Diego Maradona is one of the most famous soccer stars in the world, winning a huge number of trophies including the World Cup. However, the retired Argentine player is apparently unhappy with the use of his likeness in PES 2017, at least according to an update to his official Facebook page. In the update, Maradona even suggested that he would be looking into legal action against Konami.
I heard yesterday that the Japanese company Konami uses my image for its game PES 2017,” said Maradona in the Facebook post. “Unfortunately, my lawyer Matias Morla will initiate the corresponding legal actions.” From the sounds of it, the former Napoli hero is already gearing up to take a legal fight to the publisher.
However, things might not go exactly as planned for Maradona, as his likeness rights may have already been signed away to Konami. In the summer of 2016, Konami revealed that it had a partnership in place with FC Barcelona, which included rights to both the Camp Nou stadium and the likeness of players. It may well be that Maradona’s likeness was included in this deal, with the player involved with the club from 1982 through to 1984 – although whether he gave consent for use of his likeness at the time is a matter that will no doubt soon be revealed.
It’s worth noting that Maradona is far from the only soccer icon to appear in the Barcelona roster on PES 2017. Alongside Maradona, there are also the likes of Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho, and Rivaldo. At least Maradona can find solace in the fact that he is the top-rated player of the bunch, even beating out current Barcelona idol Lionel Messi.
Lawsuits and legal action have had a significant effect on the world of video games over the years. Indeed, several important video game lawsuits have helped shape the media form itself, including Nintendo’s fight for the rights to make Donkey Kong and battles against the level of violence seen in Grand Theft Auto and its ramifications for violence in the real world. Should Maradona’s legal action go ahead, however, it’s more likely to end up as an interesting piece of trivia to remember, akin to Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega’s attempts to sue Call of Duty publisher Activision.
The Pro Evolution Soccer franchise is one of the most important ones to Konami, at least from a financial standpoint, and there have even been suggestions that the publisher could reduce its focus on other games to further push the PES brand in future years. No doubt Konami will be hoping that its agreement with Barcelona was as watertight as it first thought.