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It’s official: EA and NFL extend Madden exclusivity

Electronic Arts has entered into an agreement with the NFL and the NFL Players Association for a new multi-year exclusivity deal. This deal means that EA “will exclusively create authentic football simulation games,” as it has done since 2005.

As many sports game enthusiasts recall, that was the year that EA muscled out its NFL 2K competitor. Under the new partnership, EA Sports and its Madden NFL franchise will remain the dominant player in the industry. But this latest deal seems to at least leave open the possibility that another company may develop an arcade-style football game using NFL players.

In fact, the wheels for that have already been greased. 2K Sports and the NFL signed a deal earlier this year that will result in non-sim football games from EA’s main rival in the sports biz. However, those games will not launch until at least 2021.

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In addition, EA announced that the NFL and the NFLPA will partner to “develop games in new genres, expanded esports programs, and additional experiences for fans across more platforms.” What exactly this means in practice, we’ll have to wait and see.

“EA has been a trusted partner for more than thirty years and they continue to bring innovation, authenticity and creativity to everything they do and we are certainly a great example of that as evidenced by the huge success of Madden NFL 20,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“The expansion of this partnership is not only about the continued success of the Madden NFL franchise but also the creation of new avenues for our fans to connect with the sport they love,” Goodell added.

The latest game in the franchise – Madden NFL 21 – was revealed during Inside Xbox in early May. The game is coming to Xbox One and PS4 as well as the next-gen consoles, Xbox Series X and PS5. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson will be the cover athlete for Madden NFL 21.