Category Archives: Xbox 360

NCAA Ordered to Talk Settlement in O’Bannon Case; Eventual Resolution Will Determine Future of College Sports Video Games

Last week the judge in the Ed O’Bannon class-action case vs the NCAA ordered the two sides to enter settlement talks. Naturally questions have started to come in about whether this could accelerate a return of college football (and other sports) video games.

There is no longer a video game element to the case – although Sam Keller has continued to argue that he was not a part of the earlier settlement that got Electronic Arts and Collegiate Licensing Company out of it. A conclusion to litigation that would provide an outline for players to be paid (whether from share of broadcasting rights, personal endorsements, and/or merchandising) could open the possibility of video games back up. 

It’s very unlikely that a settlement will be reached which would mean the case proceeding through the lengthy process that with appeals could be five years away from a conclusion. There is no requirement that the sides attempt to reach one in good faith – just that they attend the required mediation. Even if a the two sides came to a settlement the specific terms would be critical.

EA could manage paying collegiate athletes $50-$100 a season. That’s essentially what they did with the $40 million settlement. With NCAA Football establishing a successful Ultimate Team mode they could afford additional costs especially when being able to promote real players officially in the game would likely increase sales of the product. Going much higher than that though, or having a system where players negotiate their own appearance fees, could make it more difficult to financially justify.

Earlier/Summary Below

The player likeness lawsuit against the NCAA, CLC, and Electronic Arts is the culmination of two high profile filings that were combined as led by Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon (and O’Bannon now heads it up). It alleges improper use of player likeness through various forms of merchandise and media including video games in which the parties in question conspired to avoid paying players for their rights. Some interesting details and claims regarding the case at hand were revealed when EA was reentered as a defendant after initially being dismissed.

EA originally won a previous case regarding player likeness with the courts ruling video games are artistic works rather than commercial speech and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court in 2011 established forms of media, producing expressive works of art, are not subject to judgments based on incorporating someone’s name or likeness. That dismissed case however, involving Ryan Hart, has resurfaced after an appeals court reversed a decision based on that argument.

Recent uncovered emails have shown that NCAA representatives were well aware that players in games were based off real-life players. At one point the NCAA and EA had nearly reached an agreement to have actual player names included in the products. The EA Locker / Roster Share feature was a fallback option. With momentum clearly on the plantiffs’ side NCAA reps have begun to publicly express concern over the future of collegiate sports. A former EA Sports producer admitted players in NCAA games were based off real athletes.

The discovery of Tim Tebow’s name being in NCAA Football 10 could throw another wrench into EA’s series of arguments. Depositions from former Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro and UConn basketball guard Tate George support the defendant’s reasoning for denying class action certification. The class action hearing resulted in the judge heavily questioning the legitimacy of a potential class and insisting a current athlete be involved. The judge required current athletes be added as plaintiffs for that party to have representation if the case is certified as class action. Six current college football players were added as plaintiffs in mid-July.

EA is now arguing to be dismissed as a defendant in the suit. A major defense for the company however was recently struck down by an appeals court.

This consolidated case in California if certified as class action would go to trial – barring a settlement – and ultimately be the determining factor of how the NCAA proceeds in the future handling broadcasting rights, merchandising, and video games. Should a negative result come down, which one analyst has pegged as being a potential loss of $1 billion for EA, it would likely not just end the NCAA Football series but also with it any realistic possibility of college sports games being made in the future. The trial now is slated to begin June 9, 2014. Appeals following a decision could extend the fight through 2020.

[RESOLUTION] EA and the CLC have settled the lawsuit. EA Sports will no longer produce a college football game. Getting out of the lawsuit only cost EA and CLC $40 million.

Advertisements

Lack of NFL License News Raises Questions

madden25broncospats

Almost two years have passed since the NFL extended the exclusive video game license with EA Sports. At the time the events made it obvious that the satisfied partner in the relationship was the NFL and not EA. It was evident that EA would later seek to secure much more favorable terms come negotiation time.

An extension to the exclusive license has still not been announced. In the past that news has come in February (2008 and 2011) each time two years in advance of expiration. Now though the current deal is set to expire next month and there have been no updates from either side on how things will proceed. 

EA had the leverage going into the process. The NFL has been happy with the partnership to date. The exclusive deal has brought in four times as much money each year as when multiple licensees paid in and they’ve been able to enact a level of control over the product that projects the image the league desires. The NFLPA loves the arrangement too because it brings in the most money possible. For the league to turn to a different company would mean likely no NFL game on the market for at least two years and that is an unthinkable scenario.

