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WWE video games to remain exclusive as 2K Sports and WWE extend their contract

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and video game publisher Take-Two have agreed to a "multiyear" extension of their exclusive licensing agreement for the WWE 2K series of wrestling video games, the companies announced today.

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Asked for details on the length of the extension, a Take-Two representative declined further comment to Polygon.

The WWE 2K series was born back in February 2013, when WWE first agreed to an exclusive licensing contract with Take-Two. The franchise is a continuation of the WWE series of games that THQ had been publishing. Take-Two took over for THQ after the latter company filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2012. THQ's first WWE game was WWF WrestleMania 2000, which launched in 1999; however, the current series is considered to have begun with WWF SmackDown! in 2000. WWE 2K14, which was released in 2013, marked the franchise's transition to 2K Sports, a publishing label under Take-Two.

"2K's partnership with WWE over the past three years has resulted in a successful and important addition to the Company's portfolio of profitable franchises," said David Ismailer, chief operating officer for 2K, in a press release today. "We are very pleased to extend our partnership with WWE and look forward to many more years of collaboration."

"Our continued partnership ensures WWE remains at the forefront of global video game brands as we continue innovating and publishing our offerings on multiple platforms," said Casey Collins, executive vice president of consumer products for WWE.

Take-Two's licensing agreement with WWE means the publisher retains exclusive worldwide rights to develop and publish WWE video games on "all major platforms and distribution channels." Ismailer cited the WWE franchise's "year-over-year growth," as well as the success of the free-to-play mobile game WWE SuperCard, as reasons for extending the licensing agreement. The original contract was reportedly a five-year deal running through 2017, so while the companies did not specify the length of the extension, the new agreement will presumably last beyond 2017.

The latest entry in the WWE 2K franchise is WWE 2K16, which was released last October. Under Take-Two, the WWE 2K games are co-developed by Yuke's — the Japanese studio that has been working on the series since WWF SmackDown! — and Visual Concepts, the company behind the NBA 2K franchise.