Game Changer: NCAA cuts ties with EA Sports football

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ncaa football 14NCAA Football 14 will be the last EA Sports game to bear the athletic association’s logo, at least for the foreseeable future. In the wake of a multimillion dollar lawsuit over player likenesses, the NCAA will not renew its licensing deal with EA Sports. This situation began when former college basketball star Ed O’ Bannon filed a lawsuit over an in-game avatar that looked similar to him.

EA’s college sports games don’t use players real names most of the time, other than the cover athlete. But they often include avatars that have all the physical characteristics of the real player at that position. This practice has come up in court proceedings.

The publisher said it will put out a college football game next year, just not using any NCAA trademarks. Will gamers still be interested? EA’s own argument for years has been that exclusive licenses with entities such as the NFL make games more realistic. When rival 2K Sports released a critically acclaimed football game at $19.99, EA countered by securing an exclusive partnership with the NFL. Others have attempted football titles, but without the NFL license they have gone swiftly to the bargain bin.

The NCAA said colleges will be able to work out their own agreements with EA Sports. This puts a serious damper on what was looking like a comeback year for NCAA Football. After a couple of years with some serious glitches, particularly in dynasty mode, the latest NCAA is getting excellent reviews.

Off the virtual field, there are a bunch of things EA can’t control. Aaron Hernandez, currently facing murder charges, appeared in the Ultimate Team card collecting mode in both NCAA Football 14 and Madden NFL 25. A title update removed him from the college game.

EA had to be prepared for this contingency, as the court case hasn’t gone well for the NCAA. Former college athletes and their attorneys will point to this as an admission of guilt.

Read [Yahoo Sports]

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