Following on the heels of the NFL, AFL, and MLB licensing deals that were stuck during the past few months, the National Basketball Association today announced that it has granted FIVE publishers the rights to develop and publish NBA basketball videogames.
The five publishers involved are Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Sony Corporation, Midway Games, and Atari. The combined dollar value of the deals is reportedly somewhere around $400 million.
Over the next 6 years, both Electronic Arts and Take-Two will have the rights to develop and publish simulation-style basketball games every year for multiple platforms. Sony was also granted the rights to develop and publish simulation style games for its PlayStation 2, PSP, and PlayStation 3 hardware.
Meanwhile, Electronic Arts and Midway will alternate years with their arcade-style games, "NBA Street" and "NBA Ballers." That means that NBA Street will come out in 2006, followed by NBA Ballers in 2007. Atari will be able to publish its children's game "Backyard Basketball" every year.
Basically, this deal primarily continues the status quo. NBA Live and the NBA 2K series will still come out yearly. On the arcade end of things, EA and Midway will have to live with alternating NBA Street and NBA Ballers, but they've pretty much been doing that anyway. The only major side-effect of these deals is that other companies are shut out of producing new NBA based games for six years.