Settlement Over Pricing of EA Sports Football Products Carries Major Ramifications

Posted July 20th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

The lawsuit filed in 2008 regarding the pricing of EA Sports football products following the acquisitions of exclusive licenses recently reached a settlement. The details were announced today and go beyond just the anticipated consumer payouts.

EA will be responsible for establishing a $27 million fund for consumers who purchased Madden, NCAA, or AFL games since 2006. The distribution would be $6.79 for each PS2/Xbox/Gamecube title purchased and $1.95 for each 360/PS3/Wii title. Everyone who purchased one of these games was included in the class action suit unless specifically having opted out. The process to claim that money will not be known until the court approves the settlement.

Additionally the settlement dictates that EA will not renew its current agreement with the NCAA – which is currently set to expire after NCAA Football 14 – for a period of at least five years. The company is also not allowed to make a deal with Arena Football for that same period. This will not affect any plans for exclusivity with the NFL though EA appears to be the less satisfied party between the two anyway.

EA will be able to produce an NCAA licensed game but without an exclusivity agreement. It’s unlikely any other company would be prepared, or find it financially viable, to jump in under the scenario and make one of their own. I’ll be working on collecting more details but given that this news was released heading into the weekend not much more may be learned until Monday.

  • this are great news btw, i hope 2k take action

    • Take Two wants nothing to do with licenses. They’re good with NBA cause it’s very profitable – but otherwise they want their own IP.

      • maddenfan26

        how do you think they will distribute the money? how do other companies usually do it

        • There will probably be a website to submit claims to. But whether they require receipts or what restrictions there will be there’s no way to predict the stipulations.

    • mcmax3000

      Given the statements by 2K’s execs about wanting to focus on their own IPs, and the various legal issues that EA has gotten into over the NCAA license (I don’t know if that lawsuit with the former players about their likenesses being used has ever been settled or not… I don’t think it has), I’ll be pretty shocked if 2K actually goes after the NCAA license.

      • Daniel Kinkaid

        Yeah, NCAA is the more expensive to produce, because you need deals with the major confrences, the schools, the NCAA, etc. No one’s going to jump into that field.

        • MoneyMayweather

          agree’d and given that 2k excels at NFL football the fanboys would eat up an NFL 2k15 with real NFL teams Franchise boy oh boy the levy has been broken now just wait for the water to rush in. we could see an NFL 2k football game next gen if if take two plays it’s cards right. NFL 2k has an underground buzz not seen before in video games. at 60 or 80 dollars it would be a millionth seller given past NFL 2k games and the success of NBA 2k.

          • JJ

            I would pay $200 for NFL 2K15

      • Keith.

        It hasn’t settled — still going on, and it’s another huge risk and a huge ongoing expense for EA.

  • EAHater

    I wanna see choice in video game football. This is giving some company a chance to happen. 2k Sports or someone needs to jump on this ASAP…

    • MoneyMayweather

      have you played NCAA football 2k3. LOL they excel at NFL games that is all.

      • GMUPatriots

        2k had the opportunity to get the license the first time around. They couldn’t beat the bid from EA. (Contrary to popular belief, the entity that wanted an exclusive license is the NCAA. Just like the NFL initiated the talks that got EA the NFL exclusive license.)

        I highly, highly doubt 2K tries to bid on this license. 2K didn’t even try to keep their MLB license but what’s more important is that EA and other companies weren’t interested in the MLB license. The only MLB game next year will be The Show on PS3. IMO contrary to what many gamers believe, it seems that most publishers really aren’t interested in producing a sports game even when they’ve got the opportunity to do so. Other than Madden and FIFA they’re really not financially viable enough for most publishers. IMO the only publisher that has the cash to bid on this is Activision. They won’t because they’ve never produced a licensed sports game before (Tony Hawk doesn’t count) and they’re becoming more and more Call of Duty centric.

        • JoeEllen

          I think a good start to sports game sales would be to lower the price. Especially when they release every year with no additional features “Just Gimmicks”. I would be glad to pay $20 for a roster update. Rather than $60 for a copy and paste.

