Today, Electronic Arts and 2K have announced a new multi-year partnership that includes--wait for it--future video games. Financial terms were not disclosed, but this new/old partnership marks the return of competition within the increasingly boring football-themed videogame market.
The games themselves, as one would hope, focuses on "non-simulation football game experiences." Nothing specific has been confirmed as of yet, but 2K has stated that early projects have begun development, with launches of actual products in 2021 in fiscal year 2022.
“The NFL is one of the most successful sports brands in the world, known for creating incredible entertainment for fans,” said David Ismailer, President of 2K. “We’re thrilled to be back in business with the NFL in a partnership that will span multiple video games centered on fun, approachable and social experiences. It’s exciting to bring together 2K’s expertise in creating award-winning sports games with the NFL’s renowned status as a world-class entertainment and sports organization.”
EA also has things to say about this new money-making venture:
“EA SPORTS is the exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games, and our partnership with the NFL and NFLPA remains unchanged. Our agreements have always allowed for non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms. Our commitment to NFL fans, which spans almost 30 years, has never been stronger, and we’re having our biggest year yet. Madden NFL 20 is the most successful game ever in the franchise, and new modes like Superstar KO and our Madden NFL esports broadcasts are growing the fan base. We’ll be building on that momentum with more new and different experiences, on more platforms and with new ways to play, in the years to come.”
2K previously was the chief competition against EA from 1999 to 2004, until they published the famous ESPN NFL 2K5 for $20, angering EA enough to get them to go all non-competitive, forcing them out of the market until now. It remains to be seen if 2K will publish a game that actually forces EA to do something other then update their rosters each year, as there is no deal with NFLPA mentioned in either announcement from 2K and EA. This means that while 2K can make NFL games, they can't use the likenesses of the players. So, they can use New England Patriots' QB #12, but they can't say it's Tom Brady, until a deal with the NFLPA is reached.
The lack of simulation games means likely that we won't see a sequel to the classic NFL 2k line, as that would seem to fit that. Something more in the arcade realm is possible, like NFL Blitz, or to look at a 2k published title - NBA Playground.
This agreement comes also at an interesting time for the NFL, when there is labor uncertainty due to the expiring collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after this year. Right now NFL Players are voting on a proposed agreement, but if it were to not pass, this would boost the NFL's pool of money, while the players have yet to receive any funds from this arrangement.
What do you think of this news? Are you excited for some competition in the NFL video game market? Let us know in the comments!