EA, NFL Extend Maddenopoly

Electronic Arts announced yesterday that it had tacked an additional three years onto its exclusive license with NFL and NFL Players Association.

In the wake of the deal, brokered by EA exec Peter Moore, no competing product will be able to use NFL team names or logos or player likenesses until at least 2012.

And this is good news?

Here at GamePolitics I’ve bashed the EA/NFL deal repeatedly in the past and will have more to say about this one going forward. In the meantime, it’s important to remember that when competition goes away the consumer – in this case, the gamer – always loses. Always…

In the meantime, we had a laugh at Moore’s assertion to GameDaily that the NFL exclusive is actually a good thing for gamers because it will allow EA to invest in making better games:

BIZ: What would you say to the naysayers out there who believe one choice for an NFL game is not the best thing for gamers?


Moore: This deal allows us to invest. The key is to make sure we’re in a position to invest aggressively in making the most innovative game… As we move forward, it doesn’t stop anyone from doing another football game as 2K proved this past season (with All Pro Football). At the same time, obviously, the ability for us to use the teams, the players, the stadiums and all of the official marks is important.

GP: Spoken like a true pitchman, Peter. By that brand of logic, all monopoly positions would be good for consumers because they generate inflated profits for their respective corporations. But I seem to recall that Madden cost $29.99 when 2K Sports had a competing game and $49.99 as soon as 2K’s NFL license went away.

So, count me among the naysayers. And, yes, I realize that the NFL and the NFLPA are as much to blame as EA.

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  1. 0
    Anonymous says:



     What bothers me is the idea that EA figures with this deal people will buy games blindly and don’t care about innovation or gameplay or product etc..

    It’s like they will put out madden 2008 or 2009 game and if it’s a below average game,they would like what we care-we have no insentive next year to improve ,it sold alot..people bought it,,who cares about the innovation or vastly improving the game.

  2. 0
    Paul says:



     Anti-trust laws are their for one reason to promote competition and in turn they bring innovation.Consumers benefit from this,it brings in that always looking over my shoulder to see what my nearest competetion is doing.How many times does a #2 company come out with something new in design,a new price,or a new package deal..and all of the sudden 1 week later..the #1 company follows right along suit to counter them.

     I think in this day and age,this deal is starting to hurt more than help them..the PR EA has gotten from this seems to be quite strong and growing.I think ij this day and age,or internet and blogs and so much information passed so fast that EA has lost alot more consumers in past few years than they have gained..Word of mouth is powerful thing in the internet age,ESPN 2k5 now is almost expected as one of the best football games ever,I read way more people saying ESPN2k5 was better than Madden.

    The one way to deal with this exclusive deal is not to buy Madden football,I haven;t since 2005,I bought it every up till 2005-that will be the last. ..anyone who dislikes this deal and says it’s unfair don;t buy madden,thats your best revenge.



  3. 0
    Robert says:

    What Sega should do is hog all the NBA and Collage Basketball liceases like EA has done with the NFL and Collage Fopotball lieases. Give EA a taste of it’s own medcine by saying that Ea can never make any Basketbal games ever until the year 3000!

  4. 0
    Seanovan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is a monopoly. It’s like if only Toyota could make cars with four wheels. Sure, people could buy cars with 3 or 5 wheels, but they don’t. Every competitor faces a huge barrier to entry into the market, because people want cars with 4 wheels.

    It’s the same way with the NFL brand. People show up to buy the NFL game in their NFL hats, their NFL jerseys, and, if it’s cold, their NFL jackets. It would be like making a soccer(football) game without any real soccer players(footballers), and having to compete against the game with David Beckham on the box.

  5. 0
    Boffo97 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    *Again*, not that I like the NFL-EA exclusive deal any more than a lot of other people here, as I believe 2K Sports was putting out a superior football game at the time it went through, but to call it a monopoly is ridiculous and lowers the intellectual level of this site.

