|Platforms||Dreamcast, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox|
|Platform of origin||Dreamcast|
|Year of inception||1999|
|First release||NFL 2K
September 9, 1999
|Latest release||NFL 2K5
July 20, 2004
|Spin-offs||All Pro Football 2K8|
NFL 2K is an American football video game series developed by Visual Concepts and published by Sega. Based on the National Football League, the series was originally exclusive to Sega's Dreamcast video game console. It is the very first "2K" game ever released and hence it marked the beginning of a running athletics series which has since spawned 2K Sports as a devoted publisher. After the Dreamcast was discontinued, the series continued to be published for other sixth generation game systems and became the chief competitor of EA Sports's Madden NFL series. However, after the competitively priced NFL 2K5 significantly reduced sales of that year's Madden release, EA signed an exclusivity deal with the NFL that made Madden NFL the only series allowed to use NFL team and player names.
After losing the NFL license, Visual Concepts made a brief return to developing football games with the release of All-Pro Football 2K8, which featured former NFL players.
The NFL 2K series was introduced by Sega 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) franchises, 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. ESPN NFL 2K5 was priced at $19.99 the day it shipped, versus the typical new-release price of $49.99 for Madden NFL. This earned it a wide audience among more casual football fans on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and for the first time the series obtained a significant market share compared to Madden NFL. One EA developer recalled that Sega's aggressive pricing "scared the hell out of us."
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 in January 2004. 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. EA's NFL licensing rights end in 2013.
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||Randy Moss||Minnesota Vikings|
|NFL 2K1||Dreamcast||None||None||None||September 7, 2000|
|NFL 2K2||Dreamcast||PS2||Xbox||None||September 19, 2001|
|NFL 2K3||None||PS2||Xbox||Gamecube||August 21, 2002||Brian Urlacher||Chicago Bears|
|ESPN NFL Football||None||PS2||Xbox||None||September 3, 2003||Warren Sapp||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|ESPN NFL 2K5||None||PS2||Xbox||None||July 20, 2004||Terrell Owens||Philadelphia Eagles|
2K Sports has a spiritual successor to the NFL 2K series, in the form of All-Pro Football 2K8, released in 2007. 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
- Bissell, Tom (2012-01-17). "Kickoff: Madden NFL and the Future of Video Game Sports". Grantland. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
- http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/sportsbusiness/news/story?id=1945691 All Madden, all the time
- http://www.mobygames.com/game/ps3/all-pro-football-2k8 All-Pro Football 2K8 - MobyGames