‘Madden NFL’ Video Game Maker|Faces Antitrust Class Action

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Electronic Arts has driven competing makers of video football games out of business by illegal, exclusive arrangements with the NFL, the NFL Players Union, the Arena Football League and the NCAA, according to a federal antitrust class action.

     Plaintiffs claim the illegal, exclusive agreements allowed Electronic Arts to hike the price for its flagship “Madden NFL” game from $29.95 to $49.99.
     Plaintiffs sued only Electronic Arts, which makes the Madden NFL, NCAA Football and Arena Football games. They did not sue the athletics leagues or John Madden.
     The complaint states: “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. As a direct result of this anticompetitive conduct, the price of interactive football software has soared: Prior to signing exclusive agreements referred to above, Electronic Arts charged $29.95 for its flagship product Madden NFL. Immediately after the exclusive agreements entered into effect – and the effective withdrawal of its only competitor from the market – Electronic Arts increased its price for that software nearly 70 percent, to $49.99. “
     Plaintiffs’ lead counsel is Shana Scarlett with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro of Berkeley.

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