Madden class action lawsuit


JackFetch
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Finally something is going to happen with this.

A federal judge granted class certification in antitrust lawsuit over an alleged monopoly on the sports gaming industry between Electronic Arts and professional sports organizations like the National Football League.

The complaint, filed in 2008, claims the California video game developer's exclusive agreements with the NFL, the NFL Players Union, the Arena Football League and the NCAA have effectively eliminated competition in the interactive football software market. The class says the price for Electronic Arts' most popular game "Madden NFL" rose 70 percent from $29.99 to $49.99 immediately after the agreements were made.

Electronic Arts argued that a class certification is not practical because of the differences among video game consumers, but U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of the San Francisco federal court disagreed.

"The modest amount at stake for each purchaser renders individual prosecution impractical," Walker wrote. "Thus, class treatment likely represents plaintiffs' only chance for adjudication."

He added that the plaintiffs successfully mounted "a common nucleus of anticompetitive conduct."

"The overarching substantive issue presented is common to all purported members of plaintiffs' proposed class: whether EA's series of exclusive licensing agreements with the NFL, NCAA and AFL choked off competition in a way that is not legally sanctioned and whether, as a result of EA's conduct, plaintiffs suffered injury," Walker wrote.

Armed with three exclusive licenses, the class claims that EA stopped competing on price, causing wholesale prices to skyrocket.

"Under this theory, it is of no consequence that 'early' purchasers paid the industry standard price for their video games - EA could not have charged the prevailing industry-standard price if competitors remained," Walker wrote. "This theory has a basis in both the theoretical and real-world evidence."

The class consists of all persons in the United States who bought Electronic Arts' Madden NFL, NCAA or Arena Football League brand interactive football software, excluding software for mobile devices, with a release date of Jan. 1, 2005, to the present.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/12/29/32962.htm

For those that don't know, Madden was getting outsold by 2K Sports because they sold their game for 29.99 in 2004 causing Madden to drop their price to match it. They came up with the scheme to get the exclusive NFL license and put 2K Sports out of the football business and jacked their price back up to 49.99. It is considered by a lot of people the most dickish move in video games history. They still have the exclusive license until 2012.

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  • 3 weeks later...

What's wrong with an exclusive license? If we want video games to be treated like other media, then surely this is no different to selling TV rights? You can't make a WWE game without their permission, you can't make a Lego game without their permission, NFL is a licensed product, just like anything else, I really don't have a problem with this.

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What's wrong with an exclusive license? If we want video games to be treated like other media, then surely this is no different to selling TV rights? You can't make a WWE game without their permission, you can't make a Lego game without their permission, NFL is a licensed product, just like anything else, I really don't have a problem with this.

They bought the license just so they could jack the price back up after they got rid of the competition. They created a monopoly where there wasn't one before that was harmful to consumers.

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