The NFL 2K series was introduced by Sega for its Dreamcast to address EA Sports's decision not to publish the Madden NFL series on the Dreamcast. The first two installments (NFL 2K and NFL 2K1) were exclusive to the Dreamcast, but with the demise of the system, the NFL 2K series was repositioned as the main multiplatform rival to the Madden NFL series. With the cancellation of the NFL GameDay (989 Sports) and NFL Fever (Microsoft Game Studios), the series truly became Madden NFL's primary competition.
In 2004, Sega signed a deal with Take-Two Interactive in which Global Star Software (Take-Two's low-price unit) distributed and co-published all titles in Sega's ESPN franchise. As a result, ESPN NFL 2K5 was priced at $19.99 the day it shipped (versus the typical new-release price of $59.99 that EA ships under). This earned it a wide audience among more casual football fans on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It was also the first time that the series managed to grab a significant chunk of market share over the competitor, the Madden NFL series.
However, in December 2004, EA signed an exclusive agreement with the NFL for an undisclosed amount of money, making Madden NFL the only series allowed to use NFL team and player names. Comparatively, the NFL signed a similar six year exclusivity deal with Visa Inc. worth $400 Million. EA also signed an agreement with ESPN to become the only licensee of ESPN's brand in sports games on all platforms. This was an immense blow to Sega's franchise in their MLB, NBA, and NHL series. EAs rights end early in 2012.
The commentary was done by the fictional Dan Stevens (Terry McGovern) and Peter O'Keefe (Jay Styne). The fictional Michelle Westphal (Marcia Perry) provided occasional sideline reports from NFL 2K until NFL 2K3, while ESPN NFL Football and ESPN NFL 2K5 featured sideline reporting from ESPN's real-life Suzy Kolber.
|NFL 2K||Dreamcast||None||None||None||September 9, 1999|
|NFL 2K1||Dreamcast||None||None||None||September 7, 2000|
|NFL 2K2||Dreamcast||PS2||Xbox||None||October 23, 2001|
|NFL 2K3||None||PS2||Xbox||GameCube||August 20, 2002|
|ESPN NFL Football||None||PS2||Xbox||None||September 2, 2003|
|ESPN NFL 2K5||None||PS2||Xbox||None||July 20, 2004|
2K Sports currently has a spiritual successor to the NFL 2K series, in the form of All-Pro Football 2K8. The game features a fictional league known as the "All-Pro League", or APL. The APL consists of 24 teams that are grouped into six divisions of four teams each. Former NFL players appear in the game such as Joe Montana, Barry Sanders, John Elway, Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, and Johnny Unitas.
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/nfl-2k-series NFL 2K series - MobyGames
- ↑ http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news/story?id=1945691 All Madden, all the time
- ↑ http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news/story?id=1945691
- ↑ http://www.mobygames.com/game/ps3/all-pro-football-2k8 All-Pro Football 2K8 - MobyGames