Madden Forever: EA retains exclusive rights to NFL license after lawsuit settlement

madden forever ea retains exclusive rights to nfl license after lawsuit settlement 2013 2014

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Electronic Arts has been the exclusive developer and publisher of American football video games carrying the NFL license since 2004 and it will likely remain the only NFL video game maker, even in the aftermath of a monopoly lawsuit originally filed against the company in 2008.

According to Kotaku, EA won’t have to pay out a huge sum—a paltry $27 million—as compensation to consumers taking part in the class-action lawsuit. Any customer that bought a version of Madden NFL for the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, or PlayStation 3 after 2005 is entitled to $1.95, while anyone that purchased Madden for PlayStation2, Xbox, or GameCube is entitled to $6.79.

What’s more, though EA will be barred from renewing any exclusivity deals with the NCAA for the next five years, it is free to renew its exclusivity agreement with the NFL when it expires in 2014.

The class-action lawsuit filed back in 2008 claimed that EA’s exclusivity deals, making it the sole video game maker with access to the National Football League, the National Football League Players Association, the National College Athletics Association, and the Arena Football League, shut down all competition creating a detrimental environment for consumers. Two private consumers in California and Washington, DC filed the suit claiming that EA was engaging in “blatantly anticompetitive conduct.” “The vigorous competition benefited consumers. Electronic Arts could have continued to compete by offering a lower price and/or higher quality product. Instead, Electronic Arts quickly entered into a series of exclusive agreements with the only viable sports football associations in the United States,” reads the lawsuit. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker then certified the class-action in December 2010.

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, there were scores of different football video games. Tecmo Bowl for NES, Joe Montana Football for Sega Genesis, NFL Quarterback Club, NFL GameDay, NFL 2K. If you liked your NFL and your video games, there was no shortage of options. Since 2004 though, Electronic Arts has been the only NFL game in town, its Madden NFL, resurrected NFL Blitz series, and various mobile and social game options being the only video games in the world to bear the likenesses and logos of the leagues teams. There have been other football games—2K Sports tried to re-enter the market with the NFL-less All-Pro Football, 505 flailed with Backbreaker, and Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff tried to thrive without Bo Jackson in tow—but all have failed without the support of the league itself.

It’s troubling that Electronic Arts simply settled the lawsuit while retaining its right to pursue exclusive rights to the NFL license. Despite the upturn in Madden NFL quality in recent years, it’s still a series that would benefit from healthy competition.

Gaming

Here are all the awesome games you can play without a fancy graphics card

Just because you don't have a dedicated graphics card, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of the best games out there right now. This is our list of the best games you can play on Intel integrated graphics.
Gaming

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

Console wars are so last-gen. Check out all the games that support crossplay

Crossplay is still in its infancy, but a growing number of games support online multiplayer between competing platforms. Here's a list of all games that support console crossplay.
Gaming

Want to trick out your PlayStation 4? These themes will get you started

Personalize your gaming experience with some of our favorite themes for the PlayStation 4, including free, paid, static, and dynamic options.
Gaming

‘Mortal Kombat 11’ is even gorier and crazier than we expected

NetherRealm Studios unveiled Mortal Kombat 11 on January 17 and the game looks to be just as gory and over the top as fans have come to expect. Former MMA fighter Ronda Rousey will appear as Sonya Blade.
Gaming

Play your games whenever you want with a MicroSD card for your Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridge-based games, but its internal storage may fill up quicker than you would think. Here's what you should consider when picking out a MicroSD card to expand your Switch's storage capacity.
Gaming

Get your pilot skills up to snuff for this week's 'Fortnite' challenge guide

The Fortnite season 7, week 7 challenges are now available. The major challenge this week requires you to visit all the Fortnite expedition outposts in the game and we walk you through how to get to each.
Gaming

Get extra life with our tips and tricks for 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a much more difficult game than you'd believe based on its adorable art style and 2D perspective. Here's how you can master the game's toughest challenges.
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has two distinct Mario experiences in one package. In this guide, we'll show you how to find all of the secret exits in New Super Mario Bros. U, that lead to hidden levels and let you skip worlds.
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Luigi U Deluxe'

Just like all other 2D Mario games, New Super Mario Bros. Deluxe includes secret exits and world skips. In this guide, we'll show you how to get to all 12 secret exits in New Super Luigi U.
Gaming

For Netflix, ‘Fortnite’ on YouTube is a bigger threat than HBO

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix explained that it views the video game Fortnite as bigger competition than HBO, with YouTube videos of the game drawing viewers away from the streaming platform.
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.