EA Sports’ Madden has seemingly had a monopoly on NFL football video games since 2004, but there’s a familiar face back in the game, and the nostalgia is about to flow.
The NFL and 2K announced a multiyear partnership in a Tuesday, revealing that they will join forces once again to produce multiple games starting in 2021.
EA’s video game NFL exclusivity for Madden is over! Well, sort of…
— IGN (@IGN) March 10, 2020
“The NFL is one of the most successful sports brands in the world, known for creating incredible entertainment for fans,” David Ismailer, president of 2K, said in the release. “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.”
Joe Ruggiero, who is the vice president of consumer products for the NFL, said, “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 fanbase, and reviving our partnership with 2K was a natural step in that effort.”
Previous NFL 2K games offered consumers a lower-priced alternative to the Madden series until EA Sports obtained an exclusive license from the NFL and the NFL Players Association in 2004. Following 2K’s announcement, EA Sports released a 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.”