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Game Over: EA pulls plug on college football video game

NCAA_Football_14_Cover (1)

Perhaps destined for this decision, Electronic Arts has announced the cancellation of the popular NCAA Football video game franchise for the upcoming year. The video game giant is caught in the middle of an ongoing legal dispute concerning the NCAA and former college players and had already lost the license to use the NCAA brand as well as multiple conferences and a couple of schools. In this case, the writing was on the wall.

The announcement gamers have been dreading was delivered Thursday afternoon vie a press release by Cam Weber, GM of American Football at EA Sports.

“Today I am sad to announce that we will not be publishing a new college football game next year, and we are evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise,” Weber said. “This is as profoundly disappointing to the people who make this game as I expect it will be for the millions who enjoy playing it each year.”

Weber cites the dispute between players and the NCAA over player likenesses, one in which EA has been criticized for using without any form of compensation for players represented in the game aside from the annual cover athlete. In addition, Weber says

“For our part, we are working to settle the lawsuits with the student-athletes,” Weber said. “Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game. The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position – one that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience, which is the very foundation of EA SPORTS games.”

The production team that works on the video game will be placed elsewhere under the EA Sports division of Electronic Arts, but there will be no college football-themed video game released next summer. The college football franchise has been released every year dating back to 1993 on the Super Nintendo and SEGA Genesis. When introduced, the game used Bill Walsh to headline the franchise and was a bit ahead of its time. The game featured only a relatively small number of teams that resembled actual college teams but included a playoff system long before the adoption of the actual College Football Playoff. Walsh’s namesake was used to sell the franchise in similar fashion to John Madden and the NFL franchise, but the franchise was soon named College Football USA before switching to NCAA Football.

EA Sports has long been the only producer of a college football game. 2k Sports had two college football titles released in 2001 and 2002, but the company has slowly been phased out by EA Sports in the sports video game market. Will we eventually see another college football game released on our video game consoles? Probably. This is probably not a long-term or permanent solution, but until the NCAA, conferences, schools and players all start playing under a system that allows for players to be compensated we have probably seen the last college football game for a while. The demand will always be there as well as the target audience, but off-field legalities must be sorted out first.

UPDATE (5:43 p.m.): Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com reports EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Co. have settled a number of lawsuits with as many as 100,000 current and former players.

Photo credit: EA Sports

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16 Responses to “Game Over: EA pulls plug on college football video game”
  1. micklethepickle says: Sep 26, 2013 6:06 PM

    Oh well. EA sucks anyway. I bet Gurley would’ve made the cover this year, though :)

  2. 8to80texansblog says: Sep 26, 2013 6:18 PM

    Too bad.. I really liked that franchise.

    As far as Gurley…. I would bet Manziel or Clowney…

  3. wustlumdnj says: Sep 26, 2013 6:26 PM

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  4. tigers182 says: Sep 26, 2013 6:45 PM

    Once again, a battle between millionaires and billionaires results in low-middle class to lose.

  5. jzone954 says: Sep 26, 2013 7:06 PM

    And this will solve nothing….

  6. skwackquackwoof says: Sep 26, 2013 7:11 PM

    Good, the whole game needs an overhaul anyway. I didn’t buy it this year for the first time since it was called Bill Walsh. First off, there is no other sports game that I know of that has more cheaters than NCAA Football (and worse, most people use my Ducks to do it with…why dont you stay as florida because afterall you are cheating and will still win). It has been Madden’s step-child forever and has never had the same amount of tlc. Secondly they haven’t had any real innovations in gameplay since about 2004 with the exception of read option which they still haven’t figured out. Third, college kids can’t have their cake and eat it too when it comes to this game. I can assure you that every single athlete since this game’s inception has written a letter or email to get their ratings raised in the game and spent countless hours playing it. Individual names have never been a part of it, the schools all signed off on it and the school owns everything to do with their jersey numbers and the football playing aspect of the digital player inside it. In about 9999 cases out of 10000 EA is in the wrong on these type of issues. They are very good at being a company with big ad campaigns and exclusivity and all that stuff, but to me they forgot what made it possible to pay these huge salaries and bonuses to executives, making outstanding football games. My solution is to make it a monthly charge per game with no discs. I would pay 10 bucks a month for it and in return EA updates rosters weekly, moderates the games and erases stats and records of cheaters, and produces an excellent game. They would make a ton more money q hich they could chop up with the schools, and the fans would be much happier.

  7. Deb says: Sep 26, 2013 8:50 PM

    How is a lawsuit involving college players a battle between millionaires and billionaires? I think you’re confusing this game with Madden.

  8. bender4700 says: Sep 26, 2013 10:03 PM

    All they do is update the rosters anyway. Good riddance. Game play is the same for several years.

    Oh and now they can avoid the whole “paying the guys used for your gain” thing.

  9. bender4700 says: Sep 26, 2013 10:19 PM

    tigers182 says: Sep 26, 2013 6:45 PM

    Once again, a battle between millionaires and billionaires results in low-middle class to lose.

