Posts Tagged ‘EA Sports’

Once in a while, a large corporation does something nice (of course, once in a while, the same corporation goes to court over the likenesses of student athletes).  In this case, though, Electronic Arts responded to a young girl’s request to allow the creation of female players in NHL 12.  Even if the corporation saw it as a publicity opportunity, it is still a nice example of social action on the part of Lexi Peters:

“I asked my dad, ‘Why aren’t there girls in the NHL video game?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know, write a letter.’ So, I did,” Lexi told the Globe and Mail from her home in Buffalo, N.Y.

She sent a typewritten letter to the executives of one the largest video game makers in the world, asking them to add women players.

She wrote: “It is unfair to women and girl hockey players around the world, many of them who play and enjoy your game. I have created a character of myself, except I have to be represented by a male and that’s not fun.”

Read Full Post »

I’ve talked about issues of privacy and digital identity before, but a recent court case involves the intersection of both.  For years, companies such as Electronic Arts have been making video games about college athletics.  The problem is that college athletes are not able to sell their likenesses for personal gain (because, you know, they’re amateurs!).  In recognition of this fact, those making video games about college athletics change the names of the athletes while leaving other identifying characteristics such as physical traits, statistics, and even uniform numbers, intact.  The games do allow users to change the names of players, though, and fan dedication combined with internet connectivity means that updated rosters with players’ actual names are often available shortly after a game’s release.  For example, NCAA Football 12 was released on July 12 and this post from August 1 lists changed rosters for the two most advanced home consoles.

For players, the fact that others are profiting from their likenesses does not always go over well (though it sometimes does – the cover athlete is typically a player one year removed from college sports who appears in a college uniform).  Some college players are so upset about this that they do what any good American would do, they sueOne such court case was recently dismissed by a federal district court because “EA’s right to free expression under the First Amendment supersedes a former quarterback’s right to control the use of his likeness.”   Video games, you see, are works of creative expression protected by the first amendment.

This is likely not the end of the road for court cases such as this.  The NCAA considered a rule change this year that would have allowed corporate sponsors to use clips of current athletes in advertisements as long as those advertisements included the name of the athletes’ institutions.

Read Full Post »