The very popular NCAA soccer video games are officially making a return.
EA Sports announced that it plans to re-make a college football video game. This ends years of speculation about the franchise since it was last produced in 2013.
But why was a game with such a loyal fanbase discontinued in the first place?
The endgame stems from a high-profile legal battle spearheaded by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, which has set the tone for many of the name, image, and likeness conversations still going on in college sports today. The video games didn’t directly use the players ‘names (remember “QB No. 2” for Texas A&M?), The games used the players’ numbers, skill sets, and overall appearances without compensating for them.
O’Bannon led an antitrust class action lawsuit against the NCAA that named EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) as co-defendants, arguing that the NCAA was misusing the athletes’ images for commercial purposes. The video game was a perfect example of this: O’Bannon appeared in a classic UCLA outfit as No. 31, but with identical measurements, feel, and skin tone.
EA Sports and CLC settled with O’Bannon and the plaintiffs on a $ 40 million settlement that resulted in checks of a few hundred to thousands of dollars sent to players whose images had appeared in the game.
This alone did not force the game to close: EA indicated in court documents that he was willing to pay advancement players to use his images (and potentially names) in the game.
The heist came on the side of the NCAA, whose resistance to allowing players to benefit in any way while in school made it virtually impossible for EA to continue making the game without another lawsuit. Despite its popularity, EA stopped producing the game.
“When we presented the case, we felt very strongly that EA’s appropriation of the student-athlete images for a for-profit company was wrong, both in a legal sense and from a more fundamental moral perspective,” said the attorney. co-leader of the class. -Suit for action Steve Berman said in a statement at the time, by ESPN. “The students agreed that as student athletes they would not be able to exploit their personal business value, an agreement they honored. The same cannot be said for the NCAA or its partner Electronic Arts.”
For the new game to work like the old one and include the likeness of the players, the NIL legislation passed by the NCAA (and probably Congress) will have to allow “group licenses.” Group licensing is what enables the sale of things like business cards, licensed clothing, and video games on a professional level.
Given that Democrats currently hold the majority in the House and Senate along with the presidency, a more expansive NIL bill is expected to pass compared to those favored by the NCAA (and many Republicans). Among the possible expansions of rights: group licenses.
While the game is reportedly still far from completion and many questions remain about how exactly player images will be used in the game, Tuesday’s announcement from EA Sports is an important step in the return of a game that college sports fans have been waiting since 2013..
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.