Electronic Arts and 2K Sports have agreed to non-exclusive, multi-year licensing extensions with the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), ending any chance that the league might grant exclusive rights to the NHL to any one entity, as the NFL has.
Both EA and 2K Sports will continue release NHL video games with rights for all current and next-generation consoles, including the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360, Xbox, PC, and Wii.
EA has been an entertainment-marketing partner with the NHL and NHLPA since 1991. At the start of the 2005-06 NHL season, EA, headed by development teams at EA Montreal and EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C., created 30 team-specific video game animation vignettes to showcase and introduce the new NHL rules changes to hockey fans. This fall, EA will present NHL 07
for current generation consoles.
In November 2005, 2K Sports' NHL 2K6
was the first and only NHL video game available for the Xbox 360 console at launch. This holiday season, 2K Sports will publish NHL 2K7
for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, as well as current-generation systems. The NHL 2K
series is developed by 2K Sports' Kush Games and Visual Concepts development studios.
"We're excited to extend our relationship with EA and 2K Sports since they have long been on the cutting edge of the sports gaming category, and are now leading the way in the development of next generation, three-dimensional gaming," said Ken Kim, NHLPA Senior Director, Business. "NHL players are fans of these titles as well, and they, like the gamers, cant wait to see the year-to-year advances that are made to replicate the intensity of a real NHL game. We look forward to continued growth in the video game marketplace through these agreements."
"NHL fans and consumers want more choices and extending our relationships with EA Sports and 2K Sports offers them the ability to choose the quality games they want to play," said Brian Jennings, NHL Senior Vice President, Consumer Products Marketing. "Video gaming technology is increasing our younger fans abilities to connect with the personalities and athletic abilities of our players. And both EA Sports and 2K Sports have world-class development teams that successfully design games that continuously enhance that connection."