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Snoop Dogg rallies support for backward-compatible college football on Xbox One

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Snoop Dogg is leading a campaign to get NCAA Football 14, the last edition of the canceled college football series, made backward compatible for Xbox One, but that may take some doing.

Last night, Snoop hit Instagram with a screenshot of the vote total for EA Sports' game, telling his followers, "We need. 10000 votes." NCAA Football 14 had 4,670 votes at the time and now has more than 5,700, an impressive 24-hour jump, but there may be more to this than Snoop realizes.

(Snoop is a well-known partisan of the USC Trojans. At E3 2011, I watched him play USC against an EA Sports producer using Oregon, who whooped Snoop's ass like it was a joke.)

Microsoft opened a poll shortly after backward compatibility for Xbox One was announced at E3 2015, and asked gamers to vote for the Xbox 360 game they most want to see playable on Xbox One. NCAA Football 14 is currently in 122nd place. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Red Dead Redemption and The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim are the top three, each with more than 70,000 votes.

NCAA Football 14 was, of course, licensed by the NCAA, more than 120 schools, and dozens of conferences, bowl games and other brands associated with college football. It's unclear whether all of those agreements would allow EA Sports to adapt the game for play on another console.

This morning we asked representatives of the label whether any licensed game in its back catalog, college football or otherwise, could be made backward compatible for Xbox One. We've yet to hear back.

NCAA Football 14 and its two predecessors are still for sale on the Xbox Marketplace, along with the latest game's downloadable content, but support for NCAA 14's Ultimate Team mode was turned off sometime before the fall of 2014, indicating that at least that agreement with the NFL Players' Association has expired.

EA Sports is extremely reluctant to comment on NCAA Football for any reason, in light of the $60 million settlement that it, the NCAA and the NCAA's licensing agency reached with former players to end a lawsuit they brought over the unauthorized use of their likenesses in the long-running series. The settlement terms were recently approved by a judge, and payments will begin soon.

Though the universities' names, symbols, uniforms and other trademarks were paid for and used with permission, the NCAA Football series' roster was based on real-world performers, albeit with their names stripped out. EA Sports, the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, the clearinghouse that set the royalty terms and distributed payments to all schools represented in the game, were sued over this practice.

Backward compatibility on Xbox One is handled on a game-by-game basis. To make an Xbox 360 game compatible with Xbox One, the developer must prepare the original for play on the new console. Then, a digital version will be released on the Xbox Marketplace for Xbox One. Anyone with a physical edition of the game may download that file for free, but their disc must be in the drive for it to be playable.

Backward compatibility already is available for those enrolled in the closed Xbox Preview program. It will become available to the general public by this holiday season, with about 20 games — including Mass Effect and Banjo-Kazooie — already scheduled for availability.

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