Electronic Arts (aka our Worst Company In America winner) has settled a lawsuit alleging that it was overcharging for some of its most popular sports titles, including Madden NFL as well as NCAA Football and Arena Football games. But while the settlement restricts EA’s ability to sign exclusive deals with the NCAA and Arena Football, it appears its Madden Monopoly on NFL titles will march on intact.
Attorneys for game players who bought recent copies of any of the aforementioned football titles say they’re setting up a $27 million fund for refunds. Those who bought games for a PlayStation 2, original Xbox or Nintendo GameCube could receive up to $6.79 per title. Games purchased for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii will garner a $1.95 refund, reports USA Today.
Also included in the settlement: EA can’t renew its exclusive licensing agreement$ for the NCAA Football franchise for five years starting in 2014, when the current deal is up. It also can’t sign any exclusivity deal with the Arena Football league for five years. Not a huge deal, points out Kotaku, as EA hasn’t even published an AFL game since 2007.
Seemingly not included in the lawsuit is any such provision barring exclusivity deals with the NFL, which would mean that Madden NFL titles, among its most popular games, will continue to dominate the video game market. The current exclusivity deal started in 2005 and goes through 2013.
The lawsuit had alleged that EA “engaged in unlawful and anti-competitive agreements that nearly doubled the price of its popular game, Madden NFL,” as well as claiming that the licensing deals with the NFL, NCAA and Arena Football “drove competition out of the market and prevented new competitors from entering.”
The settlement will now need approval from the court.
Previously in Maddenopoly news, back in 2009: That Wily Scoundrel John Madden Has Robbed Gamers Of $1 Billion, Economist Says
EA settles lawsuit over alleged price fixing [USA Today]