Ever since 1993, when Bill Walsh College Football came out, EA Sports has been making college football games for those who prefer the amateur version of the sport to (or as well as) Madden. Over the years the game featured thousands upon thousands of real life players but omitted their names. For the gamers (like myself) it was acceptable to overlook their generic descriptions in order to have a college football title to play. For example Johnny Manziel would be QB #2 instead of, you know, Johnny Manziel. However at some point EA even found (what they believed to be) a loophole around that by allowing you to edit the names of players, many of which could be pronounced by the in-game announcers.
That strategy, or at least variations of it, worked for 20 years.
But, this past Thursday, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken found in favor of the players in their looming lawsuit against both EA and the NCAA and thus approved a $60 million class-action settlement. If you've followed any of these NCAA lawsuits at all you would also know that Wilken approved a lawsuit last year in the Ed O'Bannon case that challenged the NCAA's ability to use images of players for "commercial purposes." That suit is currently being appealed.
As for this current litigation, players have until July 31 to stake their claim and receive a (very small fraction) of the settlement. Said their attorney Steve Berman on the judge's ruling:
"This landmark decision marks the first time student-athletes will be paid for the likeness or image, and stands as a huge victory in the ongoing fight for student-athletes' rights."
If you're like me and wondered whether or not this means that EA is free to revive the NCAA Football series, which went defunct after the 2014 version (and was confusingly released in 2013), the answer is...I have no idea. I wish I did.
They've teased it in the past but it just hasn't been decided upon at this time.
[via Associated Press]
Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to email@example.com