The developer might be forced to allow competitors
Video game developer EA Sports is targeted with a class action lawsuit on behalf of all the gamers who have bought a copy of the Madden NFL series, the NCAA Football franchise or the Arena Football games between January 2005 and June 2012.The lawsuit accuses the sport video game company that it has entered into “an unlawful and anticompetitive series of exclusive agreements with the National Football League, the NFL Players Union, Arena Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.”
“Electronic Arts has driven its competition out of the market for interactive football software, including most significantly Take Two Interactive Software, Inc., the maker of the interactive football software title NFL 2K5 and has prevented additional competitors from entering the market,” the papers read.
The exclusivity deals violate the rights of all those who have purchased a game linked to Madden NFL and NCAA Football because they have prevented other companies from putting out their own American football simulations.
The main aim of the lawsuit is to prevent EA Sports and its partners to enter such exclusivity deals in the future.
Publisher Electronic Arts says that it has broken no laws by becoming the exclusive developer of American football games and that it will fight the lawsuit in the courts.
Madden NFL is one of the most important franchises for the company and is a regular chart topper in the United States during August, the date when it is traditionally launched.
NCAA Football, the game linked to collegiate football, has a smaller fan base but the game tends to serve as a testing bed for a number of features that then make the move to the larger series.
In the European football genre, EA Sports and its own FIFA series face strong competition from Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 and Konami.