      • 305 boi

        any thing is better then shitty as madden,ncaa football bum as nicca!!

      • malikstarks

        NCAA football 2k3 WASN’T REALLY MADE BY 2K Visual Concepts subcontracted it to another company that is now defunct. Besides even if they did make it for the sake of argument, that was over 10 years ago.


    Im bouts to get paid BITCH

    • KG

      For sho!!!

  • skyline014

    As much as I hate EA, I buy NCAA and Madden every year and would hate to see them go. I won’t be bothering to collect my $20, especially if it has to do with losing NCAA

  • Disappointing news, the primary product of the suit gets left out of the settlement. What this tells me is that EA basically said, “We will not completely monopolize football, we just want Madden (which is basically football due to the popularity of the NFL)”. This settlement changes little as EA will continue to monopolize pro football. Wow.

    • Additionally, $20 means nothing to me so that was a fail. There are many out there who would pay $100 for a good football game.

    • Keith.

      The fun’s far from over for EA — me and other opt out plaintiffs can piggy back off the work these guys started.

      Opt out litigation is huge these days — EA’s kidding themselves if they think this settlement is going to end things. The levy’s finally been broken.

      • Keith.

        “Why institutional investors are opting out of class-action litigation”

      • “Why I don’t give a flying fuck”

        Because I have shit to do in life, that’s why.

        • SharQQ

          Says the guy posting on a sports video game site at 2 a.m.

          • The other John Stewart

            Ouch. Sounds like the only shit he’s got to do at 2 am try and act oblivious to a bit of bad news for his beloved EA, and talk shit in a game forum. That’s just sad.

          • Meanwhile, you’re following up behind him like you want the Sandusky treatment. I was responding to Keith, not this article.

  • NinoMarley

    Well that explains why Ncaa is shit…

    • Actually its not shit. You must suck at it. I have no issues with mine.

      • JJ

        NCAA is god awful and full to the brim with bugs.

  • j_vaughn

    I might not love EA but I can’t deny my love for NCAA and Madden. I hope they are able to stay and have other companies get rights so there is choice rather than have no EA at all

  • jwallace0317

    “It’s not entirely clear whether that means EA will be unable to produce an NCAA licensed game….”. Actually, on pages 15 and 16 of the stipulation of settlement filed with the court, it states that EA absolutely cannot have an exclusive college football agreement for 5 years.

    • Jeff H.

      Right. That they can’t produce an *exclusive* game. That doesn’t mean they can’t produce *any* NCAA game, unless the license was snatched up by another company. (which is pretty much what was said above)

      • jwallace0317

        What is said above makes it sound like it’s unresolved whether EA can still make an NCAA licensed game in the first place. Aside from the exclusivity prohibition, there’s nothing in the stipulation that could be construed as saying that EA will be “unable” to make an NCAA licensed product. It clearly will be able to, just by entering into a new agreement, so there’s nothing unclear about that point.

  • $20 and a chance for a competitor in the NCAA market? Good news all around.

    • MMO123

      No competitor will ever come forward. What company is going to shell out the millions of dollars just for the license alone, and then start-up costs, development costs, production costs, and everything else, in this day’s economy? 2K is about the only one who would be willing to do all that for a NCAA Football game and even they have no interest in licensed games, choosing to go more with their own IPs these days.

      • MoneyMayweather

        yeah and their past college games were terrible but it’d make the Football 2k fanboys happy!

  • Cody
  • pissed off guest

    jesus christ, what has this world come to? How is licensing the NFL video game any different than licensing apparel or something like that? I’m tired of these lawsuits! If EA wants to shell out the dough to get the exclusive license from a company, who’s to say they shouldn’t be able to? What is stopping some company from making a non-NFL game? What’s being monopolized here? Last time I checked, the NFL should be able to choose who they license their shit with! This is so silly.

    • Crimson

      You mad? Too bad. GTFO with that crying. This was a loooong time coming. People want choice again, like the old days of gaming. I want 3 companies making NFL football games, instead of just one. Go cry somewhere else.

