbox 360." Well done, especially considering that Microsoft was speaking about Pro Evolution Soccer and not Winning Eleven. Same game, different regions. Microsoft is certainly to blame for not clarifying further, but nabbing Pro Evolution Soccer affects European territories, the only place where the series goes by that name.

  • Takatsuka goes on to say that Konami "never said exclusive for one year on the next-gen platforms. We said this year. We were agreed that it was this year." The agreement largely occurs by default, as the man admits that the PS3 entry in the series has no chance of being completed before 2007. Next Spring is the earliest date it could see release and even then, it would be the Japanese Winning Eleven first, followed by the European edition. Can Konami put together the European release before 12 months have elapsed? Absolutely, especially if they want to prove Microsoft wrong.

It would seem that Microsoft could be accused of being overly vague but not of being untruthful. Both Microsoft and Konami are correct and the confusion thus far is only due to different naming conventions and choice marketing words. Still, it'll be interesting to see which really lasts the longest -- Microsoft's 12 months or Konami's development time on a PS3 Pro Evolution Soccer 6. The race is on.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in.]

Read -- Microsoft's original announcement.
Read -- Konami denies 360 exclusivity.
Read -- Series producer chimes in on the situation.