Why the XFL/2K Games Rumors Make Sense For Both Parties

Jeff Kotuby,

May 9, 2019 11:55 AM

Rumors of the XFL and 2K Games have been buzzing abound since the league announced its revival last year. Could we see the revival of 2K's football game franchise by partnering with a familiar face?

Earlier this year, we put the challenge out there for the Alliance of American Football to talk to 2K Games about creating an updated version of 2K's popular football franchise. That didn't go so swiftly - the AAF went out of business soon thereafter. However, there's still hope, and it comes in the form of the XFL. Yes, that XFL, the one that took the world by storm for a few weeks back in 2001. The league looks to bounce back and re-launch in 2020 with steady cash flow, courtesy of its multi-millionaire owner, Vince McMahon. Yes, that Vince McMahon. 

This is what makes a potential partnership between the XFL and 2K Games so enticing - 2K and Vince's other company (World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE, you may have heard of it) have been doing business since 2013 when 2K took over the WWE license from the now-defunct THQ. The deal makes sense for both parties - here's why:

How A Deal Helps 2K

2K getting back into the football business is good for everyone but especially the people publishing the game. Like we mentioned in the AAF-2K piece, the NFL 2K series of games still have a cult following, but another NFL-licensed game is impossible as Madden developers EA Sports purchased the license to the National Football League after 2K5  sold dangerously well. Since 2K can't use the NFL, wouldn't the XFL be the next best thing? An official league license would also knock down barriers that 2K5's follow-up, All-Pro Football 2K8 had and allow for contemporary features, such as HD graphics, online league play, esports support, and even the popular "MyTeam" game mode from the NBA 2K series to be part of the new game. 

The XFL has one other enticing offer up its sleeve - a new TV deal which will broadcast games on ABC, FOX, ESPN, and FOX Sports.  Obviously, 2K might enjoy the advertising boost that would come with a football property on major network and cable television stations (and so would the developers of games like Borderlands 3 and NBA 2K20.) Prime-time advertising is expensive, but a deal with the XFL could put some of 2K's hottest games in front of millions (okay, maybe thousands) of football fans who no doubt pick up an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller every now and then. 

How A Deal Helps the XFL

Right now, we don't know any XFL players, and it'll probably stay that way for a while. A video game would help fans get acquainted with some of the talented ballplayers on XFL rosters and help people get attached to them in a way we were struggling to get to know AAF players. An XFL 2K20 could also generate a ton of revenue, thanks to the inevitable inclusion of Virtual Currency (VC) to the game. NBA 2K VC practically prints money and we would expect it to do the same for a game which would no doubt be superior to its main competition. Plus, the cross-promotion between the NBA 2K and WWE 2K games, and the potential XFL 2K games could be a massive boost for the game's popularity. Curious eyes may wander to the game, which in turn may bring them to the live product.

Just imagine gameplay like this with today's graphics. Think about how great that would be.

This is probably a pipe dream just like the AAF-2K merger, but of the two, this one has the most evidence behind it actually working. Let's see if the XFL can survive past Week 8 before we worry about making a video game about it. Guess we'll just have to wait and see, right? For more on XFL 2K20's competition, check out how many people watched the Madden Bowl finals. 

(Feature image courtesy Complex Sports)


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