Earlier this year, Electronic Arts made an announcement heard far and wide around the sports gaming world when they revealed that EA Sports would once again develop college football video games. Nearly a year later, the release of EA Sports' first college football game after a long absence is not yet imminent -- but still happening all the same.
According to Brandon Marcello of 247Sports, EA Sports is aiming to launch its new college football game in the summer of 2023. Cory Moss, CEO of Collegiate Licensing Co., confirmed that a summer 2023 launch was the "hope" for a prospective title. The summer 2023 date is consistent with an EA Sports/CLC document shared by Matt Brown of Extra Points in June, which included a four-year license proposal to FBS schools beginning July 1, 2023.
In spite of 247Sports' report, EA Sports released a statement later Thursday clarifying that no decision had been made as to when the game would be released.
"We have not announced a specific release timeframe for the upcoming EA SPORTS College Football title," read a tweet by the company. "We'll confirm launch timing at a later date.
After a successful run for the NCAA Football series, EA Sports discontinued their line of college football games following the 2014 edition due to legal issues over athlete likeness. At the time, courts ruled that EA Sports had used athlete likeness without permission or compensation, leading to Electronic Arts having to pay out $60 million in settlements to athletes who appeared in the NCAA Football games from 2003 to 2014.
Despite the legal issues that kept them from producing college football-branded games, the company's interest in resuming the series had been long-standing prior to February's announcement.
"We loved making college football games," Ben Haumiller, NCAA Football executive producer, told 247Sports in 2019. "If the opportunity ever presented itself we'd be very interested in potentially getting back into that space."
EA Sports' re-entry into college football games has been aided by the NIL movement in college athletics, which has given athletes an avenue to profit from their name and likeness. Earlier this year, EA Sports confirmed that they were exploring the possibility of including players in their new college football game.