April 11, 2005 - Electronic Arts announced today it has entered a six-year exclusive agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), which represents the NCAA, to create and publish college football games. The agreement covers all consoles and handheld systems.
EA now has exclusive use of college football teams, stadiums, and schools in videogames, and will inaugurate the new licensing deal with NCAA Football 2006, expected this summer.
"Our NCAA football franchise is a key element in our EA Sports brand lineup and we are pleased to have secured the NCAA license," said Jeff Karp at Electronic Arts. "There is an unrivaled loyalty our fans have for the game, and this agreement with CLC allows EA to continue to deliver to fans the best, most innovative college football experience now and for years to come."
"When we began our analysis of the videogame landscape, it became apparent that EA Sports was best positioned from a marketing and development perspective to maximize the sales opportunities for college football," said Pat Battle, CEO of The Collegiate Licensing Company.
The NCAA deal echoes EA's long-term exclusive licensing arrangement with the NFL, which shocked competitors and gamers alike when the company announced it last year. While of late Electronic Arts has effectively been the only producer of NCAA football titles, the new exclusive does block competitors, such as Take-Two, from entering the college football market. [IGN.com] --- Somewhat expected news. Take-two didn't do a college football game since 2K3 and this was pretty much a case of EA wanting it to stay that way. The list is now NFL, AFL, NCAA...I wouldn't be suprised if the CFL is next.
I don't know how much of this is a result of the exclusive rights to NCAA, but I just read a preview for NCAA 2006 and for the first time, instead of excitement and interest, I'm actually concerned.
The big mode they are pushing is "Race for the Heisman". Apparently you will take control of an incoming freshman, do drillls to impress the coaches, and then take the field as an individual (you will automatically be a starter). As you pad your stats, you will get rewards such a better dorm room (kind of sounds like "The Crib" on ESPN's game) etc., etc. It's like some sort of storyline mode. Anyway, I have no interest in this kind of mode.
The thing that really concerns me is that apparently you automatically enter this mode when you start up the game. Of course, you can escape out of it and go into the other modes. But the way it is set up sure makes look like that the other modes are an afterthought this year, not the main focus. From my perspective, I buy the game for the Dynasty mode. And while it's good, there is still more work that can be done to add depth to the recruiting elements, budgeting, etc. and still more tweaks that can be made to the actual gameplay itself. But I think they may just update the rosters in this mode, since it appears they are making "Race for the Heisman" the main focus and selling point of the game.
Anyway, one certain result of the exclusive agreement is that there will be no alternative (which may have focused on team football instead of individual player football!). I also will actually be awaiting the reviews for this game instead of going out and purchasing it as soon as it comes out as I usually do.
The Bored are already here. Idle hands are the devil's workshop. And no... we won't kill dolphins. But koalas are fair game.