A new report suggests that the relationship between WWE and Take-Two Interactive may be coming to an end soon, which could result in WWE moving their video games to a competing publisher for the first time ever.
Take-Two is the parent company of 2K Sports. Fightful Select reports that WWE has had recent talks with Electronic Arts (EA) about bringing the WWE Games division over to their company, which is also one of the top gaming publishers in the world.
The upcoming WWE 2K22 video game is seen as a “make or break” release for the series and the report noted that there is a lot riding on the launch of the game, and the following weeks and months. The last contract signed between WWE and Take-Two was in 2016, and while no official details were made public, it’s believed that this was a six-year deal with options to extend. If the game is well-received by players and sales are near expectations, an extension could be signed not far after. If the game is seen as a failure, WWE Games moving to EA would be a greater possibility than ever before.
Talks between WWE and EA have been on & off for years, including before the 2016 deal between WWE and Take-Two, the two sides recently began talking about an agreement as far back as early 2021. Sources report that the talks began after the disappointing release of WWE 2K20, and the lackluster reception to WWE 2K Battlegrounds.
“WWE has shown a lot of frustration with the reception and lack of success of recent games,” one source reportedly said. “The gaming market is a major selling point for them, and they believe they’ve fallen behind the competition.”
The aforementioned competition are other sports games. Despite pro wrestling having a passionate and dedicated fan base, there is reportedly a feeling within WWE that players are making decisions to purchase other sports games instead of their own. With video game prices increasing on new generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, WWE officials feel like the games need to provide more reasons than ever to justify the cost. There’s also a feeling that the WWE 2K games have not done that.
There’s also a feeling within WWE that their games have unfairly, in their minds, been given less resources than the other major title from 2K Sports – NBA 2K. While NBA 2K sales and revenue are much higher than WWE 2K, officials feel like it’s more due to the cutting of resources towards development, rather than a general interest in the game.
Since WWE 2K15, which was the first game to be on the PS4, Xbox One and PC, the budget allocated to the development of the WWE game has gone down year over year. Whether it’s animation, art, or even quality testing areas, not a single area was left untouched during cutbacks towards the WWE 2K series. When asked why this continued to happen, those who asked did not receive specific reasoning, but it was suggested by some that the increase in 2K sports titles in development didn’t help things.
It should be noted that everyone involved expects a split between WWE and Take-Two. A source noted that the development team at 2K developer Visual Concepts Creative is moving forward as if things will continue as normal.
“The development team at VC is of the belief things will continue as normal,” one source close to the game said. “If anything is changing, no one’s been given even a hint of it. 2K is confident in it continuing.”
Another person within the WWE 2K22 team feels like they have put so much effort into improving the game that it will convince those making the decisions to move forward together.
“It’s basically a brand new game in a lot of areas,” the person said. “There is a new foundation laid out to make this a series that everyone wants. It just needs to be understood that it won’t happen in one year.”
If WWE Games does move to EA, it’s speculated that the games would be developed at the EA Vancouver studio, which is the same studio in charge of the UFC series. It was also noted that there would be another “multi-year wait” for the first WWE EA game to come out.
“One of the biggest questions, among so many, is whether WWE wants to wait years for a new game to be developed or stick with what’s already been being built,” the report noted.
The WWE 2K22 video game is the ninth game under the WWE 2K banner. It will be released on March 11 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
Stay tuned for more.
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