The last NCAA Football video game was released in 2014.
Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson appeared on the cover before the game went on a hiatus.
“As we look for the momentum that we’re building on in sports, it all starts with the passion of our fans and the opportunities of what they are interested in,” EA Sports vice president and general manager Daryl Holt told ESPN. “I don’t think a visit where I go outside wearing a piece of EA Sports branded apparel, that someone doesn’t go, ‘Hey, when is college football coming back?'”
EA Sports is currently planning to use rosters without the name, image or likeness of real players in accordance with current NCAA rules.
The current NIL structure is under review by both the NCAA and Congress, though it’s unclear whether any change would allow EA Sports to use real players in the latest iteration of the college football video game.
EA Sports announced in 2013 it was stopping production of what was previously known as NCAA Football. The shuttering of the popular video game coincided with a settlement reached between EA Sports and a class-action lawsuit brought by former college players, who sued the company for using the players’ likeness without compensation. EA Sports did not use the exact names of former college players, though it did copy their exact jersey numbers, heights, weights, skin tones, hair colors and home states.
“When we filed the case, we felt very strongly that EA’s appropriation of student-athletes’ images for a for-profit venture was wrong, both in a legal sense and from a more fundamental moral perspective,” Steve Berman, the co-lead counsel in the class-action lawsuit told ESPN in 2013. “These guys were busting their butts on the field or the court trying to excel at athletics, oftentimes to help win or maintain scholarships so they could get an education.”
EA Sports released its first college football game in 1993 with the release of Bill Walsh College Football. The game rebranded to NCAA Football in 1998.