NFLPA reaches deal with 2K: Is competition for 'Madden' on the way?

Yahoo Sports

The NFLPA has reached a partnership deal with 2K, allowing the video game producer to use the names and likenesses of NFL players in upcoming video games.

Does this mean the return of “NFL2K” and competition to the “Madden” monopoly?

Not exactly.

‘Non-simulation football game experiences’

According to the news release, the partnership gives 2K the “right to feature the names, numbers, images and likenesses for over 2,000 current NFL players.” 2K plans to feature players “in multiple football games in development and set to launch starting in calendar year 2021.”

2K described its upcoming NFL games as “non-simulation football game experiences” that “are currently in early stages of development.”

That doesn’t sound like like a full-fledged Madden competitor, even after an announcement from 2K in March that they had also reached a licensing agreement with the NFL.

'Madden' still appears to have a stranglehold on the NFL simulation market. (Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/ via Getty Images)
'Madden' still appears to have a stranglehold on the NFL simulation market. (Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/ via Getty Images)

Madden maintains exclusive simulation rights

With EA and the NFL re-upping their agreement in May to allow the game producer exclusive rights for NFL simulations through 2026, those hoping for long-awaited competition for “Madden” are out of luck for now.

NFL 2K5 released in 2004 was the last non-Madden title to simulate an NFL game, and gamers have often complained about the “Madden” franchise suffering without real competition pushing innovation.

Meanwhile, it sounds like 2K has plans to get creative to produce a product that doesn’t simulate an actual NFL game.

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