Electronic Arts announced today that it is working on a new college football game, the first since NCAA College Football 14’s release in 2013. However, it will not use the names or likenesses of any student athletes.
Issues around the rights and fees for those likenesses were behind EA’s departure from college football games in the first place. EA now has a new deal with CLC, the leading collegiate trademark licensing company, that will permits its games to use “more than 100 institutions featuring the logos, stadiums, uniforms, gameday traditions and more.”
As for using player likenesses, EA Sports “is continuing to watch those developments closely.” But it’s worth noting that the NCAA isn’t even mentioned in EA’s news release or the new game’s title, which is simply EA Sports College Football.
EA has a major hit every year with the annual Madden series. Adding a college game back in rotation could give the publisher a chance to double-dip into football fans wallets. EA also has a chance to make big money by introducing its Ultimate Team mode to its college game, which gives the publisher a way to monetize its sports titles after release. EA just has to hope that fans will be OK with a college football game that doesn’t include any actual players.
To be fair, this was often the norm for sports games in the 8-bit and 16-bit days. There were more games for each sport, and only a select number of them had the rights to actual player names and likenesses. These days, each of the major sports are monopolized by a single gaming franchise that enjoys often exclusive rights to such things.
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