• Extra Points
  • Posts
  • Here's one reason you may not see college sports video games released on PC

Here's one reason you may not see college sports video games released on PC

And no, it isn't because companies are lazy

Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.

A quick housekeeping note before I get to today’s newsletter. I’m hitting the road!

Next week, I am flying to Orlando for Serious Professional Journalism reasons. I’ll be in town from Tuesday-Friday morning. If you’re around and would like to say hello, drop me an email! I should have some free evenings.

Shortly after that, my plan is to be in Las Vegas for NACDA. I know I’ll be in town on Sunday, June 9-Tuesday, June 11. I’ll have a little more info about my NACDA plans once we get closer to the event, but I think I’ll be helping with one of the NIL panels, and will be trying to chat with all sorts of ADs and industry personnel. I’d also love to say hello if you’re around!

I’m still working to nail down other travel plans before the start of Fall. I know I’ll be spending some time in Salt Lake in July (for a family vacation…but also probably a campus visit or two) and perhaps a conference media day or two in late July. Hopefully, I see you all on the road at least sometime this year!

This newsletter is also brought to you by Teamworks:

Teamworks, the leading technology provider for collegiate athletic departments, will launch Teamworks Wallet this summer. Teamworks Wallet (“Wallet”) is a digital banking solution built specifically for athletic departments and student-athletes. Trusted by over 700 NCAA institutions and 1,000 elite sports organizations worldwide, Teamworks is uniquely positioned to deliver a centralized destination for student-athletes to receive, store, and spend their money.

At launch, Wallet will integrate with Teamworks Influencer to streamline NIL payments for student-athletes. This integration allows collectives, businesses, and donors to quickly transfer funds directly into student-athletes' Wallet accounts without incurring any fees from Teamworks.

Right now, I’m trying to pick at a bunch of different stories, from the fallout of a potential settlement in House, to even more mid-major conference realignment, to a more clear-eyed examination of the ACC legal battles, to a few oddball sports business stories.

But the internet just wants to talk about the video game. So we can talk about the video game for a little bit more.

Way back in April, I reported that the targeted release date for EA Sports College Football would be July 19, and that the company was targeting May 16 for an additional “full reveal.” I also reported that there would be three cover athletes, who play different positions, from different power conferences.

And yesterday, on May 16, EA Sports officially announced the covers for the video game, featuring Texas QB Quinn Ewers, Colorado WR/DB Travis Hunter, and Michigan RB Donovan Edwards.

It wasn’t the full reveal, but that was pretty close, I think. EA plans to release another trailer today (I’m told that, sadly, it features Mr. Edwards running wild on my Ohio State Buckeyes), with more information to come next week.

I’m sure half of the internet will be happy to break down these various trailers, and I plan to have a lot more specific information about the video game in the coming two weeks or so. But since my DMs are 95% about this stuff, I did want to quickly address one question I have been getting a LOT.

The game’s announcement says EA CFB 25 is coming to PlayStation and Xbox.

So why isn’t this thing coming to PC?

So let me preface this statement with this. No member of the EA Sports communication team has, either in a prepared statement or on deep background, confirmed any explanation for why the game is not being released on PC at launch. I have asked, and I will likely continue to ask, but officially, I have no response. If that changes, I will update this post.

Unofficially, I’ve talked to a few people at EA, as well as industry professionals at other studios or with companies familiar with the sports video game industry…and every conversation came back to a single core fact.

The juice, right now, isn’t worth the squeeze.

Industry sources tell me that porting any completed game from PS5/Xbox to PC, or Switch, or any other platform, is not nearly as easy or simple as changing a file extension and clicking a few buttons. PC, in particular, is a challenging environment to port because it requires a different level of testing and continuous support. Developers need to understand how different hardware configurations or non-game software updates could impact memory usage or system performance, in a way that is more streamlined on console releases.

For titles that have massive audiences, or project to have audiences that are disproportionately concentrated in the PC gaming world, that’s a pain in the butt, but very doable. But multiple professionals have told me this isn’t actually the case for AAA sporting titles, because the sports game population, across multiple titles, is overwhelmingly centered on consoles. Specifically, multiple people familiar with EA’s offerings suggested that north of 80%, and for some titles, north of 90% of the game’s player base, plays on consoles.

So we’re already dealing with a comparably smaller user base. But I’m also told that the substantial majority of those PC users are not based in North America. For a sports title with global appeal, like NBA2K or EA Sports FC, that’s not a big deal. But a college football game is unlikely to be appealing to many gamers in places like China, South Korea or Brazil….countries where almost nobody follows college football. PC gaming is often more popular in countries where import taxes can make owning video game systems substantially more expensive…but that doesn’t describe the US market.

Throw in the fact that publishers also need to be concerned about how the PC mod community could cause problems with college and athlete intellectual property licenses, (not to mention cheating in online play) and you have all sorts of compelling reasons for a major sports publisher to pass on a PC port.

That doesn’t mean the game will be a console-exclusive forever. As EA (and other companies) get better market data on the college sports video game market, they could very well decide to create games for other platforms. It’s possible that PC (and international growth) in other EA Sports (or other publisher) titles could eventually lessen the technical and resource costs for PC support.

But in the meantime, if you want to play an AAA-caliber college sports video game…you need to buy a modern PlayStation or Xbox.

What else did I write on Extra Points this week? What else is going on, besides doing a zillion podcasts and video hits about this dang video game?

Glad you asked!

That’s a lot! You can get everything I write, AND have access to ADS4000, AND get a free copy of my What If book, just by upgrading to a paid subscription here.

Thanks for sticking with Extra Points for another week. I’ll see you on the internet.

This newsletter is brought to you in part by GenTeal Apparel

If you want to look great on the course, the lake or happy hour, check out the new additions at GenTeal Apparel. Save some scratch on your next polo shirt, button-up, quarter zip and more by using promocode EXTRAPOINTS15.

Join the conversation

or to participate.