EA’s new NCAA College Football video game is already outdated

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The two groups most often on the losing side of college athletics’ neverending lust for revenue are its unpaid workforce and the fans. The latest example is the alleged payout system, or lack thereof, for those who opt-in for the rebirth of the NCAA College Football video game franchise. Reports have ranged from a $5 million pool, which comes out to $500 per player, to it’s purely voluntary without any royalties.

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The vice president of the College Football Players Association Justin Falcinelli is urging athletes to boycott the deal, and jilted, misguided fans are likely already painting him as a contemporary Sam Keller, aka the former Nebraska Cornhuskers QB who was one of the main players in the initial litigation that ended (paused?) the football and basketball video game franchises that obsessives love so much.

While I personally still hold a grudge against Keller, I’m now more upset because he was a fucking bum of a starting quarterback than getting my favorite video game of all time canceled. So, please, stay out of Falcinelli’s mentions because he’s simply looking out for the hundreds of impressionable college football players who just want to turn their digital avatars into All-Americans.

Just because the NFLPA is incompetent doesn’t mean the CFBPA should be, too

I say that knowing full well that the CFBPA is toothless, and has no real power other than acting as a North Star. The organization is mere window dressing at this point because the CFBPA isn’t bargaining for anything — unlike the NFLPA. It’s unclear how much money NFL guys make off of Madden; Falcienni said he heard $28,000 this year, but there are a lot more college programs than NFL franchises, so student-athletes shouldn’t expect that.

Regardless, they should still get more than $500 for the “privilege” of being in the game, and if we’ve learned anything from the NFLPA, no union should be in a rush to mirror its strategy of missteps.

The CFBPA is using its position to be bombastic with its criticism and extreme with its approaches because the players can’t get even more unpaid. (And, hopefully, the CFBPA shows up in Washington to represent its side of the NIL argument when SEC reps visit in a couple of days to complain about the imbalance of regulations.)

The unfortunate side effect of college athletes potentially adhering to guerilla tactics is fans catch collateral damage. The NCAA is already ripping conferences and rivalries away from us, and now players are being campaigned to abstain from opting into something they probably want to be a part of as badly as the fans.

EA getting off easy because their business partners are worse

Those in the video game industry have been hoping Electronic Arts reaches critical mass any day now. Whether it’s monotony and glitches triggering Madden fans, greed (on both sides) ending the partnership with FIFA, or, until recently, fucking up the potential of Star Wars games, EA hasn’t merited its monopoly with big-name IP. Add in a history of mistreating employees, and EA is to Big Video Games what Pfizer is to Big Pharma. (It’s not a beat-for-beat analogy, but I don’t write for Kotaku, so my apologies.)

The video game company became the giant it is much in the same vein as the NCAA and FIFA. A corporation is a corporation is a corporation, but anyone’s scandals look tame when juxtaposed next to Sepp Blatter or Mark Emmert.

EA’s products are trusted because of the brand, but 21st-century human beings should know not to trust brands by now. I guarantee whatever payment structure that EA and the money launderers in charge of NIL disbursements have discussed is as egregious as it is low. The hype for the return of EA’s College Football is on par with gamers’ yearning for a new Grand Theft Auto — and incidentally, the last version of both dropped two months apart from each other in 2013.

While I’ll concede that a new GTA would be a bigger deal overall, it can’t be overstated enough how many college fanbases will be in line (online?) for a midnight release (if that’s still a thing) for the first time in more than a decade. So, yeah, that $5 million number is an insult. There’s absolutely more than enough money to go around, which is a common refrain that’s starting to lose all meaning for fans of college athletics.

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