• EA SPORTS NCAA Football 1993-2013

    We have now reached the second Tuesday of July, the date typically reserved for the release of EA SPORTS NCAA Football. However, multiple lawsuits and the changing landscape of college sports mean the end of the franchise as we know it.

    Anyone 21 years of age or younger has grown up with NCAA Football being an annual summer release. The franchise became a tradition for many and as they grew, so did the game. Fans played it against friends and family, it became a battle for bragging rights in college dorms, and the addition of Online Dynasty allowed gamers from across the country to compete against each other.

    While plans were in place and the development underway for EA SPORTS College Football 15, its cancellation made it the last college sports franchise to fall, joining the ranks of NCAA Basketball/March Madness, College Hoops, and MVP NCAA Baseball. Between licensing costs and lawsuits over the alleged use of player likenesses, college gaming will likely not return for some time, if ever.

    Where do NCAA Football gamers go?

    The NCAA Football franchise sold millions of copies each year, so where will those loyal fans turn?

    While the Madden NFL franchise continues on its path to become the ultimate simulation of professional football, will it (led by former NCAA higher-ups including Executive Producer Roy Harvey and Senior Producer Sean Graddy, among others) add something - anything - to reach out to NCAA Football gamers? Or will the assumption be that a significant number will purchase Madden NFL regardless of feature set and improvements, being that it is the only football option on the market? Worse yet, did the late cancellation of NCAA Football find Madden NFL 15 already far enough into development, leaving no possibility to cater to this displaced fan base? As we approach the August 26 release of Madden NFL 15, it's worth keeping an eye on how (if at all) the game's marketing and community relations attempt to reach former NCAA purchasers.

    Will these passionate fans move on to other sports titles and other game genres or will some of them simply leave gaming in the past? For those who made their console and gaming purchases primarily for NCAA Football, do they fail to make the jump to the PS4 & XB1 with their long-standing motivation no longer in existence?


    The Effects of Cancellation

    While longtime fans of the franchise now have a void to fill, the effects of the franchise cancellation are far-reaching.
    While some regarded the money paid to schools by EA SPORTS as a small pittance, it was enough for some schools to fund multiple staffers, an important payday as many athletic departments look for creative methods to stay in the black.

    GameStop's and other video game chains in college towns will lose the revenue windfall they ensued with their annual midnight releases.

    Numerous community and fan websites have either fallen - particularly those who profited by selling roster files or via subscription methodology - or saw their direction change if they wished to stay relevant in the ever-changing cyber-landscape.

    More importantly, numerous NCAA Football developers who lost their job were left looking for new employment in a very volatile market. While some members of the dev team moved on to other projects within the company in recent years, those who stayed with the ship to the very end were either moved to Madden NFL or relieved of their duties. In that time, those who were fortunate to find a new job may have been forced to relocated to various locations around the country.


    The Rebirth of NCAA Football

    All hope is not lost for the return of college gaming. During the O'Bannon v. NCAA trial, EA Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs Joel Linzner testified that if there was an efficient way for EA to work with college football and men's basketball players as a group and there were no NCAA prohibitions, the company would be "very interested in acquiring the rights" to use their names and images in games.

    However, a ruling in the O'Bannon and Kessler antitrust case must occur, along with the fallout and any possible changes in the structure and current policies of the NCAA. EA's Peter Moore has stated that he believes systemic changes must first occur within college sports (the ability to attain a license for use of player likenesses) and that the company will watch and wait to see how the dust settles to determine if and how the company will proceed.

    Should the environment allow for video game companies to purchase the rights to use player names and likenesses and EA re-enters the college football gaming market, it could be a lengthy process with major decisions that need to be made.

    Updating, acquiring, and creating accurate team details such as stadiums, jerseys, and field art could take years. While a number of Madden NFL staffers would likely be shifted back to NCAA Football, who helms the project and do they attempt to bring back members of the old dev team? The company would also need to determine if the franchise would begin anew with features, pick up where NCAA Football 14 left off, or modify the Connected Careers (Franchise) Mode in Madden NFL for college football.

    EA SPORTS would be aided by the fact that the studio is already in the football marketplace with Madden NFL, meaning they would have a gameplay engine in place that would need proper adjustments for the college game versus the lengthy and excruciating process of building from scratch.

    These many decisions mean that if/once companies can return to making college video games, it would be years before a final product hits stores shelves. Until then, NCAA Football 14, NCAA Basketball 10, College Hoops 2K8, MVP NCAA Baseball 07 and the memories they provided must hold us over.

