If Electronic Arts' (EA) Madden video game series is evident, it's a proven fact that video games based on the NFL are consistently successful. While some have been received better than others for one reason or another, they still earned both critical and commercial success. It's no wonder that they continue to come out year after year.
In addition to Madden, EA also had a video game series that follow football teams from the NCAA. While it was successful in its own right, it wasn't without controversy. That's because NCAA athletes aren't paid, unlike their professional counterparts. Using an unpaid athlete's likeness for a video game that will make others money didn't sit well with a lot of people. Back in 2013, EA released its last NCAA Football game, NCAA Football 14, and they also made NCAA Basketball games until 2009.
But thanks to a new California law that will go into effect by 2023, EA has now said that they "would jump for the opportunity" to resume making video games based on NCAA sports. This was said by EA's CEO Andrew Wilson during the Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference earlier this week. Considering the fact that multiple lawsuits filed on the basis of EA using NCAA athletes' likeness were the reason why their NCCA Football series stopped, this statement isn't surprising at all.
The law in question is known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, or California Senate Bill 206. This former bill was signed into law by California's Governor Gavin Newsom (D) back in late September of this year. The Fair Pay to Play Act won't actually provide student-athletes to be paid directly by the school they're attending. But they will be able to hire a representative for themselves (i.e. agents), as well as profit off of their name, image, and likeness through various avenues such as endorsement deals. Since it's a state law, it will only apply to student-athletes who attend college or university in California. However, other states are trying to push similar laws despite the NCAA continuing to be against it.
While EA is excited to resume making NCAA sports video games, it's clear that student-athletes are happy to see payment for the sports they play. Here's hoping that more states can pass similar laws so that more students see payment for all the hard work they put into their respective sports!