    ~the1jeffy posted some characteristics of a monopoly, and he is correct, but for those characteristics to ring true here, we have to examine what is a commodity. For the definition of a monopoly, “NFL video game” is not a commodity. “Football Video Game” is not a commodity. “Sports video game” is not a commodity. “Video Game” by itself IS a commodity. And quite obviously, the NFL-EA deal does not in any way, shape or form monopolize video games as a whole.

    Also, it should be noted that if the granting of an exclusive license creates a monopoly, then just about every video game publisher out there who makes a game based upon licensed content is guilty of monopoly. THQ is the only publisher out there allowed to make WWE video games, but nobody notices this situation because WWE always went with an exclusive license (Acclaim before THQ). And pretty much all your movie, comic and TV licenses are exclusive as well.

    Finally, I can’t see how EA can be blamed at all here. Everything I’ve heard says it’s the NFL who wanted to make the big push from multiple licenses to an exclusive license (as is their complete right to do). If EA was stupid enough to have passed on it, 2K Sports surely would have snapped it up.

  6. 0
    Spartan says:

    I guess the fact that their are government jobs associated with sports such as commissioners -etc.. and their are no such positions for games or movies as entertainment venues is where the confusion is coming from for many people. Then their is the whole public funding for facilities and what not on top of that.

    I guess if sports were treated as other forms of entertainment then I doubt there would be issues.

  7. 0
    JBentley ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The ‘NFL’ is an Intellectual Property just like StarWars, Harry Potter, LoTR, and Peanuts (the comic) are.

    Saying this is a “monopoly” leads to the believe that the ‘NFL’ should be ‘forced’ to allow competition. Lets just force Tom Clancy to allow me to create a game based on one of his books then. The NFL is a entertainment creation of a company and as such they have the right to license it to anyone they see fit to.

    Good for them in the long run? Nope. A Monopoly? No, again.

  8. 0
    tony selby ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Tye the Czar

    i really don’t know what you’d expect congress to do in this mater, seeing as it’s all completely legal, it sucks for consumers yes, but it’s not illegal

    the NFL holds the rights to the team names, and the players association holds the rights to the players likenesses, they can sell those licensing right to whom ever they choose, and can fully enter an agreement to not license them to anyone else

    just as Touchstone Pictures licensed the rights to make the Lord of the Rings movies, so nobody else could make any Lord of the Rings movies until that licensing deal runs out, it’s not a monopoly, it’s simple bussiness

  9. 0
    Tye The Czar says:

    I bet when all of the rats have left the sinking ship that the White House is(argue in their favor, then your credibility is dead), hopefully Congress will start doing something about this.

  10. 0
    SolidSnark ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Good for EA and the NFL.

    The repeated assertations that this is somehow a “monopoly” show a complete lack of understanding of the situation. It’s the NFL’s license to do with as they choose and if both EA and the NFL are happy with the arrangement, good for them. No one else has to like it.

    The idea that a license (Be it NFL, Star Wars, Star Trek etc…) needs competing creaters of products or the consumer is somehow being shortchanged makes no sense at all. The NFL is not a public service organization, they’re in it for the money and the if this makes the most business sense they should do it.

    Quite simply there is NO harm to the consumers here. You’re not entitled to a selection of NFL branded videogames and if you don’t like the ones produced, don’t buy ’em. It’s capitalism.

  11. 0
    Spartan says:

    This may be the wrong thread for me to post in but I have to take my jab as EA for all the terrible things it has done to players over years and I’m not talking about anything related to sports titles at all.

    I guess all the new found “love” over the ME travesty is gone now. It is sad really, they could have used it to really change their image amongst older gamers. Oh well I guess you cant teach an old dog new tricks.

    Anyway luckily for me, I passionately hate sports and stories like this give me a pleasant chuckle. For what it is worth, I do have empathy for all you fans however.

