The series was originally named SmackDown!, after WWE's own SmackDown television program. The first release in the series was WWF SmackDown! in March 2000, which along with these subsequent titles, remained exclusive to Sony's [videogameplatform=4433] consoles. After the brand extension, the series was retitled WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw in 2004, to indicate the Raw brand was also featured. Within a few years, the series had expanded to a yearly release cycle for various seventh-generation consoles as well as mobile devices. Yuke's had also released the games in Japan under the name of Exciting Pro Wrestling. However, after WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006, THQ took over as the Japanese publisher and the Japanese releases adopted the western name. The series was later renamed as just simply WWE, starting from 2011 and 2012.
After THQ's dissolution in January 2013, it was reported that the publishing rights for the WWE video game series were acquired by Take-Two Interactive.
In early 2016, WWE and 2K signed an agreement to extend 2K's license of the series, exact details of which are unknown.
Source: Wikipedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWE_2K#History", available under the CC-BY-SA License.