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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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EA Sports Announces Summer Release for ‘College Football 25,’ Its First College Game in Over 10 Years

  • Ed O’Bannon’s historic lawsuit led to the shuttering of EA Sports’ popular college games.
  • The company has teased a release for years but made the news official Thursday.
EA Sports
Syndication: Asbury Park Press

EA Sports is back in the college game. 

The video game company dominated social media Thursday morning, announcing the long-awaited return of its college football game, which will drop ahead of the 2024 season with a full release coming in May. 

In some ways, the game is at the root of the modern college sports scene. EA Sports was at the center of former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA after he saw his likeness used in the company’s NCAA Basketball 09 without his consent. O’Bannon won his lawsuit against the NCAA, and the domino effect caused EA to cease production of the game. The last edition of the football game was NCAA Football 14, which came out in 2013. O’Bannon’s victory against the NCAA began a process that culminated in college athletes making money off their name, image, and likeness on July 1, 2021. Since NIL became official, EA Sports has started to tease the possible return of its trademark game. 

Much has changed since EA Sports last released College Football, and the buildup to Thursday’s announcement has been closely watched. To avoid any issues that led to the game’s end in 2013, EA Sports teamed with OneTeam Partners to handle all the licensing and compensation athletes would receive for their likeness in the product. Given the dozens of football teams with more than 100 players on the average roster, the game will likely have more likenesses of real people than any video game ever made. Will EA Sports make separate deals with some of the game’s more prominent players to help market it? 

In 2022, FOIA requests made by Matt Brown of Extra Points found EA Sports was putting itself through a thorough process in anticipation of an updated version, asking schools for everything from game-day audio to signature cheers at home games. In addition to gamers, schools are a big winner in the game’s release as it provides the ability for fans to connect with their institutions who are out of their market and interact with a whole new generation of fans. 

Over the years, devoted fans of the game could play the 2014 version with updated rosters by downloading them off internet message boards. But while the rosters could be downloaded, users couldn’t account for the changing recruiting landscape. Users will likely have to confront NIL and the transfer portal in the game like those in college sports.  

More will be revealed in May when EA Sports announces what else is coming to the game’s first edition in 11 years. 

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