Editor’s take: EA’s efforts to jump back into the world of college football video games is admirable and promising, but let’s be frank. Players are what make the game, and if you don’t have the rights to use their likeness, it’ll be hard for fans to get excited about it. Even if you do have the right to license school logos and stadiums, the experience won’t be the same if you can’t don the jersey of your favorite player. There’s still time for the rules regarding players to change, but as it stands today, actual players won’t be in the game.
Electronic Arts launched what would be the final installment in the long-running NCAA Football video game series back in mid-2013. Shortly after, the NCAA decided not to renew its licensing agreement with EA Sports. That effectively put an end to college football video games and prompted EA to shift its focus to the Madden franchise of NFL games.
On Tuesday, however, EA sparked hope among college football game fans that a return could be imminent.
— EA SPORTS (@EASPORTS) February 2, 2021
EA has partnered with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) on “the expected return of college football to EA Sports.” Per EA, the deal will allow EA Sports to become the exclusive developer of simulation college football video game experiences.
EA said the new franchise will include the rights to more than 100 colleges and feature the logos, stadiums and gameplay traditions that fans have come to know and love. Notably, the game “will not include student-athlete names, images and likenesses” but EA said it will continue to watch developments around that subject closely.
It’s also worth highlighting that EA made no mention of the NCAA in its announcement. Given the language used, we’re likely looking at a new franchise that won’t use NCAA branding.
That said, the new game is in the beginning stages of development and thus, won’t be ready for another couple of years.
Masthead courtesy Victor Moussa