  12. 0
    DCOW ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    your talking about a group of people.
    a single person wouldn’t have done this.

    a group of people only interested in themselves and their money now, not looking at the bigger picture are the ones that made this deal

  13. 0
    tony selby ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Ias, Attorney

    “How exactly does the NFL benefit from an exclusivity deal?”

    well theres a saying we like to use around here to describe why the NFL would allow this

    “It’s hard to say no when they drive a dump truck full of money up the driveway”

  14. 0
    GamePolitics ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s not going to fit the legal definition of a monopoly, I’ve been told by people who know these things.

    But I look at these things from the gamer/consumer view and the gamer/consumer gets the shaft whenever competition is removed.

    Moreover, I found Moore’s comment about “naysayers” completely patronizing in a “run along now, we here at corporate know what’s best for you” sort of way.

  15. 0
    GusTavToo ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    On a pedantic note – as EA have an exclusive purchase deal they could be characterized as a ‘monopsony’ with regard to the NFL license (if that was seen as being a market in its own right)
    But its characterization as a monopoly depends on a separate demand side market definition which will necessarily be wider than any IP license involved.

  16. 0
    Xantar says:

    @ jadedcritic

    The NFL does not have a monopoly on football at all. There’s plenty of college football being shown on TV as well. The NFL is merely the only fully professional football organization, but their product (i.e. broadcasts of football games) is produced by plenty of other sources.

    EA’s exclusivity deal IS a monopoly, however. It’s a limited one, but it’s a monopoly in the same sense that having a patent on a particular product gives you a monopoly for the production and sales of that product.

  17. 0
    las, attorney says:

    Dog Welder Says:

    I had guessed that was the reason on paper, but it still doesn’t make any sense. The NFL fanbase will shrink as a direct result of such a move, meaning less merch being sold, and less merch = less money. Maybe the licensing deal was more lucrative, but surely the NFL would have earned more money if they took a small percentage for the profits made from every NFL branded game sold instead of these licensing deals.

    Besides, the NFL doesn’t have to be a heartless corporation and instead take one for the team and put the fans before their own paychecks.

  18. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Earlier, I was watching this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hP7iuoyYJk and they mention two problems that happened: EA control over NFL games ands and Playmakers which the NFL didn’t like and force it’s cancellation (or so they say)

    Why don’t we create alternatives? Yeah yeah yeah, so you can’t have your favorite team/player because they’re owned by the NFL. Big deal, we’ll be getting better games and at the same time maybe even making a point to EA: if we don’t like your games, then we will go elsewhere. Of course then there are the people who will buy it anyway…

  19. 0
    las, attorney says:


    EA mistreats its employees. Fact. Check it out in Google. Several employees have set up anonymous blogs documenting the abuses they faced at EA, and are too scared to use their real names as if EA found out they were telling the truth about them, there’d be hell to pay. Is that the kind of atmosphere you’d want to live in? One of fear? EA ‘claim’ they have since improved working conditions (only after the threat of a class-action lawsuit) but the fact they edited their own Wikipedia page to make it seem there is nothing but sunshine and happiness flying out of their offices makes it seem somewhat suspect.

    Don’t make me laugh by saying hardly any of their games are licensed. I had a quick survey through their catalogue and there was at least one game for everyone letter of the alphabet that was just a turd with a license slapped on it, usually several titles for the most common letters. Yes, THQ’s record isn’t exactly much better, I was just using it as an example of a brand taking their IP away from a company that was tarnishing it and giving it to one that will improve it, which is what the NFL should do.

    EA aren’t going to fuck with Will Wright; he is possibly their greatest asset and any other games publisher would pay out of the nose for him. As soon as they started cramping his style, he’d walk and EA knows it, hence why they’re letting him fuck around with Spore.

    As for helping out on Rock Band and Orange Box, I suppose we should be giving them medals for their services to gaming. Except they weren’t be philanthropic, they were doing it to get rich. As for Skate, I’d say that it was less of taking a risk, more of seizing an opportunity. Ever since THPS3, the games have gone seriously downhill. Gamers are bored of the same engine being churned out over and over again. Skate offered something fresh and was surprisingly good. Add that to EA’s advertising power and you have a new hit game. If I was 13 and I still like skating games, I probably would have chosen Skate over the latest Tony Hawk’s game, because if you play 3, the rest add nothing (except maybe stupid minigames and Grand Theft Auto-esque features that are useless and broken).

