The NFL is turning back the clock on its video game partnerships.
The league and 2K announced a multiyear agreement in a Tuesday press release, revealing they will join forces to revive an old pairing that has not been in place since 2004. There were no details regarding specific titles and release dates for the multiple non-simulation football video games to come, but 2K said the projects will launch in 2021.
While EA Sports' Madden series has dominated the football video game landscape for years, the NFL 2K franchise was well acclaimed when it ran from 1999 through 2004. However, forthcoming 2K NFL titles will not be direct Madden competitors.
2K president David Ismailer gave a preview in the release of what's to come:
"The NFL is one of the most successful sports brands in the world, known for creating incredible entertainment for fans. 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."
Joe Ruggiero, who is the vice president of consumer products for the NFL, said, "Expanding the NFL's presence in the world of gaming has become a focus for the league as we look to grow the next generation of our fanbase, and reviving our partnership with 2K was a natural step in that effort."
Previous NFL 2K games offered consumers a lower-priced alternative to the Madden series until EA Sports obtained an exclusive license from the NFL and the NFL Players Association in 2004. Following 2K's announcement, EA Sports released a statement:
“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.”
With the announcement of this rekindled relationship, fans and gamers will have more variety when choosing their football game experiences. For the time being, there's plenty of fun to be had imagining what 2K could be cooking up for fans in the near future.