EA Sports and the NFL have had an exclusive agreement to make video games for over a decade now. The agreement meant that no other game developer was allowed to make an NFL simulation-style game, leading to the collapse of any competition and as a result, the standard of the games. In recent years NFL video games have been receiving worse and worse review scores as fans grow more and more unhappy. But, are things about to change?
EA Sports has had a stranglehold on the sports world for some time now, just about everything other than online slot games has been licensed exclusively by them. There are, however, cracks beginning to show in their monopoly and changes on the horizon.
Bright Future Ahead for NFL Video Games
College Football Returns
One of the major positive news pieces is the impending return of college football. In the 2000’s college sports games helped to define the genre with some games like College Hoops 2K8 living on in memory to this very day. Sadly, due to image rights issues, the games became unfeasible to make after a certain point leading to the death of some of sports simulation’s best franchises.
Despite that, EA Sports have revealed that an NCAA college football game is in the works which could breathe some new life into the sagging balloon that is the NFL video game scene.
College sports allow developers to get creative with some focusing on gameplay, and others focusing on detailed franchise modes all about recruiting the best players possible and watching them blossom. With all of the advancements made in gaming since these titles were popular, there is no doubt going to be some incredible innovation with this title that could make it a new hit with football fans.
It may only be a brief glimmer of hope but this return could mark a major turning point for a genre that desperately needs it. With the budget EA has to work with no expense should be spared to make this the definitive college sports video game.
In the soccer world, EA made the brave decision to sever its agreement with FIFA to make FIFA licensed games. I don’t think I need to explain just how massive those games have been over the past decade-plus. FIFA games have been selling millions of units and generation billions in revenue for years now thanks to its massive audience, brand recognition, and microtransactions.
Despite that, EA Sports moved away from the agreement allowing them to flex their creative muscle, and opening the door for others to make official simulation-style football games.
Could we see this move replicated for the NFL? Will EA Sports decide to move away from exclusive agreements and instead focus on its own brand and get creative in ways the league may never allow? If this happens, will another developer full of enthusiasm and ideas scoop up an NFL license and make a great game?
All of that remains to be seen, but it does leave some with the hope that NFL video games could see a sharp upturn in quality in the coming years should EA Sports release its stranglehold on America’s favourite pastime.
Things Could Change
Ultimately, there is no way of knowing how things will turn out for fans of the NFL and gaming. EA could renew their license and the college football game could bomb. But, for those who want to keep the glass half-full there is reason to be optimistic about the future of NFL video games. We could be on the verge of a renaissance within the subgenre, one that some may be eager to see replicated in other fields like basketall where 2K’s iron grip on basketball games has recently been called into question.