Antitrust Class Says Electronic Arts|Monopolizes Video Football Games

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A class action antitrust complaint claims Electronic Arts responded to a competitor’s release of a cheaper video football game by entering anti-competitive deals with the (nonparties) NFL Players Association, the Arena Football League and the NCAA. Now Electronic Arts has a monopoly in interactive video football software, in restraint of trade, the class claims.

     The class claims Electronic Arts, one of the world’s most powerful video game makers and purveyor of “Madden NFL Football, “NCAA Football,” and “Arena Football,” was challenged in 2005 when Take-Two Interactive released video game football software, called NFL 2K5, for $19.99.
     Electronic Arts responded by dropping the price of Madden 2005 from $49.95 to $29.95, according to the federal complaint.
     Electronic Arts then “quickly entered into a series of exclusive licensing agreements with the major professional and college football organizations in the United States (i.e., the NFL, NFLPA, NCAA and AFL) in an effort to eliminate competition in the Interactive Video Football Game Software market,” according to the complaint.
     “The exclusive agreements with the NFL, NFLPA, NCAA and AFL effectively eliminated Take-Two as a competitor in the Interactive Video Football Game Software market.
     Thereafter, EA raised the price of Madden NFL 2006 back to $49.95.”
     The class demands treble damages and an injunction. It is represented by Joseph Tabacco Jr. with Berman Devalero.

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