Update: College football video games will continue beyond 2014.
EA Sports will still have college football video game beyond 2014, just won't be affiliated w/NCAA— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 17, 2013
The NCAA announced that it is discontinuing its relationship with EA Sports, and will not renew its contract with the video game maker once it ends in June 2014. As a result, NCAA Football '14 will be the final edition of the wildly popular video game series, at least by its current name.
The use of player likenesses in NCAA Football games has been a central issue in the ongoing Ed O'Bannon case against the NCAA and EA Sports. The case could soon involve a current college athlete.
Here is the release, in its entirety:
The NCAA has made the decision not to enter a new contract for the license of its name and logo for the EA Sports NCAA Football video game. The current contract expires in June 2014, but our timing is based on the need to provide EA notice for future planning. As a result, the NCAA Football 2014 video game will be the last to include the NCAA's name and logo. We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games. But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.
The NCAA has never licensed the use of current student-athlete names, images or likenesses to EA. The NCAA has no involvement in licenses between EA and former student-athletes. Member colleges and universities license their own trademarks and other intellectual property for the video game. They will have to independently decide whether to continue those business arrangements in the future.
Despite confident language regarding the use of names and likenesses, this move looks like the NCAA is preparing for the worst in court. It's possible that the game could continue without any "NCAA" branding, especially since universities sell their licensing via the Collegiate Licensing Company, but that's beyond what we know at this point.
Some reaction to this huge story, and suggestions for a new format:
My prediction: ESPN College Football 15, by EA Sports. All 126 or whatever real team names.— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) July 17, 2013
Now they can just market it as "The college football game the NCAA doesn't want you to own."— Tony Gerdeman (@GerdOzone) July 17, 2013
EA Sports Presents Brent Musburger's Wild Vegas Vacation 2015 (with live weather conditions and outstanding bar tabs)— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) July 17, 2013
You know who I bet will be really excited about this NCAA/EA news? My wife.— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) July 17, 2013
Bill Snyder's Combat Football— Dennis G (@bigpumpkin4real) July 17, 2013