Earlier this year, EA Sports excited millions of fans by announcing the return of its NCAA Football video game series. On Thursday, the company released a statement following the NIL ruling on Wednesday.
From EA Sports:
"We are watching the recent developments regarding student-athlete name, image and likeness very closely. It’s still very early stages at this point, and we plan to explore the possibility of including players in EA SPORTS College Football. For now, our development team is focused on working with our partners at CLC to ensure the game authentically showcases the great sport of college football and the more than 100 institutions signed on to be featured in our game."
The last college football video game that EA Sports released was NCAA Football 14 with Michigan's Denard Robinson on the cover. It's been almost eight years to the day since that game released, and fans have been begging for a new version ever since.
But EA Sports was forced to quit production of the game due to legal issues surrounding the game's use of player likenesses. However, the company pivoted its intention with the game by announcing its return in February. Details were scarce at the time, but EA Sports said the new version of the game would not feature rosters or likenesses of college football franchises. Team names, stadiums and other features were expected to be licensed and included in the series.
However, with the latest NIL ruling, it seems as if there's a potential now to include the likenesses of players. However, as their statement pointed out, it's a little too early to know for sure how that would work.
The company has plenty of time to figure this out, though, as the game isn't expected to be released for quite some time. A leaked document, obtained by Matt Brown of Extra Points, shows EA Sports plans to release the game in July 2023.
Got another copy of the EA Sports/CLC proposal to FBS schools, dated Jan 15, with fewer redactions than previous copies. Here's a bit more info on the money schools may make from the game:— Matt Brown (@MattBrownEP) June 25, 2021
Appears to be a four year license proposal pic.twitter.com/tVNegAXd8P
That gives EA Sports around two years to figure out the best practice in using player likeness in their game, assuming they do it at all.