For over the past decade, football video games have been dominated by Electronic Arts (EA) Madden football series. After signing a 10-year exclusivity deal with the NFL, EA has had no serious competition. The two major football games of recent memory have been Madden and the NCAA football series, which was banned in 2015.
Because of the lack of competition, the innovation Madden has experienced has been lackluster as of recent. This has stalled the series much and has given it poor reviews for the past half of the decade. But with 2K signing a new deal with the NFL, this will give EA new competition, leading to new growth for football video games.
2K is known for its NBA video game series, which has garnered much love, but at the same time much hate. The company is known for poor servers and implementing gambling aspects for modes like MyTeam and MyCareer. The NBA 2k series is also known for great graphics, gameplay, and making great innovations such as historical teams, and an in-depth MyLeague.
On March 10th, 2K signed a partnership deal with the NFL, and will finally be in the football-themed video-game talk after 15 years. Even with this exciting news, the company has also announced that they will not be making simulation-style football games. What 2K plans on doing is still unknown, but it is known that we will not be seeing another authentic experience. This leaves the question of what 2K’s plans are and how this will affect EA and the Madden franchise.
Many experts are saying 2K won’t compete with Madden, simply because of the lack of an authentic experience. This could be the case, but if it was, what could stop the juggernaut? When EA gave up the rights for the college football video game license, it was because the NCAA banned the practice, since they found EA using college players’ likeness and also because of another lawsuit EA was involved in for anti-competitive practices.
But, in recent months, the NCAA has been pushed to expand its allowance to use player likeness in media such as video games. This opens the gates for other companies to put their foothold in the football video game world. With the ability of new companies to be able to make football games, this could be a new era of football-themed games.