Madden is no longer going to be the only licensed NFL video game

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Since 2005, EA Sports’ Madden NFL series has been the only officially licensed NFL video game on the market. That’s about to change, with an asterisk.

Madden’s exclusivity spawned after NFL 2K emerged as a legitimate contender to the NFL video game throne when it launched in 1999. It threatened EA’s previous dominance with Madden, which led to the publisher paying for exclusivity. The last NFL 2K game was 2K5, which released in July of 2004.

On Tuesday, 2K Games announced a new deal with the NFL that will allow for the return of the series and some licensed competition for Madden. The first projects are already under development, according to IGN, but they will not be simulation games.

The games will fall under the NFL 2K brand and are scheduled to launch in 2021. Because they can't be simulations, the new games will need to be more arcade-style in gameplay. What exactly that means remains to be seen. Will 2K go for a modern version of something like NFL Blitz or NFL Street?

2K has major brand recognition with its NBA 2K series. In the NBA, things have been flipped with the NBA 2K series trouncing EA’s NBA Live to the point of it feeling like 2K has an exclusivity deal. In reality, the 2K series has reached mass popularity by sheer quality, while EA has struggled to get NBA Live games out the door.

Regardless, if you’re tired of Madden games, but still looking to rep the Bears in a video game, you will have another outlet for it. It just won’t be a direct replacement for Madden.

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