Keller Sues EA Sports Over Images (AP/ESPN)

OMAHA, Neb. — Former Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller is suing EA Sports and the NCAA, saying the video-game maker wrongly uses the names and likenesses of athletes and the NCAA sanctions the practice.

Keller’s lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco as a class-action, suing on behalf of all college athletes depicted in the NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball video games made by EA Sports. Continue reading Keller Sues EA Sports Over Images (AP/ESPN)


Is The NFL Lockout The Best Thing To Happen To Madden?

Since it’s shaky arrival on next generation consoles (ex: Madden ’06 – PS3 version gang tackling & 360 owners didn’t get it ’till following year (yet feature never has felt right with no consecutive hit tackling), suction blocking/tackling amongst many other things, despite these drawbacks the EA Sports Madden Franchise has grown to new heights and value. With its stranglehold on the football market owning the exclusive rights to the NFL & NLFPA licenses many fans accuse EA of resting on it laurels and rightly so. Continue reading Is The NFL Lockout The Best Thing To Happen To Madden?

NCAA Football 12 Demo Details (June Release)

EA Sports held a developer chat yesterday and The Gaming Tailgate noted some of the news to come out of that with discussion having taken place regarding the upcoming demo for NCAA Football 12. There will be two separate matchups to choose from and five Nike Pro Combat uniforms available to unlock through play. The structure would be similar to last year which instead had four matchups and offered all of the Pro Combat uniforms.

The demo for the two previous iterations arrived mid-June and last year it was the day before E3 opened. This time around the convention takes place earlier in the month with the demo said to follow. Tuesday June 14th or 21st would then be the two dates most likely for the demo to fall on.

Madden 12 Superstar Mode Details

IGN has posted the first news relating to Superstar mode in Madden NFL 12. Players will start with a 60 overall rating and have to work up from that using games and practices to earn points and distribute to ratings categories at the user’s discretion. Tendencies and “player roles” have also been added to provide another level of customization to how an individual plays on the field.

Essentially it sounds just like the typical career mode without anything revolutionary being introduced but at least some work has been put into Superstar after a few years of ignoring it. My concern remains that certain positions will have a significant advantage on gaining attribute points which has always been the case. As someone who likes to play as a corner practices have proven to be complete time wasters and the CPU had to be baited to even throw to my side of the field in games. There has to be better recognition of playing well beyond simple statistics to make those positions more rewarding.

NCAA Football 12 Online Dynasty Adds Super Sim Coaching and Web Advancement

Thanks to a screen grab of a loading screen in NCAA Football 12 posted over at The Gaming Tailgate we now know the first few new features for Online Dynasty. The web integration for the mode, which last year introduced the ability to recruit and change depth charts, will now allow for commissioners to advance weeks. Users will also be able to call games against the CPU with ‘Super Sim’ providing a new element of strategy for those who would rather manage than play.

As a commissioner firing up the game with the sole purpose of advancing weeks has represented arguably the most irritating task of running an OD so making that possible to complete right from the web will be a welcome addition. What isn’t completely clear is whether “calling your games against the CPU” is exclusively a web feature or if that is an expansion of the ‘Super Sim’ feature in general. The way it is phrased it could be interpreted either way.

Tiger Woods 12 Top Sports Game in April

Having topped the sales charts amongst sports games in four of its first six months of release NBA 2K11 was unseated in April by Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters. The release of Tiger Woods 12 in late March meant the first five days of sales were recorded in that month’s NPD where it did not place in the top 10 despite performing well. It clearly got a boost from The Masters (April 7th-10th) along with positive word of mouth and mainstream exposure that had been absent the last few years.

Despite the uptick in sales it remains to be seen whether Tiger Woods will continue as the endorser for the franchise (he was already on shaky ground due to his tarnished image and poor performance with things now getting worse health wise) and whether the surge that came from introducing Augusta National can be sustained or will result in a fall-off next year. Remember that first month sales of Tiger Woods 11 fell 68% from Tiger 10 due in large part to his indiscretions so the opportunity was there to bounce back by recapturing those who had abandoned the series or reaching new consumers by marketing The Masters. The 360/PS3 versions experienced the significant gains while the Wii version – hit even harder last year than the others – remained way down from when it was the highest selling version.

While Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters finished in 5th for the month NBA 2K11 still performed more than admirably considering it was in its seventh month of release by placing 10th. Knocked out of the top ten from March was MLB 11: The Show and Fight Night Champion. While Fight Night has been a disappointment The Show was due to pull back a bit after growing so much the previous two years and it is down considerably in sales vs MLB 10.

Trial Set in NCAA Player Likeness Lawsuit

Though EA Sports was recently dismissed as a defendant from the player likeness lawsuit originally filed in 2009 it will proceed against the NCAA and Collegiate Licensing Company after surviving another attempt to dismiss by those two parties. The outcome could have significant influence on NCAA licensed sports games in the future so the case remains of high interest.

It will be a long wait however for that decision to come down as the trial has been set to begin on March 11th 2013. The lawsuit (originally filed as two separate suits but later combined) has been represented by former players Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon. They argue that the parties in question violated anti-trust law by conspiring to profit off the use of player likenesses without proper compensation. The lawsuit is not solely related to video games but also includes areas such as television broadcast contracts and merchandise sales.

Madden 12 Franchise Mode Details

IGN has released the first details on Franchise mode in Madden NFL 12 which will introduce new elements in Dynamic Player Performance and Player Roles. Unfortunately as a whole it appears nothing like the complete overhaul of the mode that was said would take more than a development cycle to complete, which was the reasoning given why Madden 11′s franchise was left practically untouched.

What Dynamic Player Performance will deliver is variation in player ratings from week to week that will be based on performance and consistency along with hot and cold streaks. There are over 20 “Roles” to define different types of players. Sadly they don’t factor into the Draft which is a disappointing exclusion. Real life has prospects being evaluated on personality and what they bring to the team rather than just personal stats or measurables….well other than the Raiders that is. Even if they were more general (high character, high motor, injury prone, project) they would have made the Draft more realistic.

While these two new Franchise features look to be valuable the expectations – set by EA Sports last year – that the mode would be reinvented doesn’t appear to have been met. With more news coming next week what do you think of the first Franchise related details for Madden 12?

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