Feature Article
Will 2K Expand Their Lineup in Next-Gen?

The lineup for sports gamers has gotten increasingly smaller as the years have gone by. This is no mystery.

In what started as a promising generation with healthy competition amongst the genre, ended with a number of series fizzling out and becoming nonexistent by the end. Some of this attrition has to do with licensing agreements but many of those agreements were struck when no viable second party was wanting into the market.

So what is it, exactly, that is driving publishers like 2K Sports away from the sports gaming market?

Unfortunately, the answer is almost impossible to quantify. What we do know, is that it all starts with sales and money. The situation gets a little more confusing when you see that sales for games like Madden, FIFA, NCAA, MLB: The Show, and perhaps most importantly, NBA 2K, have generally been very good. 2K really only has a presence in two sports (basketball, and baseball if you’re even willing to count their efforts there) as it stands, and its baseball game is seemingly on its way out.

Furthermore, you have sports that are incredibly vulnerable right now, most notably NCAA Football. Not to mention, you there are wide open markets in college basketball, tennis, and baseball (one console still doesn’t have a game). So let’s take a look at some sports individually, and the chances 2K will take a shot at the market for them:

NFL Football: Not Likely

It’s no secret that football is the most popular sport in the country, and Madden’s sales reflect that. Despite generally poor reviews over the course of the generation, the game continues to sell and make loads of money for EA – certainly enough money that might make it tempting for another publisher to swoop in and take a bite of those sales. Unfortunately, a relatively cloudy exclusivity deal between the NFL and EA has allowed them to monopolize the sport. The chances that either would want to endanger their success are pretty minimal, as it stands to reason a renewal is more likely than not. However, there is certainly reason for 2K Sports to try to get into the NFL market one last time.

College Football: Almost Impossible

With the O’Bannon lawsuit going on, it’s easy to wonder if we’ve see the last of college sports games for a while. EA promises to move ahead with their series, but even that series looks liable to be shut down at any point in the future. The chances that 2K would want to get themselves into that mess are slim to nil. The only fighting chance is that the lawsuit is ended soon, and stricter boundaries on player likeness are set up. If developers know exactly what they can and cannot do, some may be more inclined to make college sports games again. For now, no one's crazy enough to take on college sports with ongoing litigation.

The return of College Hoops looks very unlikely right now.

College Basketball: Very Unlikely

NBA 2K has made its way to the top of the sports gaming world, slaughtering expectations for critical reception and sales. Two years ago, I would have told you that them taking a shot at a college basketball series was very likely. After all, why wouldn’t they want to build off of their market? But again, a deal with the NCAA would stand in their way, and the NCAA has made it very clear they aren't in the video games business anymore.

Baseball: Likely

I find it hard to believe that Microsoft is going to go into next-gen without having a publisher nailed down to make them a game. MLB: The Show is doing extremely well for Sony, and has even gotten the label “system seller” from many. Microsoft may try to nab an exclusive deal from someone like 2K, just to make sure they don’t lose the market in terms of console sales alone. If Microsoft is going into next-gen without baseball locked down from some company, it'll be a surprise to many.

Other: Very Likely

Between soccer, hockey, and golf, there is definitely a market for 2K to swoop in as a next-generation hero and build up some competition. Ultimately, it’s hard to believe that with its success in NBA 2K that the publisher won’t move on and try to expand it’s lineup. One of the key things to focus on will be how well they do with the WWE series, a massive franchise with huge sales potential. If they succeed there, there’s no reason to believe that they won’t turn that momentum towards other titles. Both Golf and Tennis have real potential, and if 2K wanted to try to take a bit out of the massive soccer market worldwide they could always try.

Member Comments
# 21 bxphenom7 @ 09/03/13 01:52 PM
People need to stop buying madden. seriously ****ing **** up.
# 22 NoleFan @ 09/04/13 06:18 AM
Originally Posted by elgreazy1
2K should make a generic-based football game that allows the users to create, share, and manage content like rosters, coaching, schemes, sliders, league alignments & parameters, etc. Keep it generic to cut down on licensing costs, release the game every other year (with patches, updates & DLC in-between) to increasetime between development cycles, etc
I'm in 100% support of that!
# 23 LRBTODAY @ 09/05/13 02:03 AM
If Take Two is bought by Activision, then I see a possibility of these games happening. More money means more games.
# 24 pietasterp @ 09/05/13 02:09 PM
What about golf? The "Links" series was great on PC and had one nice offering on the original XBox. It seems that there is a market for a realistic golf sim, or a viable challenger to the 'Tiger Woods' series. I realize golf is a niche sport (from a videogame perspective, anyway), but outside of football and basketball, isn't pretty much everything?
# 25 mestevo @ 09/05/13 03:11 PM
They aren't going back to football, and don't think we'll see college basketball until the litigation is over... which could be years.

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2
# 26 Ford74 @ 09/05/13 07:34 PM
EA will continue to dominate sports games. Good and bad. 2K is barely hanging on with NBA. I was very disappointed that no sports gaming publisher has commented on how broken NBA2k13 was. Constant freezing if you use roster share and zero support. I think there was 1 patch to the game. No answers for if you simulate an online association, you can't play the playoffs. I will say if NBA Live is half way descent and stable, I am going to make the switch along with about 10 of my friends.
The state of sports games are as strong as ever in a revenue aspect. There will continue to be very little innovation as long as single publishers hold exclusive rights to the professional licenses.
# 27 T5063 @ 10/31/13 10:09 AM
I would love to see either an NFL or NHL game from 2k with NBA2k14's career modes and presentation.

The EA versions of those games have become stale and boring.
# 28 mestevo @ 10/31/13 10:43 AM
Wait, isn't that the other way around? My player on nba2k has been the same game for years, while NCAA/Madden introduced the carousel, connected careers, etc.

Sent from my VZW Note 3

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