For over a decade, EA Sports has held exclusive rights with the NFL to produce an officially licensed video game, as their Madden title remains one of the most popular games on the market — not just in the sports category.
There were previous challengers to the Madden empire like NFL Quarterback Club and ESPN NFL 2K5, a beloved alternative that was swiftly killed by EA inking an exclusive rights deal with the league. That led 2K to pushing most of its efforts in the sports world behind its NBA series, but they’re getting back in the game (pun intended) with an NFL title that will come out in 2021.
🚨🚨🚨 HUGE NEWS: 2K is getting back into the NFL 🏈 business. Thank you to those old football video game fans that never stopped believing this moment would come. More news down the road but so excited…
— Ronnie 2K 2K20 (@Ronnie2K) March 10, 2020
2K offered details on their deal in a press release and the biggest news item is that they will not be making a competitor to Madden, but instead will be making “non-simulation” games. What they have planned exactly for such a title remains to be seen, but it will not be a straightforward football game, but possibly something more in the vein of NFL Blitz or NFL Street. Jason Argent, 2K’s Senior VP of Sports Strategy and Licensing, told IGN that they view it as a chance to serve a different audience than Madden.
“Our goal is always authenticity, depth, fun and as it relates to these titles – approachable and social football experiences. We think this is a good opportunity to service a more casual market, and our research shows there’s an appetite for that.”
Whether that means mobile games or the aforementioned arcade style games, there will be more NFL games hitting the market soon.