EA and 2K Sports reach non-exclusive deal with the NHL

by: Chuck -
Hockey blog Kuklas Korner is reporting that the NHL has reached a non-exclusive, multi-year extensions with Electronic Arts and 2K Sports for their NHL games.  The agreement covers versions for the Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3,PSP, PC and Wii (!) of the fastest sport on Earth.  It's nice to see a non-exclusive deal as it does help keep both companies on their toes and hopefully both companies will maintain the low prices for their games.

I did get a chance to check out the Xbox 360 version of NHL2K7 this year (EA wasn't showing NHL 07) and I was pretty impressed with the improved animations and controls.  I'm still not a big fan of the goalie control system but it's not something that you have to use.

BTW, don't forget to tune in tonight for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.  The game starts tonight at 8:00 and you can watch the game on NBC.  With the exception of game two and game six (both blowouts) this has been one of the best Stanley Cup finals in years.  You've got two really good, competitive teams with contrasting styles of play, excellent goaltending, playing exciting, fast, and intense hockey.  If you don't believe me just tune in and watch the first 10 minutes of the game, I'm sure you'll be impressed.

* Updated with press release goodness

NHL, NHLPA ANNOUNCE MULTI-YEAR LICENSE RENEWAL AGREEMENTS WITH EA AND 2K SPORTS

NEW YORK / TORONTO (June 19, 2006) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL®) today announced that Electronic Arts (EA) and 2K Sports have agreed to non-exclusive, multi-year licensing extensions. EA and 2K Sports will continue to offer a full complement of NHL video games with rights for all current and next-generation consoles, including the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 (PS3) computer entertainment system, PSP(PlayStation®Portable) system, Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, PC, and Nintendo 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 and next-generation consoles, including Xbox 360.

In November 2005, 2K Sports’ NHL 2K6 game was the first and only NHL video game available for the Xbox 360 console at the launch of the new video game system. This holiday season, 2K Sports will publish NHL 2K7 for PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 next-generation game consoles, 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, can’t 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.”

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