The stable of EA Sports games once included numerous college sports games, but for a variety of reasons–including lawsuits from former players–EA stopped making them. Now, EA’s CEO has said the company might return to college sports games thanks in part to a new law that will affect certain collegiate athletes and endorsement deals.
Speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference this week, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said EA would “jump for the opportunity” to make more college sports video games if the NCAA can come up with a system to pay players.
Wilson added that he receives lots of emails to his personal account from fans asking for EA to bring back college sports games. “I think there are many, many–maybe even millions–of players who hope that’s the case,” he said.
California governor Gavin Newsom signed a law in September that allows student-athletes to make money from endorsement deals while in school. The law doesn’t take effect until 2023, however, so it remains to be seen how it will all shake out.
EA used to develop college football and basketball games, but the final college basketball game was NCAA Basketball 10 and the final football title was NCAA Football 14.
Video games based on professional sports, meanwhile, continue to be very big business for EA. The company makes NBA, NHL, NFL, and FIFA games, with their Ultimate Team modes bringing in lots of cash from microtransactions.
Fans, including Snoop Dogg, have been calling on EA to return to the college sports game business for years. Fans got a little treat with Madden NFL 20, as the game’s story mode featured 10 different college football teams, though no player likenesses or names were used.
EA and the NCAA ended their licensing deal in 2013. In 2015, EA was ordered to pay $60 million to former college players following a lawsuit over likenesses.
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