Madden Preserves NFL Game Monopoly
The word “Madden” has been synonymous with football video games for some time. Thanks to a new settlement deal reached between Electronic Arts and the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit, things are likely to stay that way. According to Kotaku, the publishing giant will pay $27 million to customers who bought “an American football product from EA Sports between 2005 and now,” though individual payments are not expected to exceed $6.97.
The suit originally argued that EA’s exclusive relationship with NFL and NCAA authorities constituted an “illegal monopoly” over licensed football games, but the charge didn’t stick. The company’s arrangement with the NFL will remain unchanged, although the terms of the settlement do prevent EA from signing a similarly exclusive deal with the NCAA after their current arrangement expires in 2014.
Unfortunately for consumers, the single-developer stranglehold on licensed football has effectively killed off the competition. I’d love to see someone try to create an alternative to EA’s much-derided NCAA Football franchise when 2015 rolls around, but I wouldn’t bet on it happening.