Yesterday 2K Games and the NFL Player’s Association announced they had come to an agreement for 2K to make use of player likenesses. American Football video games have been dominated by EA’s Madden franchise ever since NCAA Football stopped being made, and while this agreement may lead to some cool football experiences from 2K, this deal won’t be what topples Madden as the king of the gridiron.
The reason for that lays in one of the last paragraphs of the press release announcing the deal. It reads, in part, “2K’s NFL games will be non-simulation football game experiences, and are currently in early stages of development.” The games being in early development isn’t the concerning part of that sentence, no one expects a game to release so soon after a deal is struck. The part that changes the way people should look at this deal is the fact that “2K’s NFL games will be non-simulation football game experiences,” meaning Madden still has a monopoly on traditional NFL video games. In May, EA extended its exclusivity deal with the NFL through at least the 2025 season.
What will the 2K Games NFL deal lead to?
Time will tell how far 2K Games tries to stretch the definition of “non-simulation football game experiences,” but it likely means we can expect to see games more similar in scope to NBA Playgrounds than to NBA 2K.
This is far from a bad thing, and will hopefully lead to some fun and unique NFL video games from 2K. It’s important for fans to set their expectations appropriately, however. Another promising aspect of this deal is it’s shown the NFL Player’s Association is willing to negotiate with other video game developers, leaving the door open to a future in which EA doesn’t have exclusive rights to create simulation NFL experiences.
What kind of NFL game do you want 2K to create? Something like NBA Playgrounds would be cool, but they could potentially create a Football Manager like game for, well, American Football.