For the first time in more than 15 years, 2K will be developing NFL games for major platforms, but there's just one catch: it's a "non-simulation" game. The first game is due out next year.
What does that mean? Well, it means it won't be replicating the sport as closely as it can the same way Madden does every year. That's because EA still maintains exclusive rights to create simulations based on the game. Instead, we're left to speculate on what 2K's NFL game might be. Something like Blitz? A free to play arcade game perhaps?
There are a lot of possibilities and only really one certainty: it won't challenge EA for the crown of best football sim, simply because it isn't permitted to try.
Nonetheless, 2K is excited for the endeavor. “The NFL is one of the most successful sports brands in the world, known for creating incredible entertainment for fans,” said David Ismailer, President of 2K. “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.”
EA quickly followed the news by making certain they still hold the rights to simulating the sport and Madden will continue.
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.
We'll have to wait and see what kind of game 2K makes with its new licensing deal, but for now, NFL fans have a new game to look forward to.