02:21 PM - January 7, 2015 by MMChrisS
It appears EA's other football game will find itself in hot water soon over the exact same issues that NCAA Football was plagued by: the use of likenesses of former players which are a little to close to reality.
In the lawsuit, former NFL players said the Madden NFL game had players with their exact characteristics, but EA had not obtained their permission to use the figures.
"We hold EA's use of the former players' likenesses is not incidental because it is central to EA's main commercial purpose - to create a realistic virtual simulation of football games involving current and former NFL teams," Circuit Judge Raymond Fisher wrote in the opinion.
"Like NCAA Football, Madden NFL replicates players' physical characteristics and allows users to manipulate them in the performance of the same activity for which they are known in real life - playing football for an NFL team," Fisher wrote in his commentary.
On a tangible level, this suit doesn't pose much of a risk to the Madden brand as a whole, as unlike NCAA Football, the Madden brand is both bigger and not tied to the use of likenesses in this manner to succeed. So whatever comes out of this will be a payday for players used in the game, but will not affect business as usual from going on.
We'll be following the case though, as it could reaffirm the time-old tradition of using likenesses without the names as something which is no longer a viable option. This would all but eliminate the use of non-licensed historical teams in sports games.