Sports gamers browsing EBGames.com today for ESPN's latest football title were probably a little confused. The formerly $49.99 ESPN NFL 2005 was nowhere to be found. In its place was a new game, ESPN NFL 2K5, with a new price--just $19.95. The game was being sold at the same budget price on GameStop.com, albeit under its old title.
Visual Concepts' other 2005 games--ESPN NBA 2005, ESPN NHL 2005, and ESPN College Hoops 2005--retained its previously announced "2005" titles and $49.99 prices on both sites. However, GameSpot confirmed with representatives of Sega-owned Visual Concepts, developer of the games, that all the franchises were reverting back to the old-school "2K" title scheme. From 2000 until 2003, Visual Concepts' NFL and NBA games had used the "2K" title designation (NBA 2K, NBA 2K1, NBA 2K2, NBA 2K3). When the games were brought under the ESPN brand in mid-2003, years were dropped from the 2004 titles altogether.
Visual Concepts spokespeople were less forthcoming about the apparent price cut of ESPN NFL 2K5. "We have not announced anything regarding the price, but we will have big announcements regarding the game soon," said one rep. VC reps did not confirm whether the price drop was related to the recent deal between Sega and Take-Two Interactive to distribute ESPN Videogames titles.