During the WSJ Tech Live conference, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said, “we would jump for the opportunity to get back in the college-game business,” if the NCAA can determine how to compensate players for using their digital likeness in video games.
This news comes weeks after the California Governor signed a new law that would allow college athletes to collect money off of their likenesses:
This is a big deal! Laws like this one are becoming a popular bipartisan topic across the country, and its not crazy to suggest a sea change is coming to how we view college athletes. This is a necessary step to seeing college sports video games again — as there’s no way any major developer will be taking on a project without the threat of legal issues.
However, the new law doesn’t take effect until 2023 in California — meaning there’s still quite a bit of time before athletes will be collecting paychecks and hiring agents (or worse that the law could be repealed).
Outside of the economic win for college athletes in ending the practice where they are unfairly limited in their ability to monetize their likeness — this is a big win for the potential future of college sports video games.
This is just one state though, and the NCAA itself will need to change its rules to accommodate such huge sea changes in the business model of college athletics. Optimistically, given the growing support for compensating college athletes, it seems like the potential legal hurdles could clear within the next couple of years — allowing for the return of NCAA Football, Basketball, etc. video games, to our TV screens.