Fireside Chat: NCAA's Future

In wake of the NCAA’s recent decision to end relations with EA, Jeff and I talk about what’s next for the gaming franchise.

The NCAA’s decision to part ways with EA does not leave them high and dry as they still are allowed to create a college football game complete with the teams, conferences, etc., just without mention of the NCAA, it’s logo’s or any direct reference to it.

Although this won’t destroy EA’s collegiate juggernaut, it gives the NCAA the option to license another developer the rights. Our conversation all started with Jeff Smith’s question of “What studio should get the rights next?”

Henry Hollaway: Man, that’s tough. I’d have to say ultimately EA have sports titles almost in a monopoly. Think of a studio that’s released a sports title in the past 3 years that’s as good as an EA one, if at all.

Jeff Smith: Other than Sony’s MLB team.

Henry Hollaway: Yeah, Sony San Diego. I mean, EA has invested so much money it would be tough for a studio to come out with the same sort of realism that has already been brought to the table, let alone any sort of upgrade besides graphically

Jeff Smith: Totally. That’s not to say some studios wouldn’t love the chance.

Henry: Of course, there would just be some growing pains there. I understand that there have been some problems with EA and courts with player-likeness suits, but if the NCAA wants their brand out there I feel that EA is there best chance.

Jeff: Activision would love it. Yearly franchise, big money, and I’m sure they have a studio or two that could pump out a game every 12 months.

Henry: Haha, they would and that would be insane, both Call of Duty and NCAA? Oh lordy. It would be great to see another studio try their hand at a football game, the last non-exclusive title we saw came from Sega by way of the 2K series, which was giving EA a run for their money before they gained the rights.

2K's inevitable reign was halted by exclusivity,
2K Sport’s inevitable reign was halted by exclusivity.

Jeff: They tried an annualized NASCAR series and it doesn’t look like they want to keep it going.

Editor’s note: That NASCAR game was awful.

Henry: Well NASCAR isn’t a huge seller for gaming, when racing games work they support a console, when they don’t they really don’t.

Jeff: We know Activision wouldn’t mind a sports game.

Henry: If Activision got their hands on NCAA that would be insane, but as much as I’d like to see what they could do, I’d like to see a larger studio come out with subsidiary just for the franchise. Someone that we wouldn’t expect, because I feel that these games just need a big breath of fresh air and only an entirely new studio could give that, not a studio that’s just making the last game again because they don’t want to risk the brand too much.

Jeff: Yeah, I see what you mean.

Henry: Maybe 2K makes a football return. In any case, like I said before, I don’t believe rights will fall to one studio. We very well could end up back in the days where there are multiple sports titles for the same sport by different developers.

Jeff: That would be pretty nice for the consumer. The landscape has changed heavily. It would be interesting to see how different multiple sports games would be today.

Henry: Heaven knows it wasn’t hurting the genres progress, seeing as there was actually competition and EA has basically released the same game with minor tweaks over the years. It would be nice to get back to the point of having real NFL teams in NFL Blitz again haha. And seeing developers play off of each others ideas, I loved knowing that they were trying to one-up each other every year with innovation.


Nostalgia: Bears versus literal Broncos.
Nostalgia: Bears vs. literal Broncos.

What do you think? Should the rights be given to someone like Activision or should they be given to someone new? Maybe you think that the rights shouldn’t be given to anyone at all and that competition should reign once again! Either way let us know your opinion in the comments below.

Editors note: It’s expected that EA Sports will release a college football game next year, as they still have the rights for the teams. 

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