      • pissed off guest

        um i’m not crying, after all I will be getting paid just like you guys! It’s the principle of the matter; i’m just trying to point out the injustice going on here. What happened to freedom? Liberty? These frivolous lawsuits are ridiculous, they shouldn’t even be heard!

        And you do have a choice. You can either buy madden, or not. You could buy backbreaker. You could play NFL 2k5. There’s a reason why only one company is making an NFL licensed game….because they paid for it!

        And also people still love madden…you sir, are in the minority haha.

        • TurdalPower

          Actually you’re in the minority. Most everyone wants the sports games to get better and most everyone agrees competition is a good thing.

          To be honest, I’m not really sure why you are vehemently defending the NFL Licensing thing anyway. You talk about choices, so why can’t we have several companies making an NFL game then we all have choices every year. If that happens you can still buy Madden every year if you like it. And if you like the other games you can buy those. It’s win-win.

          The NFL license restricting other companies from making NFL games is not a winning situation for the consumer.

          • pissed off guest

            well, the reason why several companies are not making games is simple: the nfl doesn’t want it to be that way! Why can’t they choose to license their stuff the way they want? The government shouldn’t be stepping in to pressure them to give their license to anyone that wants it. The consumer is not more important than the producer, they are equal partners! I think you guys are being a bit selfish here haha

          • Crimson

            Here we go with another fucking asshole republican trying to ruin people having a choice at something.

          • pissed off guest

            First of all, i’m a libertarian, not a republican! Second, i’m for choice: for both consumers AND producers.

          • TurdalPower

            Right selfish! That’s exactly what we’re being when people are simply stating they want more companies making games. And someone monopolizing the market is unselfish right?

          • pissed off guest

            you’re being unreasonable. Selfish is the wrong word (because EVERYONE is selfish). You can’t expect companies to take a worse deal just so they can cater to some people’s needs.

          • CH

            Actually you are buddy. You just live in a delusional world.

          • bad man

            Yeah he does him and his little friend crimson want everyone to fuck them up the ass because EA hurt there wittle feelers!

          • Dick Johnson

            Right! I am glad finally someone has the balls to tell these idiots to shut the fuck up. Its just a game does it really get your panties in a bunch or are these two guys just a bunch of losers who sit at home all day waiting and pining for the next ea game to come out so they could look at all the idiosyncrasies and wonder why ea doesnt hire them. HA!

          • John Reemer

            Yeah totally dick. If you look at every comment board these two guys are all over commenting every day. They probably have no life. Kinda feel sorry for them

          • Crimson


          • TurdalPower

            Daddy Goodell gonna make them earn that license next year! Slurp

          • TurdalPower

            Reems why don’t you get back to eating a fat dick bud

          • Paul

            Turdal and Crimson apparently like to lick each others assholes.

          • John Bender

            HAHA thats funny! I bet when turdal goes into his shell crimsons nose is up his butt.

          • Jim

            These two guys need to get a life.

          • TurdalPower

            Feel sorry all you want, like my post count has anything to do with what I do. A lot of people post on this site a lot, your point is? Oh wait you don’t have one, quick resort to lame name-calling that will prove how cool you are!!!! #Envious

          • Crimson

            Why don’t you have the balls Dick? Because you’re a fucking greedy capitalistic pussy, that’s why.

          • Dan

            Young man get an education and learn something about the world before you talk you just sound ignorant.

          • Crimson

            Young man my ass. I’m almost sure I’m much older than you, asshole. You sound more like the typical condescending know-it-all that most most people avoid at work. I couldn’t find the time to give a shit how I may sound to you. The house of cards at EA Sports is falling, and its about goddamn time too. Hopefully in the near future, gamers will have much better quality choices when it comes to videogame football. If not, they should continue to boycott the crap that we see produced every single year from EA. So…by all means, please go fuck yourself and continue having a shitty life, Dan. Nobody gives 2 shits about what you, or these other EA supporters, have to say.

