March 10 (UPI) -- The NFL and 2K Games announced Tuesday that the popular video game NFL 2K will return in 2021.
The league said it entered into a multiyear partnership with the video game publisher. The pact will include multiple upcoming game titles. 2K Games last released an NFL game in 2004, with NFL 2K5.
"Expanding the NFL's presence in the world of gaming has become a focus for the league as we look to grow the next generation of our fan base and reviving our partnership with 2K was a natural step in that effort," NFL senior vice president of consumer products Joe Ruggiero said in a news release.
EA Sports has been the exclusive publisher of NFL simulation games since 2004. The company said in a statement Tuesday that its partnership with the league and NFL Players Association remains "unchanged."
"We're thrilled to be back in business with the NFL in a partnership that will span multiple video games centered on fun, approachable and social experiences," 2K Games president David Ismailer said in a statement.
"It's exciting to bring together 2K's expertise in creating award-winning sports games with the NFL's renowned status as a world-class entertainment and sports organization."
The Madden line has been the only NFL game for the last 15 years.
"Our agreements have always allowed for non-exclusive development of non-simulation games on various platforms," EA Sports said. "Our commitment to NFL fans, which spans almost 30 years, has never been stronger, and we're having our biggest year yet.
"Madden NFL 20 is the most successful game ever in the franchise, and new [game-playing] modes like superstar KO and our Madden NFL e-sports broadcasts are growing the fan base. We'll be building on that momentum with more new and different experiences, on more platforms and with new ways to play, in the years to come."
Madden NFL 20 was released in August. EA Sports said the game set a franchise record for the most preorders during its final week before release.