    _________________

    There’s about 5 things wrong with your point. Just on the surface.

    1. Players = Millionaires now? They are cutting the game because they don’t want to pay the players they make money off of in the game. Think of it as something similar to a slave owner “freeing” his slave the day before a new law mandates Slaves get paid. Not even in the same universe as Millionaires v Billionaires. Players are not allowed to make even close to “millions” while in school. The players cease to be “useful” in the game once they leave school. At no point in a current version of the game is ONE millionaire utilized. The “coach” figures look nothing like their real life counter parts. But the players are designed to the T of some of the guys.

    2. This isn’t a battle at all. It’s a PR/Economic move. The game is stale, sales are not record breaking, but the negative PR and potential financial penalty for using players to make money but not pay them is going to be problematic. Not a battle, but a business decision. For it to be a battle, this would have to be someone losing and winning. The players aren’t “winning” because now they have no base to say they are using their likeness. The NCAA isn’t losing because they still make unGodly amounts of money off the players outside of this simple game.

    3. Low-Middle class usually means the likelyhood of a “low-middle” class family purchasing a $60 video game once a year is low. More likely, that same family is playing a used version. So they won’t be affected for several years. The kids in line for the newest version is likely being bought by kids that can afford it.

    4. What are they losing exactly? The game hasn’t changed in 3 years. You can download updated rosters online. So they are losing the ability to buy a new case? They can buy the neon green cases, and print the “would be” cover and BAM, brand new cover. They can put whatever player they want on it too. They lose nothing. They actually gain. Less pressure for parents to have to buy their kid a new version of the same game. No better business plan exists than release the same product every year and past buyers rebuy. Consumers win with one less terrible waste of money being jammed down their throat. So your point is the exact opposite of reality.

    5. It really seems like you have NO clue about this story at all. Which is apparent in the above 4 reasons you may have posted the stupidest, uneducated, and ridiculous comments on CFT’s page ever. The common, and more accurate view is that the NCAA is reacting to anything the opponents bring up. This is a DIRECT connection to the Fan Shop debacle. The NCAA is the drug dealer flushing their powder when the cops are at the door. They are quickly riding themselves of anything the Government (who is the only body that can take them down) can use against them and bust them up.

    The NCAA is a modern day slave owner. They make money, the ones doing the work don’t.

    Olbermann had a great story and great comment last night, New Mexico State is using $$ to entice students to stay at the game till the end. Literally EVERYONE is getting paid: Universities, Coaches, Media, and even the fans. EXCEPT the players.

  10. Nor-Cal Scott says: Sep 26, 2013 10:33 PM

    Put the controller down and get a life. If you’re over 25 and still playing video games you need to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I a loser?” Chances are that if you are still living at home with Mommy the answer is YES.

    The Ed O’Bannon lawsuit is going to win unless it is settled for big big money. EA, the NCAA, Conferences, and Universities all know it so they are scrambling to distance themselves.

    This is a huge issue: should college athletes get paid? And, if so, who & how much? Does a kid on scholarship playing golf get the same as the same amount per month as a guy playing football or basketball? In most cases football and sometimes men’s basketball are the ONLY programs on campus to bring in revenue greater than their expenses.

  11. 80wise says: Sep 26, 2013 11:00 PM

    Student athletes receive a free education. An education that if they use it properly, will set them up for the rest of their lives. If you ask me, they’re already making out like bandits.

  12. david10654 says: Sep 27, 2013 12:27 AM

    I have this game and I’m so addicted to dynasty mode. Its much better than Maddens equivalent I should have just purchased NFL Sunday Ticket instead. Ive already done 10 seasons(some simulated) and I’m about to play the Sun Belt Conference Championship as FSU vs MICH ST. Ive redone all the conferences twice, and eliminated automatic bids. Ive made Georgia State and BYU a powerhouse and have probably the best recruiting class ever(something like 6 5stars 12 4stars and 4 3stars, with another 3 4stars on the way. Dynasty mode is the Bomb.

  13. mlelrod says: Sep 27, 2013 3:43 AM

    Are they going to continue to support & update NCAA Football 14?

    If not, I want a refund.

  14. lbroberts123 says: Sep 27, 2013 9:38 AM

    @Nor-Cal Scott, I’m 25, have my own house, 2 cars, a wife and a daughter, but I still play games. Does that just negate everything else and make me a loser? I think you have the wrong perception of video games. Just because someone a little older still plays them doesn’t make them a loser living in their parent’s basement.

  15. theflyingtad says: Sep 27, 2013 10:06 AM

    I wonder how many 2nd tier collegiate players are bummed they’ll never be in a video game now.

    If I was such a player I’d be irritated….

  16. shon595 says: Oct 1, 2013 1:54 AM

    They could still make the game without using the likeness of the players. Leave out there home city and state. Don’t use there height and weight, just generate players similar to the very first few games.

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