          • Dan

            You can get along way with your arguments if you weren’t so hostile and profane. People would take you more seriously.

          • TurdalPower

            Is that all you got Dick? Funny I’m sure you’ve heard that plenty of times from females. And yeah since I’m posting in a video game forum there dude with James Bond life who is also posting here hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, the putang must be strong with this one lol

          • TurdalPower

            Yeah? Maybe because we actually bring up a solid point like the other 90% of the people commenting in here have. Maybe you and guest should get a room, maybe Peter Moore is into 3-somes!

          • TurdalPower

            Actually speak for yourself, that’s why you’re only argument is “I know you are but what am I?” variety. Lame guy

          • Unfortunately it’s not about the consumer in this regard. No matter what we think the NFL has the right to sell the licenses related to their properties to whoever they wish. Whether that’s TV, apparel, beer, and so on – they license it to a single party because it makes them more money and they have more control over their interests that way.

            Even if the NFL license was open to all the idea that there would be instant competition isn’t based in reality. The costs involved in licensing, developing, advertising, would prohibit most if not all companies from making that investment. The returns just aren’t there for 2+ games for each sport anymore considering those costs.

          • MackSwagger

            Nobody seems to get this.

          • pissed off guest

            finally, a voice of reason!

          • The difference with beer, TV, and apparel is that the majority of the world’s consumers don’t buy those things because it has an NFL license. Beer and TV aren’t designed to be a respresentation/simulation of Pro Football. Football video games are an entirely different animal; most people won’t touch them without an NFL license.

            As far as development hurdles, that’s really only a problem for development teams that don’t already have a mature engine in place. 2K has one that is still more mature than Madden’s. And advertising money wouldn’t be much of a problem for them, because they never spent much money on advertising their football games in the first place.
            If the NFL license were up for grab’s, I strongly doubt the NFL would charge what they charged EA because the market landscape is completely different than it was in 2004, and the NFL would have to make their money from multiple games again. The NFL isn’t stupid; they know what’s going on.

          • Anyone who wouldn’t want competition in the market place is either working for the company with the controlling interest of the market, or a consumer who is a complete and utter idiot.

        • Christopher5

          Who the hell wouldn’t want the best game every year…you get the best from competition. EA hasn’t had any for a while, and this will bring forth the best game. The have become stale because they know their game is the only option to buy.

          • pissed off guest

            so madden doesn’t have competition? see, this is what i’m not understanding. madden has to compete with every other VIDEO GAME out there. They are competing with Call of Duty, Halo, Assassins Creed, etc. Haha c’mon now.

            Again, I think their games are really fun, I drop 50-100 hours into every football game. And there are about 5 million people that agree with me on this….

          • I guess you never heard of the simple concept of MARKET GENRE.

          • pissed off guest

            so you want to narrow it down that far? to a “football” genre? haha that’s interesting.

          • Christopher5

            I meant in regards to football games you know the genre of the game…

    • wat is stopping people from making a non NFL football game is the fact that if the game is not jaw droppingly amazing and better than madden, it will do shitty… like Backbreaker. i was psyched for backbreaker, then i played it and the cool tackles were not nearly enough to call that football. RB’s falling bc of their own O-lineman, thats not professional football. it was a decent game but a developer can very rarely ace a game if it is a first try at dethroning Madden. madden is finally getting better gameplay so i dont complain too much but this new physics engine they got now could have been done yrs ago if 2K was still in the mix. the NFL have the right to sell rights but the fans r the ones who suffer

      • pissed off guest

        I’ve loved Madden for the past 5 years (before that I thought the game was average at best). I’ve loved NCAA even longer. They’re good games. I think you guys feel all nostalgic towards NFL 2k5 (which is understandable because it was awesome back in the day), and it clouds your judgement. DIdn’t 2k make a game a while back? All pro 2k8 or whatever? How’d that game do again? πŸ™‚

        • Mason Drews

          APF 2k8 was a good game? As far as a true football simulator I don’t think there was anything better.

          • pissed off guest

            it sold about 10 copies….

