EA sued over football exclusivity

Electronic Arts has been hit with a lawsuit for what the plaintiffs describe as the publisher's "blatantly anticompetitive conduct" in the football gaming genre.

According to theSan Jose Business Journal, EA's move to tie up exclusive licenses with US football associations for games based on the sport is at the heart of the case.

The plaintiffs point out that competition from rival publisher Take-Two, which sold more than two million copies of NFL 2K5 at a $19.99 price point, saw EA slash the price of Madden 2005 from $49.95 to $29.95, creating healthy competition that benefited consumers.

"Electronic Arts could have continued to compete by offering a lower price and/or a higher quality product," the suit said. "Instead, Electronic Arts quickly entered into a series of exclusive agreements with the only viable sports football associations in the United States: the National Football League, the Arena Football League, and NCAA Football."

With no competitor on the market following the signing of exclusivity deals, EA's Madden 2006 was released with a price point of $49.95, up almost 70 percent on the previous iteration's selling price.

The plaintiffs have requested a class action and want restitution and damages for those who purchased an EA football game since August of 2005.

Courtesy of Next Generation.

Jun 12, 2008