Game developer 2K Games has announced a partnership with the NFL to begin making non-simulation football video games. The last time 2K made an NFL game was in 2004, when the final installment of the NFL 2K franchise was released.
"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," NFL senior vice president of consumer products Joe Ruggiero said in a statement. "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."
It's being tabbed as a "multiyear partnership encompassing multiple future video games." As of right now, multiple consoles are being discussed, but nothing has been decided. The number of video games also hasn't been revealed.
Electronic Acts released a statement, saying that "our partnership with the NFL and NFLPA remains unchanged."
The simulation rights have been exclusively owned by Electronic Arts since 2005, which has been producing the Madden video game franchise since 1988. According to ESPN's Arda Ocal, that exclusive rights deal will expire at the conclusion of the 2021 NFL season and 2K Sports and other companies have "expressed interest" in acquiring them.
The NFL 2K franchise lasted from 1999 to 2004. It was certainly a very popular video game franchise that gamers played across several platforms prior to its demise.