          • It sold over 400,000 copies.

          • Mason Drews

            and you care why? You’re clearly a EA guzzling fan boy. See that’s where you and the rest of us are completely different… you’re stuck trolling defending your precious “Madden” when the rest of us could care less,,, we just want a good football simulator (something which you know nothing about)… You’re likely the same low character slime ball that ruins Madden year after year abusing game breaking glitches online due to its half assed lame excuse of a football engine.

            Learn football and all of its chess like qualities, then and only then will you appreciate a real mans football game like APF 2k8 you little boy.

          • pissed off guest

            I’m a capitalism and free market fan boy! And i play straight up sim madden and ncaa….

        • Christopher5

          Everyone including myself is upset with these games recently because 2k5 looked and played better than a 2013 version of todays games. How can NCAA 13 or madden still not compare to 2k5? Its sad that they still can’t get the little things right.

          • pissed off guest

            i think you need to go back and play 2k5…seriously it was great 7 years ago but c’mon

          • Crimson

            I think a bunch of EA employees are posting on this site.

          • TurdalPower

            I agree, the one dude is calling consumers selfish for wanting more options and better products. SMH!

          • pissed off guest

            selfish is the wrong word i guess. How about “unreasonable” instead? You, as the consumer, want the best products for the lowest prices. Producers want to make the cheapest goods they can to sell at the highest price possible. Neither is more important than the other, they are constantly trying to find the right balance between quality and prices. It’s not reasonable for you to expect everything to go your way, that’s all i’m saying.

  • MoneyMayweather

    No 2k not happy at all but thanks for the chump change.

  • TurdalPower

    Great news, this company needs to be kicked in the nuts. Now a lot of people are getting cold feet b/c there is a chance they wont make NCAA games in the future? Really? I’ve never played FIFA but this company hasn’t shelled a decent iteration of a sports game since SEGA genesis was out.

    Let the licenses for all the sports be wide open for different companies with BETTER GAME ENGINES take shots. Competition is a beautiful thing, let the company who makes the worst game be rightfully eliminated instead of being forced to have one game. This is great news, wake up.

    • TurdalPower

      By the way, this entire PS3/360 Generation has damn near been wasted on sub-par sports games. Graphics look great, but the gameplay has been stale for years. Graphics get old fast when the game becomes boring.

      • Crimson


      • pissed off guest

        stale? it’s football! there are only so many things you can do with the game!

        • TurdalPower

          Wrong. Games can always get better, games can always improve. Instead, we get constantly get a game where features are taken out, reintroduced, or not improved upon at all.

    • Crimson

      Preach brother!!!!

  • in other words “another yr, and many more for Madden, and only madden”… damn

  • If anyone actually thinks EA wont renew the license for NFL then you are crazy. EA wouldn’t let that get away even if they were ordered to.

    • Keith.

      In case you missed it, EA is nowhere near the same company it was back when the exclusives were first doled out — it’s lost 82% of its value since February 2005. Buying up the license was a big financial mistake for them. They don’t have the luxury of over paying again. Think the new CEO is going to make the same mistakes whenever he’s appointed soon? I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • Its fairly certain EA will re-up with the NFL but I don’t expect the terms to be the same. The price for the exclusive, which the NFL will want, could be way lower now with EA not concerned that anyone else will be able to make a legit push for it.

  • KittenMittons

    jeez EA wont lose NCAA. this just makes competition so that they cant run a monopoly on it. They can still buy the rights its not just for them though, other companies can but rights and get in on the pie. it will make for a better product IMO. do you think theyd have not put in current jerseys if another big company was making a football game to rival? probably not…

  • I thought the whole reason why this suit was filed was because of the NFL license? Yet that’s the license that remains? How does that make any sense???

    • Not necessarily. The suit was about exclusivity, among all football properties, allowing EA to charge higher prices.

      • Wake Up

        Yeah but Madden WAS a game being sold at a higher price. I don’t get how this applies only to NCAA, and AFL but not NFL!? Something’s fishy about that.