    Comments 38 Comments
    1. jaymo76's Avatar
      jaymo76 -
      Nice tribute video. It brings back great memories. Like many of you I poured 1000's of hours into this series. I don't expect to see CFB return to console gaming but I loved every step of the journey and than the series and developers for all of the good times.
    1. steelerfan's Avatar
      steelerfan -
      I'm with you, jaymo.

      I have invested a serious portion of half of my life playing Bill Walsh College Football/College Football USA/NCAA Football. Thank you to the developers for making that possible. Great memories.

      I am fortunate to not feel the huge loss that many of you do as I began to distance myself from the series beginning with NCAA 13. I'm one of those that has filled the void with other games.

      For me, I always spent alot of time with the NHL series (minus 13, the only one I've never owned) and that will continue.

      I also have found myself playing a TON of FIFA in the last few years and that will continue as well. I can already see that MLB The Show is going to fill my Summer months now, instead of being the occasional purchase it used to be.

      As for Madden, it will probably remain an occasional purchase. I haven't seen improvements in key areas (to me) that would change my mind. I'll keep an eye on it though.

      I definitely want to thank the NCAA devs who I got to spend time with in 2011. Particularly Ben Haumiller and Russ Kiniry. They are great guys and were very passionate about the series. I got to see, firsthand, how they tried to please an impossible-to-please community (particularly with the resources and restrictions they had). I have a great deal of respect for all of the devs, for that.

      I also need to mention Justin Dewiel. That is good guy, right there (even if he's a Clowns fan). He kept those trips entertaining and made sure we were taken care of. Thanks, Justin.

      I can't leave out the guys from the community that I had the chance to meet while I was there. All different walks of life, all with different strengths. But all passionate about the series and dedicated to helping make it better. It was really a cool dynamic and something I'll probably never experience again (in any facet of life). Good people and some now-lifelong friends.

      Of course, I also have to thank the community here. TGT has been (and hopefully will continue to be) a big part of my daily routine. Thanks to all of you here for making this such a strong community.

      Lastly (I feel like I'm giving an Oscar speech or something), Chris, Tommy and JB. You each know what you have meant to me as friends and as the leaders of this site. Thank you.

      One thing that I want to mention, when we're feeling sorry for ourselves about the hiatus/death of this series, is to ALWAYS keep in mind that, as fans, the end of the series is just an inconvenience. As Chris mentioned, it has been life altering for the people that worked on the game. Jobs lost, some forced to uproot their families, others perhaps still looking for work or being forced into a career change. Keep your individual loss in perspective, it could be worse.

      It was a hell of a ride and I don't regret a bit of it. If we ever see a college game again, I'm not sure it will be the same.
    1. GatorfanStovy's Avatar
      GatorfanStovy -
      Sad sad month. RIP NCAA series .. 14 was a pretty good game. I still play it from time to time. But when madden 15 comes out I'll be devoting my time to that on the xbox one.
    1. souljahbill's Avatar
      souljahbill -
      If there were a College Football 15, I would have a PS4 right now.

      I'm not getting Madden. I don't need a new game football fix. I'll just play NCAA '14 forever if I have to.
    1. JBHuskers's Avatar
      JBHuskers -
      Good stuff there Matt. Thank you!

      My NCAA experience goes back to around NCAA 02 or 03. I remember being just out of college and CDJ would host a yearly tournament with friends every year around August I believe. Those were always fun, just a bunch of guys goofing around the entire day trying to win a tournament.

      Then somewhere around 2006 to 2008, I would start to get more serious with getting involved on forums and making the game better instead of just playing it for fun. In 2009 I got my first chance to go to EA for feedback with Tiger 10 that year. I remember meeting Will Kinsler (Raczilla) for the first time, and not even five minutes into our conversation he asked if I wanted to come back next month for NCAA 10. My first experiences there at EA definitely opened up my eyes and drove me further to make sure I could help in the process of making these franchises better.

      The community managers and devs are some stand-up guys, and it has been a great pleasure working with them and seeing their passion for the games they create. I keep in touch with a lot of the guys on the various teams, most of which have moved on to other areas.

      Just about a year after my first experiences at EA, TGT was formed, and the community that has been built here has been a great one. While in May of 2010 when we started this site, NCAA was our focus, today we just focus on gaming in general and the community is still as strong as ever.

