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Electronic Arts Reaches Proposed Settlement with Student Athletes

On Thursday, attorneys representing student athletes who claim Electronic Arts (EA) illegally used student-athletes’ likenesses in the company’s popular NCAA Football video games confirmed they have reached a proposed settlement.

The settlement covers claims made in cases by former players Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon against EA, along with cases by former players Shawne Alston and Ryan Hart, but must be approved by the court. The amount and other terms are confidential pending a court filing.

EA and attorneys for the student-athletes reached the settlement after the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the proposed class-action lawsuit in an attempt by EA to dismiss the case. The ruling remanded the case to U.S. District Court, allowing attorneys for the plaintiffs to seek class certification. The settlement with EA will allow attorneys to focus on claims against the NCAA, which has not settled. [Read more...]

EA Sports NHL 14 Now Available in Stores

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Electronic Arts Inc. has released EA Sports NHL 14 at retail stores throughout North America on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Powered by a generation of the best EA Sports technology, NHL 14 allows players to access the NHL Collision Physics, the all-new Enforcer Engine, and a new level of speed and control with the second season of the True Performance Skating engine.

Other new features and modes include One-Touch Dekes, Live in the Life Mode, NHL 94 Anniversary Mode, and Hocket Ultimate Team (HUT) and EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL) Online Seasons.

Check out the EA Sports NHL 14 launch trailer:

EA Sports UFC to Feature Female Fighters

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Electronic Arts Inc. has announced that EA Sports UFC will feature playable female fighters for the first time ever in a UFC video game. This moment is being headlined by UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and top bantamweight contender Miesha Tate.

Starting next Spring, players will be able to “Feel the Fight” in the Octagon and experience the power of Rousey’s signature armbar, the intensity of Tate’s grappling, and many other fighting styles from an esteemed roster of female fighters in EA Sports UFC.

EA Sports UFC is in development at EA Canada in Vancouver and will be available for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. The game has not yet been rated.

COMMENTARY: Licensed NFL Games Bring All the Gridiron Action Home

It’s nearing September, which means the start of the 2013 to 2014 NFL season. Among the major American sports, professional football very easily rates near the top; however, unlike baseball or basketball, the NFL is only broadcast three days a week. This raises the question: What to do on those other days when the ol’ pigskin classic isn’t scheduled to be played? With a little help from the National Football League itself, we have your perfect solution: two officially-licensed NFL board games, plus one NFL video game super-sequel that just hit stores.

NFL GameDayThe first board game up is NFL Game Day from Fremont Die, in which two players (or two teams of players) take turns attempting to score points or stop the other team from scoring. The length of a football field is approximated on a neat magnetic board, and the game features magnetic pieces as well as cards for offensive, defensive, and special teams plays. For the most part, game play revolves around one side plunking down an offensive card, while the other side puts down a defensive card at the same time. Depending on which cards are played, the possibilities range from a five-yard gain to something much bigger, no gain to a huge loss in yardage, or even a turnover.

The game play mechanics are straightforward enough that even football novices can pick them up quickly; however, if you already fancy yourself an expert on football strategy, NFL Game Day has the bonus of effectively putting you in the head coach or offensive/defensive coordinator’s chair. At third-and-five, will you run for the first down, go for a short pass, or opt for the play-action? If you’re on the defensive side, do you play the pass or the run, or maybe even go for an all-out blitz?

NFL Rush ZoneA slightly different, but no less compelling football experience awaits NFL diehards and laypeople courtesy of NFL Rush Zone from Techno Source. Like NFL Game Day, it features a game board with customizable end zones for all 32 teams (and plastic uprights that don’t serve a practical purpose, but look pretty cool), but the game mechanics are dice-based rather than card-based. Each side rolls three dice representing a complete set of downs, but if the total of the defense’s dies is higher than the offense’s, it becomes fourth down and the latter must decide between punting, kicking a field goal, or going for the conversion.

If NFL Game Day represents the coach’s point-of-view, NFL Rush Zone is more like the spectator’s. The mechanics are such that despite being active participants, much of what happens on the field is left to chance; any series of downs can go really well or terribly wrong, and it’s difficult to strategize based on the random rolling of three die. Events will transpire as they will, and isn’t that exactly what watching an NFL game (or most any sporting event, for that matter) is like?

