It looks like 2K Sports is getting back into the football game. The company just inked a deal with the NFL.
Unfortunately, today’s announcement will not revive the long-dormant NFL 2K franchise, at least as a simulation football game. The new partnership encompasses “multiple future video games,” but they can only be non-simulation.
That’s because the NFL still has an exclusive partnership with EA Sports for simulation-style football games. The announcement prompted EA to release a statement clarifying that Madden remains the only sim-style game on the market.
“EA Sports is the exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games, and our partnership with the NFL and NFLPA remains unchanged,” EA said in a statement. “Our agreements have always allowed for non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms.”
That’s not entirely true. As Polygon notes, EA’s new contract with 2K “is only possible because of a change in the terms of the NFL’s arrangement with EA. That deal previously encompassed any kind of league-licensed video game, which is why EA was able to make 2012’s arcade-style title NFL Blitz.”
But even without sim-style play, the announcement is pretty big news for 2K Sports. It marks the return of football to the company’s catalog of sports-themed video games.
“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,” said 2K president David Ismailer.
Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed. Specific game titles, development studios, and release dates will be announced at a later date. However, 2K has confirmed that the projects are in early development and will launch starting in 2021.