EA Sports will not produce college football video game in 2014

Photo: Polygon

Photo: Polygon

Video game giant EA Sports, in an official press release, announced that it will not be producing a college football game in 2014.

The move is a dramatic reversal from the company’s initial stance that it would, in fact, be producing a game – in spite of the NCAA’s decision to remove its branding from the product.

Below is the company’s statement in full:

Today I am sad to announce that we will not be publishing a new college football game next year, and we are evaluating our plan for the future of the franchise. This is as profoundly disappointing to the people who make this game as I expect it will be for the millions who enjoy playing it each year. I’d like to explain a couple of the factors that brought us to this decision.

We have been stuck in the middle of a dispute between the NCAA and student-athletes who seek compensation for playing college football. Just like companies that broadcast college games and those that provide equipment and apparel, we follow rules that are set by the NCAA – but those rules are being challenged by some student-athletes. For our part, we are working to settle the lawsuits with the student-athletes. Meanwhile, the NCAA and a number of conferences have withdrawn their support of our game. The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position – one that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience, which is the very foundation of EA SPORTS games.

At EA SPORTS, college football has always been a labor of love, and it is unfortunate that these business and legal issues have impacted our ability to make next year’s game. This franchise has been developed by a team that is deeply committed to the tradition and culture of this sport – that’s why fans have always loved it. We are working to retain the talented people who are part of the team by placing them elsewhere within the EA SPORTS organization.

In the meantime, we will continue to be connected and engaged with our fans who are playing EA SPORTS NCAA Football. Our decision does not affect our commitment to NCAA Football 14 and the consumers who love playing the game.

From the sounds of it, an effort is going to be made in order to produce a game at some point. In fact, a development has taken place that might change the landscape of college football altogether, not just video games.

As of writing, we do not have any details as to what “settling with student athletes” exactly means, but on the surface it sounds like paying the athletes money for using their likenesses in past games.

Check back for further updates as litigation is sifted through and potentially game-changing decisions are made.