A report by Sports Business Daily suggests that the NFL will soon extend their deal with EA in order to ensure that the publisher retains the exclusive right to develop NFL simulation video games through 2025.
The report indicates that the deal isn’t quite official (it will seemingly be voted on this week), but that EA is expected to retain the ability to publish and promote the Madden franchise as the only NFL simulation video game series on the market. The terms of this reported deal suggest that EA will unconditionally retain those rights through 2025, but the deal could be extended to 2026 if certain revenue goals are met.
Here’s where things get slightly more interesting. It seems that the terms of this deal only extend to NFL simulation titles based on actual NFL teams, schedules, personnel, and statistics. However, it appears to leave a door open for other developers to potentially make more arcade-like NFL titles or “additional embedded companion apps/modes.”
Why is that so interesting? Well, we recently reported that it seems 2K Games is looking to revive the NFL 2K series. At the time, it was suggested that the game would be different from previous NFL 2K titles, and the terms of this reported agreement would strongly suggest that it will be an officially licensed NFL game but will not fall under the category of a simulation.
Beyond that title, it’s intriguing to think that the NFL could be given other studios the chance to essentially soft pitch an eventual Madden replacement or competitor. While EA will reap the benefits of this arrangement for quite some time, it’s still not beyond reason that 2K (or another company) could work their way back into that picture in a more meaningful way.
As for Madden, we imagine that the franchise’s already stellar sales will benefit greatly in 2020 from both the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X (both of which will feature next-gen versions of the franchise) as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which still raises some doubt regarding whether the 2020 NFL season will occur or under which conditions it will transpire.
There are many who still feel that the Madden series suffers from creative complacency amplified by the series lack of competition, so we’re certainly eager for any scenario which sees them have to prove that Madden is the best NFL game on the market. We’re also interested to see whether or not reported changes to NCAA rules means that EA will also be able to make official NCAA Football games once more.