May 28, 2024

There is one day until the “full reveal” for EA Sports College Football 25 arrives, and EA did mention yesterday that PS5 and Xbox Series X/S are the only two consoles that the game will release on this season. This means there will be no last-gen version of the game, and this means there will be no EA Sports College Football 25 on PC.

This sucks but it is not surprising. When I spoke about the hope (and rumor) that EA’s college football game would only be coming out on current-gen consoles, I explained why I felt it would a good thing but had some concerns about a PC version happening.

Now, I have no clue what platforms EA Sports College Football 25 will come out on at this point — it’s really only confirmed for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S as of now — but I would guess PC is a “maybe” due to the potential issues with how modders would immediately get around anyone who was not licensed in the game.

EA has not mentioned why a PC version is not happening, and I don’t know if they’ll ever tell us the “real” reason, but I do believe it probably does come down to not wanting to rock the boat from a legal perspective. It absolutely takes more resources to create and maintain a PC version, and it’s even more true if you want to make sure modders either have more access (or want to make it harder for them) to edit the game. However, I don’t think “resources” would be the main reason here because we’ve now seen current-gen Madden and FIFA on PC. EA knows how to do a PC version at this point, and they know how to do it with this game engine since EA Sports College Football will be sharing an engine with Madden.

But we have to remember how weird and new this whole situation remains. EA’s legal team is likely in overdrive trying to make sure all of this goes smoothly and doesn’t create future problems, but we really don’t know how all of this will play out quite yet. I have no doubts this game is going to sell really well, but the unknowns are there from a legal perspective to some degree.

To this point, EA has been cagey about how they’re going to stop people from editing college athletes who don’t “opt-in” to having their name and likeness in the game, and we have no clue what “share” features will even exist in this game. Do we get to edit and share some players but not others? Do we only get to edit some players and not others? Can we edit anyone but then we can’t share the roster at all if we do? There’s plenty of ways this could go, but we need to see how “risky” EA wants to be with their choices. I tend to think they’ll be very careful here as well with editing and sharing rosters — probably too careful and upset some of the fans — but we’ll have to wait and see.

Either way, a PC version would have obviously created even more unknowns. EA could have definitely made it harder to mod a PC version of the game (or threaten the modding community) but on top of being bad PR — for example, every time Nintendo goes after modding communities it looks really bad — a PC version in general probably scares EA’s legal team. Once this “new world” is more tested and folks have accepted how this whole process works for paying college athletes to be in a video game, I do think a PC version could and should happen.

ea sports college football 25

Still, we’re clearly not at that point. I don’t think any of us want to be in a situation where we get one version of the game and then go another decade (or longer) before seeing another college football game again because something went wrong. And I don’t mean to say I don’t think athletes shouldn’t sue if EA screws up or whatever, but all the parties involved need to be responsible and make sure this process is fair and makes sense.

I can only imagine what the takeaway would be if the PC version came out, and on day one Arch Manning is edited into the game and it’s plastered all over the internet (if you don’t know, Arch Manning was one of the first “big” players to opt out early in the process when EA was sending out contracts). Even if the commentators ended up not saying the Manning name like they did Tebow or whoever back in the day (EA really was brazen looking back on it all), it would create a murky situation.

ea sports college football 25

And, look, I’m not saying you can’t make arguments for why EA would not be responsible, but at the same time, you can’t tell me Arch Manning or whoever wouldn’t be justified in being like “what the hell, I said I didn’t want to be in the game and certainly have not been paid to be in the game.”

So, for now, I think EA is mostly getting a pass here because a lot of others seem to be on the same wavelength as me in terms of just wanting this all to go smoothly so we get more games in the future (and hopefully even in other sports!). It’s a rare moment in time where EA is getting a “pass” from many folks, but I don’t think fans will be as understanding if there’s no roster editing or sharing of any kind in the console version. At the end of the day, a lot of folks do want the game to be “real” even if not everyone opted into it, and so that’s the real final question mark remaining in terms of how careful EA wants to be about avoiding potential legal issues.