If you were among the many who worried that this year could be the last of EA Sports popular NCAA Football series after the National Collegiate Athletic Association ended its contract with the video game producer, you can now rest a little easier. EA Sports has reached a new agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) to continue making college football video games in the aftermath of the NCAA pulling out.
When the new three year contract takes effect next year, Electronic Arts will not have the ability to use the NCAA logo or name on any of its content. As detrimental to a college football game as that appears to be on paper, it really is not. The new deal enables EA Sports to continue to use “more than 150 colleges, conferences and bowl games” in its popular series.
“EA Sports will continue to develop and publish college football games, but we will no longer include the NCAA names and marks,” said Andrew Wilson, the executive vice president of EA Sports in a statement to the AP. “Our relationship with the Collegiate Licensing Co. is strong and we are already working on a new game for next generation consoles which will launch next year and feature the college teams, conferences and all the innovation fans expect from EA Sports.”
Finalizing a deal just two days after the NCAA pulled out of its lucrative contract with EA Sports is an impressive accomplishment for the video game giant. On Thursday, “the NCAA announced it would not renew its contract with EA Sports after next year, citing business reasons and litigation costs amid a raft of lawsuits involving the game” said Brent Schrotenboer of the USA Today.
Lawsuits have flooded the NCAA and EA Sports as a result of their college sports series, making the continuation a liability risk for the NCAA. The likeness of avatars to actual players has become a major concern, especially the use of graduated players.
Electronic Arts ended its NCAA basketball series in 2010 due to a shrinking market size, however a larger liability as a result of the virtual players closer resembling real life athletes is another possible factor. In football, the avatar players are able to hide behind a helmet, where as in a basketball game player’s faces are made to look as realistic as possible.
In the new deal with the CLS, it is possible that EA Sports has to reshape college football landscape every year. “It’s possible that individual schools could opt out of the agreement if they so choose, and then EA Sports would not be able to use that school in the game” says Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports.
Teams that allow EA Sports to include them in their college football series give permission to include all logos, trademarks, mascots, stadiums, and other school-specific items in any college football game produced by Electronic Arts.
So for now gamers can rest easy because EA Sports will continue to produce its popular NCAA Football series despite the NCAA pulling out of its contract. A new deal with the CLS means EA will have to call the game College Football instead of NCAA Football, but it will continue without any major setbacks for all football fans to enjoy.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express