In the game I was playing, my hometown Miami Dolphins were marching on offense, but then my opponent (the Seattle Seahawks, for those who were wondering) got a defensive takeaway by rolling three of a kind. They subsequently scored a touchdown and won, at which point, like any true fan and viewer, I called for the Fins’ head coach to be fired and the team sold to parties based out of Los Angeles. Perhaps NFL Rush Zone represents football from the perspective of the team owner as well?

MaddenNFL25Actually, if any licensed NFL product lets users step into the luxury wing tips of their typical franchise owners, it’s most likely EA SportsMadden NFL 25, the latest installment in the video game franchise. It arrived on August 27 for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and Playstation 3. New features include an “Owner Mode,” which lets gamers run the organization top to bottom, doing everything from selecting players to setting the prices of concessions, to upgrading the team’s stadium. It’s an intriguing form of escapism—running a corporation worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, Madden NFL 25 retains the more traditional game play mode in which users control avatars of their favorite players, and this time around, the simulated action has an unprecedented level of smoothness and detail.

With these licensed games, NFL fans should be able to get their fix well beyond the coming football season.

For more commentary from Phil, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Madden NFL 25 Writers Celebrate Game’s Launch with 25-Hour Gaming Marathon

madden-25-release-date-tileTwo official game guide writers, Stephen “SGibs” Gibbons and Zach “ZFarls” Farley, for the upcoming Madden NFL 25 will be playing the new game for 25 straight hours leading up to its launch on August 27. The authors are scheduled to begin playing Madden NFL 25 on Monday at 11 p.m. EST. The marathon gaming session will be viewable online at www.twitch.tv/maddentips.

The two will take on virtual challenges from professional athletes, including Ryan Hollins of the L.A. Clippers, select media, and developers for the game’s publisher EA Sports.

Gibbons and Farley write for Prima Games, an imprint of Random House LLC. They had spent several months in Orlando, Fla., working with EA Sports developers and learning the nuances of the new game.

Electronic Arts Previews Fall, Winter Games

Electronic Arts previewed its fall and winter game releases at this year’s Hot for the Holidays press event. EA Games Label, EA Sports, Maxis, and EA Mobile and Social demoed the upcoming games, which represent a wide range of ages and interests, from action and sports to city-building simulation and kid-friendly animal games.


Under the Maxis Label, EA is releasing The Sims 3 Supernatural Expansion Pack in September. Players can give their Sims supernatural lives as werewolves, witches, vampires, and fairies. While playing as supernatural Sims, players will discover new abilities, traits, skills, and interactions that enhance their gameplay, including delayed aging for fairies and vampires, innate magic channeling for witches, and lycanthropy for werewolves, which enables them to control their animal instincts and transform at will. [Read more...]

Get Fit With EA SPORTS Active 2, Microsoft Kinect

EA SPORTS, a division of Electronic Arts, Inc., announced its latest product, EA SPORTS Active 2 at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, Calif., yesterday.

The game utilizes the full-body motion capturing features of Microsoft’s upcoming Kinect peripheral (formerly dubbed Project Natal) to provide 1:1 movement recognition and voice commands. EA SPORTS Active 2 tracks user’s fitness progress and includes a wearable heart monitor.

PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii version have accessories that attach to various points on the body, while iPhone and iPod Touch versions are also in the works.

EA SPORTS Active 2 will be available in the U.S. on Nov. 16.

Photo Credit: MTV Multiplayer

Sakar Signs Licenses for Iron Man 2, EA Sports

Sakar International is developing an Iron Man 2-branded line of spy gear, inspired by the upcoming movie release. The products are being developed under a license agreement with Marvel Entertainment. Expected to feature over a dozen SKUs, the product line will include spy watches, walkie talkie/voice changers, digital and video cameras, nightvision goggles, blacklight decoders, micro-listening devices, and video game accessories. Release dates will coincide with the movie’s slated opening on May 7.

[Read more...]