Today, via Twitter, EA Sports announced MAJOR news for College Football fans.
— EA SPORTS (@EASPORTS) February 2, 2021
That’s right. EA Sports is FINALLY getting back into the business of college football video games. In what appears to be a re-brand, the classic sports video game developer is officially rebooting their NCAA Football franchise.
It’s been a long time, coming.
— Verbally Committed Podcast (@VerbalCommitPod) February 2, 2021
THEY’RE BACK. No, still not Texas, but rather EA Sports, that’s who’s back! They officially announce their plans to re-enter the barren market of college football video games. EA is looking to reclaim the crown they were forced to cease give up due to legal/licensing issues back in September 2013. They last dropped NCAA Football 14 in July of 2013, featuring Michigan Wolverine Denard Robinson on the cover. It’s been so long since their last game that their most recent cover athlete, Robinson, hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016.
Now the ‘Who’ of who will be in the actual game is a far more interesting, yet complicated, detail. As of now, EA Sports College Football doesn’t have NCAA rights lined up. EA has the rights of 100 teams thus far, but without the NCAA lacks a number of key elements of the game. First and foremost, the players will be generic mock-ups, without any ability to use actual the name, image, or likeness of actual college athletes. Until the NCAA and the courts figure out a way to redefine amateurism, and let players get paid for NIL rights, this is how it’ll be.
So for now – start brainstorming some fun/weird names to edit for your generically named players. Me? I think I might go with a theme of The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. My dynasty shall led by by none other than QB1 Bilbo Baggins. My running back would be Thorin Oakenshield, and fullback has to be Gimli. I need to stop now. I could do a whole blog of just this, to be honest.
^ I mean – can you even imagine trying to tackle Oakenshield? It just wouldn’t work. Look at how low his center of gravity is. And he’s as strong as an ox! He’s the fun-sized Bo Jackson of Middle-Earth.
It’s a video game! About college football! If you got this far without realizing what this blog was about, then I cannot help you.
Here’s a screenshot for the 0.00001% that someone read this far without knowing what this was about:
Not great news…. According to Daryl Holt, EA Sports Vice President / General Manager, it’s still in early stages. Which means there’s not a chance that the game will be ready in 2021. Even 2022 seems to be a stretch, sadly. Beyond that timeline, with NIL (name, image, and likeness) rights still very much not settled or negotiated – the game as of now would have generic rosters.
From EA: "Development of EA SPORTS College Football is just underway, with launch timing still to come as the project progresses in the years ahead."
We're looking at 2-3 years probably. And by that time the players should be in position to be paid (NIL laws and player's union)
— Bryan Wiedey (@pastapadre) February 2, 2021
As alluded above, in the 2-3 years taken to develop the game, there’s hope that by then those NIL issues are settled. I won’t bore you with the details and twist and turns of the NCAA’s ever-evolving definition of amateurism. But it is important to note that progress in the courts have been made, with college athletes being eligible to make money (primarily via social media). As a result of this progress, it’d be shocking for there to be no feasible way for these athletes to be compensated for their NIL rights by 2023 or 2024.
Unfortunately with this timeline of events, however, it means the players we’re excited to play with in the game aren’t names we even know yet. With most of those impact players likely either currently taking the SATs this coming fall, or buried on their college team’s depth chart.
Sorry to those of you holding onto hope for the legacy status of your PlayStation 4’s and Xbox Ones, but no dice. It appears the reboot will only be available on Next-Gen consoles such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Good news is, you still have about 2 or 3 years to go out and buy a new console before this game comes out.
So, for now, enjoy the announcement! Cry, let it all out, if you feel the urge. You deserve it. We all do. It’s been a long fight.
Well it’s one of the most popular and iconic video game franchises in history, that’s why!!! From the classic Dynasty mode of developing a recruiting pipeline and forging a path to a BCS National Championship, to playing as a created played in Road to the Heisman, the game has an legendary reputation among fans and gamers. Though due to those pesty issues with the NCAA and NIL rights it hasn’t been produced for a while. Despite that, over 7 years later, the demand for a return is still very much present.
More recently, amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic, old copies of NCAA Football 14 resurfaced as gamers got back into the classic game. One college football fan and online personality, Big Cat from Barstool Sports was a major proponent of the movement.
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) February 2, 2021
Behind the hype of his Twitch stream of his NCAA Football 14 Dynasty, many wanted back in as well. Those who had sold or lost their old copies had no choice but to buy used copies online… for a hefty price. In some cases, people paid over 2.5 times the price of the original game’s $60 price tag.
Here’s a chart courtesy of Banner Society, narrowed in on a 3 month window from Feb 2020 to May 2020.
The boom is not totally over, though. The game continues to be a hot commodity on the secondary market:
KEEP CALM, AND CARRY ON (TO WORK ON THAT RECRUITING PIPELINE)
Breathe easy, friends. After what feels like an eternity, the looming national crisis is finally over. NCAA Football is coming back.
-Mike Gilligan (@BigGilli, @VerbalCommitPod and @SmallStateTakes Podcast) – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/small-state-big-takes/id1432138166 / https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/verbally-committed/id1516871465