        • The whole claim had no merit in that sense though. Madden has sold at the same price as every other high profile game. Just cause 2K dropped their prices for one year – which was always planned to be a one year thing – doesn’t mean EA raised prices. Otherwise 2K should also be sued for “raising” the price on their MLB product after they got the exclusive third party license.

          • Wake Up

            Then when did EA exactly raise the price on their games? If this is a case of exclusivity, then what gives the NFL a “Go Pass”? Am I the only one not understanding how the NCAA, AFL applies and not NFL? Fill me in if you can, because I’m a bit confused.

  • Wake Up

    What I want to know is how much is EA willing to pay to keep the NFL license? I wouldn’t be the least surprised if EA tries to low-ball the NFL, considering all the money EA is losing. I don’t see the deal not getting done though, since this is EA’s biggest asset and knowing if they let another company in, they will most likley be out. What ever the case may be, I can’t stand to not see options for sports titles. Something has to give. I can’t see sales EVER increasing for this series due to the damage that has been done and the non-improvments the game makes over the course of almost a decade. Soon enough we will have choices once again, but the question is, is when?

  • Skihawks

    How in the world do they prove who purchased the games and who didn’t?

  • happy2day

    Cool, I hate what the exclusive mess has done to the sports gaming industry. I lost two of my favorite games to the exclusive mess. NFL 2K and MVP Baseball. I hate EA because they killed my joy of playing football games. They are simply horrible. On the other hand, 2K was and is more of a inventor of new ways to play games than EA or Sony or any of the other names. That is why 2K did not kill my will to play baseball games. There pitching and batting interaction is far greater than anything “The Show” can give you. So, that is the reason why most of us think 2K when we talk about someone that could bring the interest back to football gaming because EA never even tries to do anything other than marketing and Sony has never exceeded on a high level with any sports game other than the Show. They failed with Shootout and all there football games. 2K destroyed real competition with NBA 2K and was well on there way with NFL 2K.

    I will take anyone but 2K is the most qualified to do the job of directly competing and defeating a marketing giant like EA. Hopefully we want be let down with no-one jumping in to NCAA. I personally think the saga will continue. 2K will make College Football and EA will bring back baseball next gen. Hopefully we will all love both products.

  • ea rules!!!!

    long as ea keeps the nfl licences,more games of the year 4 ea!!!who’s with me?pasta let’em know.ea rules!!!!!!!

  • los912

    Can u say ncaa 2k13 lol

  • los912

    Typo I meant 14

  • wolf onatshirt

    So these people who are in the lawsuit get a coupon from EA that is as much as a candy bar and the Lawyers take millions.

    Sounds legit.

  • I dont see how EA can be sued for this. The NFL, AFL and NCAA let them have exclusive rights. They should be being sued as well. What company wouldnt do something to get more money? You dont go into business to break even. Every game is 60 dollars. Not just EA games.

  • Texan

    So this is why EA decided not to rollover NC13’s Sr. Class to Madden 13. I’m sure everyone will say that it’s because of the rtp engine that caused that to happen….right!

  • Tom

    This could be sooooooooooo sick…. NCAA made by 2k could be the next big thing!

  • DonRSD aka PSN DonVCorleone

    NCAA 2k14 πŸ™‚

  • Fuck EA


  • Texan

    If you think this will have any affect on Madden, forget about it. What everyone is over looking is the fact that the NFL holds all the cards, they’re only allowing 1 video game developer a license to make NFL games. Now the only fly in the ointment is the Players Association, EA’s contract with them ends at the end of this year, so that might be interesting. So the only way another software company can step in and get that license will have to out bid EA, that’s not gonna happen. With that being said, watch, EA will get an extention and or another contract with a cheaper deal because they know money wise….No One Can Compete With Them!

  • Texan

    The only good thing to come out of this is, hopefully, the price of the games will drop, because as we all know, they’re not worth $60, $30 tops!

  • paul

    ea market cap is 3.5 billion. but their stock has dropped over 60% since november highs and is at all time lows. so Ea needs to make a great madden 13