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Gamers Fight Back Against EA

Gamers are suing gaming giant Electronic Arts for the exclusive deals they got with major sports such as the NFL. How will this effect the next Madden?

Legal Issues by Mike Masnick (http://techdirt.com/articles/20080613/0204591398.shtml)

Video Gamers Sue EA Over Exclusive Sports Games

from the yes…-but… dept

Sports video games are a huge business — and for many years, it was an extremely competitive space. I remember a few years back trying to wade through half a dozen different baseball video game titles to figure out which one was worth buying. However, a few years back, video game giant EA started signing “exclusive” deals with a variety of sporting leagues, including the NFL. These “exclusive” deals supposedly meant that only EA could produce games with the names and stats of real players — a huge selling point among most fans. And, of course, in gaining exclusivity, EA has completely cashed in. However, a bunch of angry video gamers are now suing the company for anticompetitive conduct, noting that these exclusive deals killed off all the competition, allowing EA to drastically raise its prices.

Of course, there’s a separate issue that might make these gamers (and other video game companies) happy: with the recent rulings concerning fantasy baseball, it appears that the court system recognizes that player names and stats are public domain data. Thus, even with the “exclusivity,” other video game companies should be able to include real player names and data. They probably still cannot use real league logos, and even player likenesses may be out (which, again, is often a big selling point) — but hopefully it at least brings some competition back to the market.

From my stand point this has a valid point and a stupid point in it. The Valid point is when ESPN NFL 2K5 came out. It was a great game with the same players in the latest Madden game. The game was vary popular and was a hit with reviewers and gamers alike. When EA grabbed the exclusive license football games where never the same.

For example; back in the early 2000’s two professional wrestling companies close down. Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling both folded due to poor sales. World Wrestling Entertainment then buys both companies. Since the WWE has more money then the smaller promotions out in the world they can easily buy out any threat. Because the WWE is so much more main stream then a company like Total Nonstop Action (TNA) most people are forced to watch the WWE.

When people only have one option they tend to be angry. When All-Pro Football 2K8 came out it seemed that Madden would finally have a rival. Owning the game personally I thought it was an OK attempt. Nothing to be proud of though. All-Pro had all the big names. That was it though. It then preceded to fall down as an alright football game that was soon forgotten.

I think it is pretty dumb to be suing a company over a yearly video game. You buy the game because it has an updated roster, stats, controls, characters, and so on and so forth. I don’t see what these gamers are trying to accomplish. EA has the exclusive license. They can do whatever they please with it.

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