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EA Accused Of Overcharging Gamers Up To $926 Million For Madden Games

JGaskill
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Posted July 15, 2009 - By Jake Gaskill








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EA Accused Of Overcharging Gamers Up To $926 Million For Madden GamesFor the sake of full disclosure, you should know that I was a huge fan of Take Two Interactive’s ESPN NFL Football and ESPN NFL 2K5. I just found them so much more enjoyable and fluid than the Madden games Electronic Arts was churning out at that time, and I honestly couldn’t wait to see where the franchise would go in the future. Sadly, thanks to EA’s strong arming (i.e. EA securing NFL exclusivity rights), the 2K series died on the vine. So with the competition out of the way, EA was then able to basically turn the Madden franchise into a money printing operation. However, according to a new lawsuit it seems that EA might have some ‘splaining ta do concerning just how much money it’s beloved franchise has taken in over the past few years.

As GamePolitics reports, a University of Michigan economics professor has brought suit against the publishing giant, claiming that EA has been able to overcharge consumers on the price of Madden games to the tune of between $701 million and $926 million. Dr. Jeffrey MacKie-Mason came to this conclusion by calculating the difference between what EA was charging for Madden while 2K’s football games were on store shelves and what it charged after Madden secured NFL exclusivity rights.

Gamers surely remember that NFL 2K5 was released for the ridiculously low price of $19.99, which caused EA to lower the price of Madden NFL 2005 from $49.95 to $29.95. Once the NFL 2K franchise was no more, Madden games went back to their original price, eventually jumping to $59.95 for the most current iterations. Of course, there are all sorts of other factors like the general price jump that occurs when a new console generation starts, and the rising costs of game budgets (just to name two) that need to be factored in before any logical and lawful conclusion can be drawn with regards to the alleged overcharging.

In fact, a similar suit could just as easily be brought against Take Two for raising the price of its Major League Baseball 2K franchise from $20 to $60 once it secured exclusivity rights for Major League Baseball, forcing the demise of EA’s vastly more enjoyable MVP Baseball series (my favorite baseball franchise ever, before MLB '09: The Show came along). The major difference being there are competitors in the baseball game market, whereas Madden doesn’t have any. Still, it shows how tenuous this suit appears to be, and why the prosecution certainly has an uphill battle ahead of them.

Not surprisingly, EA feels the case is basically a joke, saying, in its discovery filing (oddly enough where opinions about a case aren't normally submitted):

“EA respectfully submits that Dr. MacKie-Mason's analysis is fundamentally flawed on multiple levels. Indeed, Dr. MacKie-Mason's estimated magnitude of damages is nothing more than pure fiction - it has no basis in fact or law...”

Between this, and EA’s other class action lawsuit, it seems the next few months should be interesting ones for gaming law junkies. On that note: what’s your take on the lawsuit?

Source

EA Accused Of Overcharging Gamers Up To $926 Million For Madden Games
http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/697405/ea-accused-of-overcharging-gamers-up-to-926-million-for-madden-games/
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