2K Games to begin publishing new NFL video games

The announcement of the new games marks the first football video games since 2004 to be published outside of EA's exclusive license with the NFL.

A football is seen with the NFL logo. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A football is seen with the NFL logo.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Video game publisher 2K Games announced that they will begin releasing several new football games in the next few years, starting in 2021, the company and the National Football League (NFL) announced in press releases.
The games will be made as part of a multi-year partnership with the NFL, and is seen by some as a resurrection of its past line of NFL 2K games, which the company had made from 1999 until their last entry, ESPN NFL 2K5, was released in 2004.
The series was the only competitor to Electronic Arts' (EA) Madden series of NFL titles. However, following the release of ESPN NFL 2K5, EA signed an exclusive license deal with the NFL for video games, forcing 2K to stop producing their titles.
This license is still in place until 2022.
However, it seems that this license is specifically for simulation games, meaning a realistic football video game, which is what the Madden series is known for. The press releases for 2K and the NFL, however, specified that these games were to be non-simulation games, leading some reports to speculate that the game will have a more arcade-style gameplay and aesthetic.
"The NFL is one of the most successful sports brands in the world, known for creating incredible entertainment for fans," said 2K president David Ismailer. "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.
"It's an exciting time for 2K and our fans," he continued. "We're growing our sports offerings and building on our core games with new IP [intellectual property], as well as continued support of award-winning franchises, all with the goal of giving our fans more amazing games and entertainment for years to come."
"Expanding the NFL's presence in the world of gaming has become a focus for the League as we look to grow the next generation of our fan base and reviving our partnership with 2K was a natural step in that effort," said Joe Ruggiero, the NFL's senior vice president of consumer products.
"2K is a worldwide leader in sports video games, with a proven track record of creating best-in-class and award-winning games and we look forward to sharing more about the projects we are working on with them in the future."
2K has published many critically and commercially acclaimed franchises in its history, including the Borderlands, Mafia and BioShock series, as well as the more sports-oriented NBA 2K and WWE 2K franchises.
In response to the news, EA released a statement regarding the status of their license with the NFL for their Madden series.
"EA Sports is the exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games, and our partnership with the NFL and NFLPA remains unchanged," the company stated. "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."