Updated 2:56 p.m. Pacific time.
EA Sports won’t release a college football game in 2014, ending a run of yearly releases that started back in 1994 with Bill Walsh College Football for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The announcement comes from an open letter on EA’s site by EA Sports football GM Cam Weber.
“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,” states Weber. “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.”
He goes on to blame legal issues between the NCAA and student-athletes, like former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, who lead a lawsuit against the NCAA for using his and other player’s likenesses in EA Sports games without providing proper compensation. Issues like this led to the NCAA’s decision to not renew its licensing contract with EA Sports.
Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company reached a settlement on the antitrust suit today. They also settled a right-of-publicity suit filed by former Arizona State University and University of Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller.
Even after the NCAA’s departure, EA Sports claimed in July that it would still produce a college football game for 2014 without using official NCAA names and marks. However, Weber states in his open letter that the ongoing legal issues put them in a place where they didn’t think they could deliver an authentic sports experience.
Weber closed his letter with a promise to continue to support NCAA Football 14, EA Sports’ latest and potentially last college football game.