      Thankfully the servers are still on, and I continue to play in two OD's. Hopefully someday we can once again focus on a new NCAA game here on the site.
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      Unlike most people who loved Madden 05 or 2K5, I was disappointed with both. NCAA Football was not legally sold in Canada until 07 but I read great things about NCAA06 and imported the game to the great white North. I fell in love with the game. I loved the dynasty mode, recruiting and the gameplay. And as someone who followed the NFL much more it taught me about the conferences and traditions. Great memories!
    1. jaymo76's Avatar
      jaymo76 -
      Matt reminded me that I need to give a great big thank you to Chris, JB, and Tommy for their effort and commitment to this site and the NCAA games in general. I have been a contributor to this forum since May 2010 but before that I actively followed/participated at NCAA Strategies/Utopia and loved the podcasts that the guys would put together. This series actually brought me to the internet to find information. For me it all started at OS but all of the other sites I regularly posted at, I have long since stopped. The only forum I actively participate in anymore is TGT. A huge amount of credit needs to go to the founders. Yes, NCAA is dead but it's the awesome moderators and posters of this forum that allow it to go on.

      Four years ago I would not have pictured coming to TGT to discuss anything other than NCAA. However, under excellent leadership the site has flourished into a small, yet all encompassing community. Now I can get my video game fix, my political fix, my current events fix, etc. etc. etc. When my subscription comes due in the next little while I will re-up in a heart-beat because it's the great people in this forum that make this my #1 web destination.

      I've had an opportunity to interact with people here; play online games; participate in online leagues; watch/stream twitch with posters from this community, etc. Heck I have even won a free copy of Madden 11 AND got a free digital copy on NBA Live 14. It's the people on this forum that make my experience so enjoyable. It's weird because while I have never met any of you face-to-face, I feel like we are all (well almost all... friends and if I saw you in a bar I would buy you a drink. Now if we ever did all meet it would have to be Thursday at Steeler's bar. I need to see the legend in action!

      So again, a big thank you to Chris, JB and Tommy and their commitment to this wonderful forum!
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      Nicely put Jaymo!
    1. steelerfan's Avatar
      steelerfan -
      Well spoken, jaymo.
    1. CLW's Avatar
      CLW -
      It does seem "odd" for no NCAA game out now. Also with no real "hype" for Madden it just really seems off to me as I got into gaming b/c of sports games.

      Thankfully, over the past few years I gained an appreciation for other genres and have enjoyed them every bit as much (if not more) as I enjoyed the NCAA series.

      The series is dead unless/until the NCAA collapses and/or changes its mind and allows a company to pay players to use their "likeness" in the game.
    1. Rudy's Avatar
      Rudy -
      I will say that I expect Madden to be more fun on defence this year CLW and very similar on offence. I'll definitely pick it up.
    1. JBHuskers's Avatar
      JBHuskers -
      Appreciate it Jaymo!

      Posted With Tapatalk
    1. CLW's Avatar
      CLW -
      BTW - I know that song was used in WWE PPVs in the past but I cannot seem to find the full song anywhere. Is it a real/full song or is that 90 seconds it?
    1. souljahbill's Avatar
      souljahbill -
      Take everything Jaymo said and add more mushy stuff. That's my speech.
    1. AustinWolv's Avatar
      AustinWolv -
      Not sure if I'll end up playing Madden or not.

      Interesting write-up, thanks.

      Disappointed overall.
    1. cdj's Avatar
      cdj -
      Doesn't look like any info on what M15 is doing to reach out to NCAA gamers. Instead, the focus is on getting NCAA fans to move on and buy M15 regardless:

      Ouch.
    1. CLW's Avatar
      CLW -
      Quote Originally Posted by cdj View Post
      Doesn't look like any info on what M15 is doing to reach out to NCAA gamers. Instead, the focus is on getting NCAA fans to move on and buy M15 regardless:

      Ouch.
      Not to talk bad of the dead but part of the problem with the NCAA series was a fundamental understanding and or care about people like myself who may watch pro sports but are not that into them and are PASSIONATE about college athletics. The traditions and multiple different styles of play (in both football and basketball) in college simply make the college game more enjoyable than the professional counterparts.

      of course, this will too change when i start hearing/seeing sports center breaking news covering some 17-18 year old high school when he signs a multi-million dollar deal to play at a school.
    1. ram29jackson's Avatar
      ram29jackson -
      Quote Originally Posted by cdj View Post
      Doesn't look like any info on what M15 is doing to reach out to NCAA gamers. Instead, the focus is on getting NCAA fans to move on and buy M15 regardless:

      Ouch.
      who's the dumb ass that typed that ? most people buy/bought both games to begin with.
    1. AustinWolv's Avatar
      AustinWolv -
      most people buy/bought both games to begin with.
      Define most. I've known quite a few over the years that never bought Madden.
    1. steelerfan's Avatar
      steelerfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by ram29jackson View Post
      who's the dumb ass that typed that this ?
      You.