We all know by now that the NFL has allowed NFL 2K in on the football video game industry. And it is about time! This not only shook the NFL gaming industry but it brought along some great publicity for the NFL and NFL 2K. To be clear, NFL 2k will be released in 2022, which I explain why later. NFL 2k21 does have a nice ring to it though and is talked about over the internet, but NFL 2k22 is not as talked about. However, NFL 2K21 cannot directly compete with Electronic Arts (EA) simulation…at least for now. In this article, I will be going over the much-needed, well overdue competition in the franchise realm of the football gaming industry. Also, I will be giving my take on how 2K Sports may shape the franchise world for franchise lovers, how it will affect EA, how NFL 2K could eventually end up competing with EA, and I will be discussing why this is good for the NFL.
The Forgotten Franchise Mode
First of all, can we acknowledge that EA does not pay attention to us franchise players? There are millions of people who play Madden franchise mode and yet they still pay more attention to Madden Ultimate Team (MUT). Why is this? Well, the answer is quite simple…microtransactions (MCT). EA can also get away with doing just enough for franchise mode because they have no competition.
Franchise mode does not make EA any money, therefore, they barely touch it year after year. Why is it that EA does not create MCT for franchise mode too? Is this what it has to come to in order for EA to make a franchise mode comparable to that of NBA 2K? Anyone who plays NBA 2K knows you have a more personable experience, such as with MyGM. That being said, NBA 2K also has MCT, which can be frustrating but it will leave you with a great franchise experience only if there is good leadership along with a great team with a vision – and who listens to the fans, I cannot forget that. I always go by if you love the work you are doing, it will show.
That said, maybe if MCT were introduced to Madden franchise mode it would make for a better franchise experience, however, only if they loved their work and did not just do it for the money. Either way, it will show and the fans will speak. And EA’s monopoly over the NFL gaming industry is coming to an end, which will give them little room to continue this cookie-cutter Madden, which I will touch on later in this article.
Microtransactions for the Win?
Furthermore, MCT seems like it would be a win for EA – and us, most importantly; it would also give them an opportunity to get more creative…at least we hope. And we know EA has a creative side, just look at Sims, BFV, and others.
Some examples of MCT is as follows:
- EA could have an abundant amount of cleats to choose from, some of which you pay for. Or you could design your own cleats especially for months that are for a cause just as in real life.
- EA can add more stadiums to choose from AND MCT for other stadiums.
- They could make a Sims-like stadium builder for total control and creativity.
- You could choose and buy a home and use that as the lobby instead of watching your coach walk back and forth or typing at the keyboard.
- You could have the ability to go from your home to the stadium. I know I would enjoy not only walking around my home but walking around the stadium.
- An open-world where what you do will have an effect on your environment.
- A career mode that is an MMORPG style mode where you have control of your story.
Those are just a few ideas Madden could put in place that would leave a huge impact. EA could grow from that year after year. Some ideas mentioned are similar to NBA 2K. However, the only feasible way they could make those ideas possible (financially) would be to add MCT to franchise mode. Please, just give us more options to choose from when it comes to franchise mode.
Uniformity a day Keeps the Fans Away
Anyways, Madden franchise mode is way too uniform. It does not have much spice to it or even many differences in owner mode, player mode, or coach-mode. Why they don’t have GM mode is a different story for another time.
Since Madden NFL franchise has very few differences in each of their modes it leaves me with a very unsatisfied taste in my mouth. It’s an itch I can’t scratch. It is an experience that I can get bored of quickly if I am playing by myself. I feel like they have been getting worse every year but making big deals about brand new “groundbreaking” features like Superstar X-Factor. What about our franchise fix, EA?!
NFL 2K Franchise?!
On the other hand, NBA 2K20 has a great franchise mode. A very successful one I might say. Bowie, what does NBA 2K20 have to do with the NFL you ask? Simple, 2K Sports creates NBA 2K and now, after 15 years, they are back to the NFL.
According to Polygon, the contract between EA and the NFL expires by the end of the 2021 season – so at the beginning of the year 2022. The NFL wants to give EA complete control over the simulation aspect (franchise mode) while NFL 2K shares the arcade aspect with EA. This will be interesting!
Why in the world would the NFL want to give EA complete control over franchise mode when we all know 2K Sports has a lot more experience and is much more successful in that aspect? EA has shown to only care about MUT since that’s where they make the money. Everyone knows this.
I believe it is all talk by the NFL. My prediction is that the NFL is slowly opening the door to another market for good reason – I will touch on that in the next section. The NFL saw success 15+ years ago and they need to see success from 2K again. If 2K does anything close to NFL Street, they take the arcade competition away from EA easy. NFL Street is heavily missed and still talked about so that would be a smart move. I believe that particular style of game will have huge hype.
Once the numbers show then the NFL will allow them to get into the simulation aspect. It’s good for the NFL and, most importantly, the fans. This will also force EA to pay more attention to their game modes. Competition creates great products!
The Major Impact on the NFL
Usually, after the NFL season is over, Madden slows down tremendously, especially franchise mode. There is one last big update for franchise mode and then about 100% of the focus is on MUT.
Since the NFL is bringing back on 2K Sports, this is great for the NFL and the NFL gaming industry. One huge reason is playtime. NFL is a product. A product wants attention all the time. When the attention is on the NFL, it means the NFL’s market increases. It never really goes away. With another arcade aspect coming to the NFL market – hopefully, NFL Street style – there will be an increase in people playing the game of football, which is a successful marketing strategy. This will have a strong possibility to increase the NFL’s fan base, which will boost their ratings.
Moreover, it will bring a brand new excitement to the game of football. It’ll be a breath of fresh air! Another great aspect of this situation is that there will be those who play both so it will be harder to get bored. Once the NFL opens the floodgates to 2K Sports for simulation – it will happen – then there will be another flood to the NFL market. It will, once again, add more brand new excitement to the game of football. If the NFL runs this path they will see more increases to their ratings.
Wrapping it all Up!
All in all, EA’s contract is coming up with the NFL, which finally adds to the much-needed competition to the NFL gaming industry even if that does not involve simulation…yet. This will have EA rethinking their approach to Madden now that there is some inevitable competition looming in the background. I gave some ideas on how this could shape the franchise world as we know it through MCT, MMORPG, and more. It will also expand the NFL’s presence in the sports gaming community possibly bringing on new NFL fans. This is great news for the NFL and everyone who loves the game of football.
Let us put all of our biases aside and just wish the best for the game of football. This is in the best interest of the game we all love and all of us who have been waiting for another NFL gaming market to open up. Now I can get excited three times a year. One for the NFL season, the second for Madden, and the third for NFL 2K. NCAAF…you are next. We can only hope.
You can grab the games I talked about from Amazon: ESPN NFL 2K5 – PlayStation 2 (Limited) —> NBA 2K20 —> Madden NFL 20
The Bowster, A.K.A. Bowie, enjoys writing, bicycling, and eating a great meal. He loves to challenge people’s thinking and add depth to the way people look at things. “It has taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am today, so my message to you is to never quit and always follow what you love. You should never live to work.”
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