EA Sports College Football Game Series Is Dead

Andy Marlin

The plans were to continue it on, but the situation became untenable.

The Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA, the CLC, and EA Sports has claimed its first official casualty despite the case still being in court: the college football video game series is dead.

The full text of the press release is over at the SBNation mothership, if you'd like to read it. It basically boils down to two things. One, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit won't settle and call it a day. Given that their goal is basically to end amateurism as we know it, they were never going to settle. The other is that with the NCAA, the SEC, and other conferences not allowing their logos and trademarks in the game, EA doesn't think it could deliver an authentic experience. The latter section mentions uncertainty around schools, which likely indicates that the CLC, the company that manages branding intellectual property for most schools out there, might have been thinking about not renewing its deal with EA as well.

The college games that EA produced were basically a sham anyway. They included accurate numbers, builds, physical attributes, skin tones, and so forth for actual players without compensating anyone for it. They were using players' likenesses, in other words, without paying them for it. There was only so long that was going to stand if challenged in the legal system.

There is a chance of the games coming back once the O'Bannon suit is over. If the plaintiffs lose, then it can probably go back to business as usual. If they win, then EA could probably start it up again with actual player names and likenesses with a royalty going to whatever gets set up (the NCPA, perhaps) to manage that licensing.

For now though, enjoy the latest release. You won't get another one for a while.

UPDATE

The CLC and EA Sports have settled their portions of the O'Bannon case. We'll have more on this later, but given that the settlement announcement came so soon after the 2014 video game canceling announcement, the future of the series is even more in doubt than I thought.

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