    Perhaps EA isn’t as shitty as it used to be, but until it stops making uncompetitive deals like this and actually puts the gamers and developers before their fat-cat execs, then I’m still not buying any of their games.

  20. 0
    Dog Welder ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ias — the NFL benefits because EA is paying far more for the exclusive deal than the NFL was making on having multiple deals. Why do you think EA keeps trying to nickel and dime the Madden fans with downloadable content (extra stadiums, throwback uniforms, etc.) that used to be included as part of the game? Why do you think EA is turning out shitty NFL games like “NFL Tour?” Because they’re trying to make their money back!

  21. 0
    jadedcritic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Something occurs to me. Lot of people throwing around the word monopoly in regards to EA’s access to the NFL. Isn’t the NFL, effectively, a monopoly? Somebody wants to watch football, is there some other option short of going to their kid’s high school games? I guess what I’m saying is that if we think that EA’s license agreement with the NFL constitues a monopoly, I think we should also consider that the NFL is basically the same.

    In regards to that tangent about the NFL closing down church superbowl parties. I’m not too surprised. I heard an urban legend and frankly, I don’t even remember where. Copyright law professor threw up NFL footage on you-tube. Theory was she was trying to make a point. Of course NFL serves a cease and desist, you tube yanks it, and notifies her. She successfully *fights the accusation*. If I remember the law right, if she fights it the other party has 30 days to respond, and and the NFL didn’t. Ergo, the clip went back up. The funny part is, under the law, the next logical step would be to take it to court. They didn’t. They hit you-tube with another cease and desist. Effectively making the teacher’s point for her. (that the precise nature of the law isn’t well understood)

    I don’t know if any of that’s true, but it sounds at least plausible to me. Let’s face it, the NFL bludgeoning people with a copyright law they don’t understand isn’t that hard to believe.

  22. 0
    Insanejedi says:

    I’m absolutely tiered of people bashing EA every time they do something, even EA fully publishing Mass Effect for the PC people think is a bad thing going like “OMG EA, TEH ARE GUNNA RUIN IT!” EA is not that bad anymore as a publisher, they figured out that if we become less conservative people will like us again. Letting developers delay games if they need to and helping other developers that are usually never affiliated with EA itself. The Orange Box was helped by EA, they also help bring out Rock Band. And if you guys are saying that they don’t let people delay games, what about Spore? That thing is being published by EA and there still letting it be allowed to be delayed. People are also saying they don’t take risks, what about Skate? That was one hell of a risk they took going up against Tony Hawk coming with a history of 8 other games and look. It’s outselling Tony Hawk.

    las, attorney the games they put out are rarely licensed games if they aren’t sports games and if you’re going to bash them on that, why don’t you go bash THQ for putting out a bazillion Ratatoie games, Sponge Bob, and broken wrestling games, and for every 20 of those only one Company of Heroes. Even their Warhammer games are not original IP’s.
    Go look at EA’s list of games and tell me how many of them are not licensed games and original IP’s compared to all of the licensed (not including sports) games.

    People saying EA is evil because they buy companies, it’s like what Jeff Gretsmann said, their not going to Bioware and Pandemics offices and drowning a bunch of puppies they have, in fact this is a good thing because it gives both those companies the funding needed to make better RPG’s or interesting shooters.

    Bottom line EA is not that bad of a company any more.

  23. 0
    las, attorney says:

    I don’t understand why the NFL would continue to deal with EA, given their track record of shitty games. Look at WWF/WWE. When they sold the license to Acclaim, they churned out War Zone and Attitude, both of which were turds, so WWF/WWE sold the license to THQ, who have given us the decent Smackdown games.

