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Best Sports Game Trend in 2021: College Sports Coming Back

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EA Sports College Football

Best Sports Game Trend in 2021: College Sports Coming Back

When it comes to landslide victories with our awards, this is the one that had the most one-sided vote of all of them. The Best Sports Game Trend in 2021 is the fact that college sports are finally on the horizon once more.

It’s been eight years since the last college football game (NCAA Football 14), and even longer since the last hoops game (NCAA Basketball 10). While modders have kept the football series afloat over recent years, that feeling of what could have been picks at those of us who love the tradition and pageantry that only college athletics can offer. With the relaxing of amateur laws, the NCAA opened up the door for EA to explore the option of restarting its dormant college football franchise, which will return now as EA Sports College Football.

Best Sports Game Trend In 2021: College Sports Are Coming Back

Why is this important? Well, for starters it opens up the ability for college athletes to profit off their names, images, and likenesses. This core issue was key to EA stopping its collegiate sports games back in 2013. The other issue was schools pulled out because they were afraid of lawsuits. Both issues are not 100 percent solved, but most everyone is back at the table.

And it’s great to see because the reason why many of us stumbled across Operation Sports in the first place was to look for college rosters. But how’s this new version of college video games going to look? Look, we all knew QB #15 for the Florida Gators who just so happened to be left-handed was Tim Tebow. This time around presumably he will just be Tim Tebow without the added effort on our end.

Launch Timing?

As impatient “we want it now” consumers, we’re all wondering when college sports will be coming back. When it comes to EA Sports College Football there is not a firm date in place as of yet.

That’s not too surprising, and by not committing to a timeline it gives EA some flexibility in case there are delays or any legal issues that pop up. In the past, NCAA Football released in July, typically a month before Madden, which was just enough time for roster makers to make adjustments based off Spring practices and get the rosters as accurate as possible before the actual college football season kicked off in late August/early September.

If we’re being realistic and looking at what’s out there in the public sphere, all signs point towards Summer 2023 as the first time we’ll get our hands on a new college football game. When that time comes, hopefully the ability to export draft classes is still an option. And when that time comes, hopefully we’ve heard about other college sports coming back by then.

Where We Left Off

After all, it’s been over eight years and two console generations since collegiate games have been released. Many of us kept our PS3 or Xbox 360 just for the sake of playing NCAA Football 14. Even now, NCAA Football 14 fetches upwards of $120 on sites such as eBay.

But we didn’t just lose college football. It was the last to go, but it seemed like either profits were down or people were spooked by the coming lawsuits well before the final blow came down. We lost College Hoops 2K years prior (not profitable enough allegedly being the big issue), and EA gave up on March Madness a couple years later.

We have to hope and believe the start of this trend — and why it ran away with the award so easily — means more college sports will come back. We talk about the downturn for franchise modes in the past generation or two, but a lot of it probably does tie back into the loss of college sports. College games are the easiest one-to-one “franchise” mode around. Recruiting is always a big deal, and how college sports are designed in general makes it easier for developers to figure out easier ways to draw us in to play multiple years. College Hoops 2K8 and NCAA Football 14 remain some of the best versions of a franchise mode of all-time in part for that reason.

In short, in a down year for “normal” sports games, it’s at least been great to know more options are on the horizon. We have at least one college video game that’s coming back, we know we’ve got multiple golf games coming now down the line, and it really does feel like something baseball-related will happen at some point as well. Whether we get college basketball or college baseball again in the next couple years is still anyone’s guess, but we’re going to hope for the best.

Community Vote – Best Sports Game Trend In 2021

  1. Smell of college sports in the air
  2. Big publishers hinting at returning to certain sports (or outright announcing returns)
  3. Racing game Golden Age
12 Comments

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  1. BrettS22
    Thinking about the marketability of a new college basketball game: would that sell more than NHL?

    I don't think so. NHL sells well on the international market, but a college basketball game wouldn't.
    The old NCAA games weren't even officially released outside the US/North America.
    They weren’t licensed or released no but loads and loads of us imported them and loved them. For a game you couldn’t buy… the NCAA games were popular…… I’m in England and imported the 2k and EA college games for years
    BrettS22
    Thinking about the marketability of a new college basketball game: would that sell more than NHL?

    I think the first version would have a good chance just due to that extended break, but probably NHL in the longer term worldwide. Still, a college game maybe doesn't have to abide by every rule of a normal "pro" game in terms of release structure and pricing so who knows how some college games could look.
    I can't image that there are many people outside of North America who give a darn about US college basketball. It maybe something of a novelty to some, but it's arrogant to assume that the world has been eagerly waiting a new college basketball title. 
    I understand that college basketball is a niche sport, but personally, NBA2K with college skins/atmosphere and an NCAA tournament would be much more interesting to me than almost any other game (of any type) that could be released.  But if the finances don't make sense, I guess you can't argue with that.
    I have a feeling they’ll make it a piece of NBA 2k at some point but I truly believe if the game is integrated with NBA 2K it will massively help with sales. For example, a my player that starts in high school and goes through the full college experience and then is drafted in the NBA game. Or a coach that coaches in colleges and is given the chance to get an nba job in that game. Instead of $140 for both, do a package deal to allow people to have those games play together
    I wouldn't put that past 2k. They like to go big at times and that would be going big. Maybe they'll even put women's college basketball in the game and let your coaching career go in many different directions.
    All I know is I prefer college football over basketball significantly, but no sports game tops College Hoops 2k8. It's the GOAT sports game relative to its time. Obviously now its age, but at release and for years it was an amazing game that just about no sports game has rivaled.
    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    Of the options, I voted for college sports for obvious reasons.
    I think a shout-out should go to the growing support of user-generated content and modding support in sports games. Specific to this article, the excellent College Football Revamped mod project absolutely should have been mentioned, I'm not really sure how it got overlooked. It is a love letter to a nine-year old game in NCAA Football 14 which, while obviously showing its age, is still a blast to play with its graphics update and its Dynasty mode still holds up.
    UGC support is popping up all over the place in the sports game landscape now though; off the top of my head, Forza Horizon, Riders Republic, Hot Wheels Unleashed, Legend Bowl, MLB The Show, The Golf Club PGA Tour, and NBA 2K all officially offer some degree of personalization beyond "Create a player" or "choose your card game mode cards". Even EA has finally begun dipping its toe in the water with some tepid customization options in FIFA.
    The presence of these customization features should be celebrated loudly as they continue to become more ubiquitous, and sports games which don't offer much in the way of user creative expression (a sharply disappointed glare at Madden NFL goes here) should be heavily criticized for lack of this functionality going forward.
    canes21
    I wouldn't put that past 2k. They like to go big at times and that would be going big. Maybe they'll even put women's college basketball in the game and let your coaching career go in many different directions.
    All I know is I prefer college football over basketball significantly, but no sports game tops College Hoops 2k8. It's the GOAT sports game relative to its time. Obviously now its age, but at release and for years it was an amazing game that just about no sports game has rivaled.
    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

    I couldn't agree more. I use to look at that game and just imagine what if a college football game was that deep? I mean you could play/watch every single game during the AAU circuit which meant you could put eyes on any recruit you wanted to...not to mention you could basically start scouting/recruiting a player beginning his freshman year of high school. Imagine that being in a college football game. The All-American Camps, Elite 11 for QB's etc and being able to recruit players as freshmen? Then the Coaches Carousel was done very well. I still have it and will pop it in from time to time around the time of March Madness.
    I really hope we get another College Basketball game.

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