NCAA Football Heading Down Generic Path

Posted June 9th, 2009 at 10:38 am


Player names and how they are dealt with in EA Sports NCAA Football series has always been a sensitive subject. While there has been discussion over the years to reach agreement with the NCAA to allow names in that has not come to fruition. The last couple versions of NCAA Football have brought about some new community based features such as the EA Locker for roster sharing and Teambuilder. The Sam Keller lawsuit may or may not directly affect what happens with NCAA Football but it does seem to coincide with a move towards a more generic-rostered game. This especially considering the rosters found on Teambuilder that apparently are the final rosters shipping with the game.

While at E3 I asked whether the rosters from Teambuilder were final and was told that they were. Not realizing what a disaster they were at the time that was the answer I expected to get. So when I got back and tweeted about them being final I was surprised at the community reaction which was of frustration and disbelief. These rosters are hugely flawed with instances of teams that have no freshman or have players still on the team that graduated within the last few years. While I attempted to get double-verification that the rosters were final there has been no update on that which further solidifies the likelihood that they are.

It may be purely coincidental that this comes shortly after the Keller lawsuit was filed. However regardless of what happens with that it looks as though less effort is being put into making rosters accurate and more is being placed on the community to do it on their own.

The NCAA license however is still a few years away from expiring. Come that time though could EA be planning on letting the exclusive go and then pick up the license for less money? If they have to go more generic with the players that would surely affect sales and the value of that license. They may be thinking that no one else will be able to compete in this market by introducing another college game anyway. That is what happened with NCAA Basketball where 2K dropped out because they couldn’t afford the license leaving EA in a position to have the only college basketball game without having to pay the cost of tying it up exclusively. It would be a huge undertaking to create a new college football game from scratch. The question around how closely rosters can replicate real life will continue to have a big affect on these college games and it is something to continue monitoring.