EA Sports announces reboot College Football video game franchise

Jan 6, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide play video games during media day at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

EA Sports delighted the gaming world on Tuesday in announcing that college football games would be making a grand reentry into their catalog.

NCAA Football 14 was the last game EA Sports released that covered the college gridiron before players’ likeness issues arose. Now, at least some semblance of the game many sports fanatics loved is making a big comeback.

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EA Sports to release College Football video game

The initial news came from EA Sports’ official Twitter account, and reporter Greg Miller passed along some other key details regarding the new game:

Perhaps the biggest takeaway here is the fact that the game, titled EA Sports College Football, won’t use the names, images or likeness of the student-athletes.

Another element worth noting is that the first entry in EA Sports’ rebooted video game franchise won’t be coming out until 2022 at the earliest. At least, the initial press release seems to indicate there’s a multi-year timeline leading up to the new game’s launch.

Apparently the hope is that the rights to use college players’ likenesses will change by that time, or that a decent compensation plan will be in place in the event that student-athletes’ likenesses are used to make a big profit off this game.

Given the raging success of NCAA Football video games, it’s hardly a surprise EA Sports honored fans’ wishes to bring the game back.

However, most gamers won’t enjoy the experience as much as they could unless real-life rosters can be used. Imagine if the game were released this year, and you wanted to play as Clemson, but couldn’t unleash superstar Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence on the opposing defense.

Of course, there is still the appeal of create-a-player and building one’s own recruiting dynasty with fictitious rosters. Getting to play recruiter and essentially being a personnel man for a college football team is great fun EA Sports’ game will still offer, regardless of rights issues.

All that said, provided there’s a fair system in place if players’ likenesses are ultimately used, this could be a great steppingstone to more justly compensating student-athletes, particularly those who contribute to a many-multi-million-dollar product of a powerhouse program each year.