Unlike partnerships related to apparel, uniforms, beverage, and the like there is a turnaround time and a greater sense of uncertainty that would come with switching video game developers. Though now they are expected to extended NFL Sunday Ticket with DirecTV at one point they strongly considered going elsewhere with it when DirecTV questioned its value. That is similar to how EA Sports has felt as development costs increased coupled with shrinking sales. The common thread however with how the NFL handles its brand is exclusivity. It would go against their M.O. to open up a license to multiple parties.

That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. EA Sports has no reason to pay a premium for the exclusive when the threat of competition is thin even if other companies had the opportunity to buy in. The investment for a new company to begin from scratch would be enormous beyond whatever enter fee there would be for the license and then there would only be the potential of splitting the pie with EA who has one of the strongest brands in gaming history with Madden. Still it’s a more realistic scenario than new serious competitors entering the field in other sports.

EA Sports continues to develop Madden NFL 15 and there have been no indications that the license is in question for this year. At the very least they seem to have secured a limited extension yet there has been no official announcement of details. That they have avoided addressing the topic suggests there very well could be a change to the status quo and the news on that being held until the completion of the NFL season and the expiration of the previous deal. Neither side gains from the perception of uncertainty so if an agreement for extending the exclusive has been reached there would have been no reason to hold an announcement back.

No one should get their hopes up too high of a change to the way the NFL license is handled and who will be involved developing officially licensed games. However there is reason to believe that a change of sorts is plausible. February or early March would be the time when details will have to be shared regarding any parties attached through a deal.

Madden NFL 25 Patch Details

Tracking behind the support of previous years, and facing criticism for that as the focus shifts towards the next-gen debut, EA Sports today confirmed a patch release is nearing for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Madden NFL 25. Details on what to expect have been provided and include some fixes to gameplay, Ultimate Team, and Connected Franchise – unfortunately however it doesn’t appear to be nearly as extensive an update as those completed for past games. The patch was released 10/24 for both 360 and PS3.

GENERAL UPDATES
– Improved stability in all game modes.
– Fixed an issue with Gameface, which made eyes render gray.

GAMEPLAY
– Tuned in-game injuries which were occurring too frequently.
– Tuned pull blocking in various scenarios on the offensive line.
– Tuned down broken tackles when using the Truck Stick.
– Fixed an issue with toss/sweep plays when game speed was set to Slow

MADDEN ULTIMATE TEAM
– Fixed an issue with Solo Challenges awarding players a win without finishing the game.
– Fixed an issue where offline users that earned a Gold in a Skill Tutorial would not receive the content in Madden Ultimate Team.

CONNECTED FRANCHISE
– Fixed an issue where some players from an Imported Draft Class would not have facemasks.
– Tuned ratings for imported draft classes (Coming in too low compared to NCAA 14 ratings).
– Fixed an issue with accelerated clock in CFM Head-to-Head games.
– Fixed an exploit where users could make trades outside of Week 8 from the web.
– Fixed an issue where the same draft storylines would appear in consecutive seasons.
– Fixed an issue where the Vikings stadium overlay would show unrealistically low temperatures and heavy snow during the preseason.
– Fixed an issue where toggles for Heat Seeker, Switch Assist, and Ball Hawk would be OFF in game even though they were ON in league settings.

PRESENTATION
– Reinstated touchdown celebrations in all online game modes.
– Improved logic used to select GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Game.

TSG Season 2 Gameplay, Week 10: Cleveland Browns vs Oakland Raiders

This is Season 2, Week 10 Gameplay between the Cleveland Browns (DawgPoundx23) vs Oakland Raiders (BoRaiders). This matchup features the up and coming Raiders who have been surging as of late behind Terrelle Pryor & the steady Browns behind rookie QB Johnny Manziel. Check out the video, leave a comment, also check out the rest of BoRaider’s videos here.

Season 2, Week 3 Gameplay: Oakland Raiders @ Detroit Lions

Gameplay footage of the Oakland Raiders (BoRaiders) vs the Detroit Lions (Rio the king638) from Season 2, Week 3. Recorded & edited by BoRaiders, he also live streamed this game on his Twitch.tv account found here. Also be sure to check out the rest of his videos here, make sure you comment, like & subscribe to him for all his hard work! Enjoy the game!