2K Will Make NFL Games Again, Challenging Madden And EA Sports

EA's Madden series won't be the only show in town, as 2K announces a new deal with the NFL for football games.

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In a big shake-up for the world of sports video games, 2K Games has announced a partnership with the NFL to make football video games, giving EA Sports and the Madden series a new challenger. However, don't expect this to be the return of the NFL 2K franchise as you remember it.

The multi-year deal will see 2K Sports creating non-simulation football games, which is a key detail to note. EA Sports' Madden NFL series is a simulation-based franchise, and those games will continue to be made alongside the new ones from 2K.

2K is not sharing any details on the specific games, who is making them, or when they will release, apart from confirming that the first of these will launch in calendar year 2021. All of the titles are in "early development" right now, 2K said.

2K's president David Ismailer said the company is "thrilled to be back in business with the NFL."

He also teased some details about what to expect from 2K's NFL offerings. They will include multiple titles that are "centered on fun, approachable, and social experiences." It's unclear if these titles are coming to console/PC or mobile, or potentially both.

In response to the news, EA has issued the following 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."

The NFL 2K franchise ran from 1994 through 2004. Since the franchise was benched, fans have been calling for its return, and now it's finally happening.

The return of the NFL to 2K Sports is just the latest move from 2K to invest more in sports game content. In 2018, 2K announced that it would publish The Golf Club 2019 Featuring the PGA Tour, after developer HB Studios announced a licensing deal with the professional golf league. 2K also develops and publishes the NBA 2K series and the WWE 2K series.

The NFL's Joe Ruggiero, who heads up the league's consumer products division, said in a statement that the NFL is specifically looking to push further into the world of video games. "Reviving our partnership with 2K was a natural step in that effort," he said.

Financial terms of the 2K/NFL deal were not disclosed.

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