NHL Says No to Exclusive License

The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced that Electronic Arts and 2K Sports have agreed to non-exclusive, multi-year licensing extensions. EA and 2K Sports will continue to offer a full complement of NHL video games with rights for all current and next-generation consoles, including the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360 and Xbox, PC, and Nintendo Wii.

EA has been an entertainment-marketing partner with the NHL and NHLPA since 1991. At the start of the 2005-06 NHL season, EA, headed by development teams at EA Montreal and EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C., created 30 team-specific video game animation vignettes to showcase and introduce the new NHL rules changes to hockey fans. This fall, EA will present NHL 07 for current and next-generation consoles, including Xbox 360.

In November 2005, 2K Sports’ NHL 2K6 game was the first and only NHL video game available for the Xbox 360 console at the launch of the new video game system. This holiday season, 2K Sports will publish NHL 2K7 for PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 next-generation game consoles, as well as current-generation systems. The NHL 2K series is developed by 2K Sports’ Kush Games and Visual Concepts development studios.

“We’re excited to extend our relationship with EA and 2K Sports since they have long been on the cutting edge of the sports gaming category, and are now leading the way in the development of next generation, three-dimensional gaming,� said Ken Kim, NHLPA Senior Director, Business. “NHL players are fans of these titles as well, and they, like the gamers, can’t wait to see the year-to-year advances that are made to replicate the intensity of a real NHL game. We look forward to continued growth in the video game marketplace through these agreements.�

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