Anti-trust lawsuit filed over Madden

Electronic Arts has held the exclusive rights to publish games with the NFL license since 2004, but all that may change with a recent lawsuit filed over the game developer’s Madden series. Law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro claims that the NFL exclusivity deal hurts consumers and makes it difficult for other developers to release competitive products, and are filing a class action lawsuit against EA on anti-trust grounds.

Select gamers started receiving emailed notices regarding the suit on Wednesday, though anyone who “purchased the Madden NFL, NCAA Football or Arena Football League brand videogames published by Electronic Arts with a release date of January 1, 2005, to the present,” is eligible to join the suit and may receive compensation depending on how things shake out.

Those hoping to join shouldn’t get their hopes up, says popular games industry analyst and multiple law degree-holder Michael Pachter.  “I think that the suit is idiotic, and would bet it’s dismissed,” said Pachter to Wired.

Exclusivity agreements for various licenses and intellectual property are commonplace in the games industry, though EA’s NFL deal is perhaps the most lucrative. Madden hasn’t faced a serious contender since 2004’s NFL 2K5 debuted at $20.

The announcement for the class action lawsuit follows another Madden-related lawsuit recently filed by Robin Antonick, the creator of the first Madden football game. Antonick is seeking tens of millions of dollars in royalties from EA.

Apr 7, 2011

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  • jmcgrotty - April 8, 2011 10:59 a.m.

    Time to be annoyingly technical. And sorry for basically a double-post. My fault for not reading the comments before posting and seeing some... person... I wanted to reply to. "You know, the NFL, the biggest money making sport in the world" "the NFL" is not a sport. It's a league. Oh, you meant that the NFL is the biggest moneymaking league/group in the world? Nope, sorry. Falls behind Formula 1 racing. But the NFL is the biggest single moneymaking TEAM sport league in the world. Kudos for being close.
  • jmcgrotty - April 8, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro can go screw themselves. They just want attention, so they are going the frivolous lawsuit route. Dismissed immediately due to lack of merit.
  • SlinkyDink - April 8, 2011 2:45 a.m.

    I wish Madden would just die, or at least stop dishing out games like Call of Duty does. How much better could they really get every year? Yeah I'm trolling, what of it?! And that girls hand does look really weird, reminds me of Lady Deathstrike from X-men.
  • JaysonAych - April 8, 2011 12:58 a.m.

    They're not taking the NFL to court because it's not just about the NFL license. It's that EA owns exclusive licensing to every major licensed American football product. If a gamer wants to play a licensed football game, they have to go through EA, and that's where the problem lies.
  • therawski - April 7, 2011 11 p.m.

    @chriszewski NFL Left 4 Nazi Zombie Blitz Football 2: GOTY Edition (ftw)?
  • chriszewski - April 7, 2011 9:01 p.m.

    It would be nice to see the exclusivity end. All Pro Football was pretty good but not having licensed stadiums, unis, and players is kind of a turn-off for me. I agree with therawski. Competition wouldn't leave the Madden crew and EA so comfortable but its tough to compete when current players are exclusive to EA. Its fun to put a team together around a star(retired) QB in All Pro, but with arbitrary player names and stats for everyone else, it is certainly lacking compared to Madden.
  • chrisat928 - April 7, 2011 8:54 p.m.

    Why aren't they taking the NFL to court? You know, the NFL, the biggest money making sport in the world, the organization that sold the exclusive rights to EA, the organization that offered to SEGA, but SEGA couldn't afford it, so EA snapped it up?
  • therawski - April 7, 2011 8:46 p.m.

    competition = better products and choices for consumers (simple capitalism)
  • Evil_AppleJuice - April 7, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    When will people stop suing EA and sports games? Its like every single person involved in sports wants more money than they make already and just go rabid over people like EA.
  • grizzly311 - April 7, 2011 8:28 p.m.

    I got an e-mail about this the other day. Even if it doesn't go anywhere it is nice to know people are making their voices heard on the matter.
  • ChipTheExecutioner - April 7, 2011 8:03 p.m.

    That girl's hand is really odd looking
  • Joshin69 - April 7, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    shouldnt they be taking the NFL to court as it is in fact they that have sold the exclusiveness
  • e1337prodigy - April 7, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    I hate exclusivity deals, why do sports sign these things? I'm sure they would get a lot more money if say they get 5% of all sales of that type of sport for each game using the players in that sport. for example 5% of all Madden game sales, 2k game sales and I'm sure other games companies would love to have a crack at replicating the sport.
  • bigwill1221 - April 7, 2011 7:15 p.m.

    What happens in California, stays in California?... Swear all the law suits are there

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