    How exactly does the NFL benefit from an exclusivity deal? Surely the more licensed football games there are, the more royalties they get? By only throwing their lot in with one company, they’ve minimizing potential revenue and decreasing the size of their fan-base.

  24. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

    I think I am going to step back on my previous points.

    I will continue to say that what they did to 2K was a dirty tactic, but I guess it is business.

    No one is complaining that EA has the monopoly on Harry Potter games. Yet they do.

    The NFL as a business has the rights to choose who to license their brand too. The yhave that right. Whether they should excersize that right with out the approval of the members of their organizations, is another story.

    So as the lisence holder they can do that.

    Also EA as one of the biggest game publishers, has the right to use their mountains of cash to buy what ever exclusive license they want.

    It is an interesting situtation, a monopoly of sorts, but a legal one under copyright laws.

  25. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:


    That isn’t the same because the NFL is not a product of EA. EA is kind of borrowing the image of the NFL(buying it) to make a game about it. It is all about control over IP in the game development realm.

  26. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I can’t say EA is a bad company, well because they aren’t. They have pros and cons but I can’t say they are absolutely terrible.

    I can use one statement to support my theory. Maxis is owned by EA. Enough said. Just wait for Spore, hopefully it will be as amazing as we all think.

  27. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

    I will have to agree with the1Jeffy on this. This is a monopoly.

    Not a monopoly of entertainment.

    Not a monopoly of games.

    Not a monopoly of sports games.

    Not a monopoly of football games.

    But a monopoly on NFL games.

    Fans of football in general have plenty of choices. But fans of the NFL have no choice.

    It is a very narrow monopoly but a monopoly none the less.

  28. 0
    Buckeye531 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I like the Madden NFL series and you can customize a lot in those games. That being said, this is not good for the NFL and for gamers. There are gamers that do not like the Madden series or do not like EA altogether. They will vote with their money and not buy the game.

  29. 0
    las, attorney says:

    Pixelantes Anonymous Says: blah blah blah las, attorney is stupid, blah blah blah

    Ok, EA may have produced a game that wasn’t a complete turd once in a while, but that doesn’t absolve them from over a decade of producing some of the worst games in the world. Most of their games are just pieces of shit that have a license slapped on them (Harry Potter, NFL, LOTR etc.) and the ones that aren’t are terrible. Hell, I’ll be the first to admit that EA do have the potential to produce good games (SSX Tricky was one of the best games I’ve ever played, although 3 and On Tour weren’t as good, therefore proving the pattern that EA establish a fanbase then screw them over).

    However, you cannot just flat out deny that EA make bad games. Most games reviewers begin their reviews of EA Games by going ‘oh great, another EA licensed piece of shit’. EA have had enough money for years to invest and make good games, but instead of using that money and churning out one decent game, they churn out ten shit games and perhaps one not-so-shit game. Their business model is horrible for both their employees and consumers, and only serve to make their highest-paid execs richer.

    When they say ‘invest in making great games’ what they mean is ‘buy out good developers like Maxis, and then waste their talents by churning out condescending pieces of shit like the Urbz, otherwise known as ‘What EA thinks Sims for Black People would look like’. Then as if they couldn’t shit on gamers more, they decide to get even richer by putting ads in games such as Battlefield 2142.

    Needless to say, giving the NFL license to one game is completely uncompetitive and is unfair on both gamers and fans. Now EA has no rivals, it no longer needs to make the games any better, they can just update the roster, slap on ’08 and be happy with it. It’s disgusting.

  30. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I really wish there was some kind of competition in terms of Madden games. I mean it is so abusive to the consumers of these games. $50-60 a year just to basically own the same game with new characters and updated stats, something that can now be done through a download. Honestly, its a rip off. I’m not saying no one should play Madden or it is a terrible game but I am saying is that it seriously lacks any kind of innovation or even change of direction. Slightly prettier graphics and new characters…. now give me your money… trust me its good that we don’t have competition to worry about…

    Competition makes better products. If you don’t have another company breathing down your neck why would you have any motivation to make a better product? You already know people are going to purchase it, why even bother putting effort into it. I mean it is a bad business decision to put extra effort into Madden because it would cost more money and would probably result in loss of profit but at the same time it is a poor art/design decision because its almost the same exact thing as the last version.

