NFL and 2K to make video games together again, though there won't be another 'ESPN NFL 2K5' yet

·2 min read

For a long time, EA Sports and “Madden” have had a monopoly on NFL video games.

The fans of the NFL 2K series will tell you that’s not a good thing. They are wistful for the game they claim was even better than “Madden,” specifically the final version: “ESPN NFL 2K5.”

There was good news on that front Tuesday, kind of. 2K is back in the NFL video game business. The company announced it will make more NFL video games starting in 2021.

But it won’t be competing with “Madden.”

2K back in NFL video games

“Madden” will still remain the only NFL simulation video game. The 2K announcement said the company will be making “non-simulation football game experiences.”

“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,” 2K president David Ismailer said in a statement.

That might mean some arcade-style NFL games, like 2K’s NBA “Playgrounds” series. Many on social media hoped that it meant a return of the “NFL Blitz” series.

But it won’t be a reboot of the NFL 2K simulation that everyone still fondly remembers.

Gamers will have new NFL options to go with the "Madden" franchise. (MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Gamers will have new NFL options to go with the "Madden" franchise. (MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

EA Sports still has some exclusive rights

EA Sports put out a statement on Tuesday that clarified the 2K deal doesn’t change much for their exclusive agreement with the NFL.

“EA SPORTS is the exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games, and our partnership with the NFL and NFLPA remains unchanged,” the statement said. “Our agreements have always allowed for non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms.”

Most fans would rather have the competition. It would be interesting to see how the 2K series would look after more than a decade of technology improvements in video gaming. But NFL 2K fans will have to settle for something else.

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