11:32 AM - June 13, 2014 by MMChrisS
While there has some some question as to the status of the exclusivity of the Madden license, owing to the fact the last mention of the license by EA only said there were a number of years left on it with no mention of exclusivity. That was never a guarantee that the license wasn't exclusive, as EA hadn't mentioned in official documents that the license was either extended or exclusive since the initial deal -- the news of the prior extension was never fully confirmed by EA.
Expecting a different approach where EA held a pomp and circumstance parade has led to a rash of unfounded rumors that another competitor, namely 2K, was developing a football game. There was even an unfounded expectation that 2K might even debut a football title at E3.
However, the biggest news to come out of the 2K camp at E3 might have been Ronnie2K confirming that not only was 2K not working on a football game, but that the license was still exclusively owned by 'someone else.'
This isn't surprising, considering the NFL license being open for other partners would have almost certainly leaked by now by someone. The current deal's term length which has been widely speculated and rumored is that Madden still has two to three years in its current deal, pushing the game well into this new generation.
It still remains unlikely, even if the license was open, that a competitor could rise up to compete with Madden in any reasonable amount of time given the more advanced needs of today's sports gaming audience. Thus, given the license's current status, it is possible that any possible competitor wouldn't be ready for release for at least 18-24 months after the license was actually acquired by someone, which puts the most reasonable timeframe for a Madden competitor at least four to five years from now, if ever. The most likely scenario remains that EA and Madden will remain the only major NFL gaming option on big box consoles for the foreseeable future.