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EA Sports College Football *will* include player likenesses. Here's what else I've learned

on FCS teams, gameplay focuses, group license drama and more:

Good evening, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years writing about the development of EA Sports College Football, currently scheduled to release next summer. I’ve written about the audio assets that have been submitted, the initial project proposals, licensing rates, and more. But after the announcement last November that the game’s release has been pushed back to 2024, concrete updates about the project have been scarce.

That changed on Wednesday morning. ESPN reported that EA Sports and OneTeam Partners have come to an agreement to facilitate a group licensing plan, paying athletes to appear in the game. I, along with several other outlets, can confirm that report.

That this arrangement exists is not a surprise to me or anybody who has been following this story for a while…paying the athletes for their likeness has always been EA’s intention. While the process has taken longer than EA initially expected, virtually everybody in the college sports licensing industry expected an arrangement to eventually happen. The delay in securing a licensing arrangement was not the reason EA Sports pushed back the release date of the game to 2024. Multiple industry sources, inside and outside of EA, have consistently told me that.

The exact timing of the announcement was a bit of a surprise. Here’s what I know about the deal, along with a few other development notes and gameplay notes that I’ve picked up over the last few months:

Why was this timing a surprise?

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