    The same rule can apply to console manufacturing. Even politics can relate to this. This is why I don’t want Sony to die because of their poor choices with the design and marketing of the PS3. If it was just Microsoft and Nintendo the quality of consoles would likely begin to drop after a generation. I actually wish someone else would step up and add a fourth entity into the mix. And in terms of politics I am completely fed up with this Republican/Democrat domination to the point where I almost want to not vote for either just because it plays towards a system that is black and white with no gray area. Not everything can follow binary logic.

    While this is good for EA it absolutely terrible for gamers. It really pisses me off. Will it change? Not likely, not until people stop buying Madden. I don’t even think people really like Madden as much as they think. What they like is NFL football and thats the only choice they have in terms of playing an NFL football game.

    I’m going to go play some Mutant League Football…..

    // Sorry for the rant, everyones probably heard someone say the same thing so its becoming about as stagnant as Madden has become.

  31. 0
    Steve says:


    It was cool, but I still have fonder memories of Ice Hockey. The fights in that game were priceless.

    But coming from Northern MN, I’m a huge fan of the NHL games. I had many of the older players as coaches growing up, and played with and went to school with a lot of current and upcoming NHL players. So for me, NHL keeps getting better, because I can actually put my friends on teams without creating them custom.

    Most are still found in the minors, but the newer games include full minor league rosters, so that is pretty awesome.

  32. 0
    Chris says:

    “The NFL branding on a football video game is obviously a major selling impetus, as the arguably technically superior 2kGames fooball video game franchise performed abyssmally in sales numbers. So how is this a viable alternative?”

    Because it is a complete football game and is sold in the same stores as Madden. If it is a reasonable alternative and is equally available it is a viable alternative.

    This alone negates the two criteria you mention. And the availability of other football games is not arguable. There are, in fact, other complete football video games available for any fan of football games.

    I understand that people are upset, me included, at the length of time EA has the licensing rights for the NFL and its properties. But calling this a monopoly is a stretch at best. Let’s just call it what it is: an unfortunate licensing deal for fans of the NFL brand and the associated teams.

  33. 0
    PlayItBogart says:

    Sure, the NFL licenses a lot of things exclusively. That doesn’t make this right.

    Maybe I should explain this to those of you who aren’t sports gamers.

    We watch the NFL. We follow the stories. We buy the merchandise. Of COURSE we want an NFL branded game. In 2003, you had a choice of FIVE different NFL branded video games. Today, it’s just one. What is so different about today that we can only have one NFL game as opposed to a wide variety?

    Yes, APF 2K8 is a nice alternative, but it’s a celebration of football past. It’s not “I’m gonna DESTROY the Giants, unlike SOME real-life Patriots”. As much as I like controlling Joe Montana, during the NFL season, I want to control Tom Brady, and play against other actual NFL teams.

    Football games didn’t always have licenses. Games also didn’t have full 3D capability and audio commentary and the players faces, but that’s the times.

    Yes, we can vote with our wallets, but that doesn’t mean we have to be HAPPY about it.

    I can only update the ESPN NFL 2K5 roster so many times.

  34. 0
    ~the1jeffy says:

    Like I said, if you have an alternate definition of monopoly, please provide it. Your assertion of naivety on my part is obtuse, I usually judge each wiki page on it’s own terms and sources, and use it as a convenient starting point for discourse.

    The NFL branding on a football video game is obviously a major selling impetus, as the arguably technically superior 2kGames fooball video game franchise performed abyssmally in sales numbers. So how is this a viable alternative?

    There is no economic competition for an NFL game. Period. A consumer that wants an NFL game MUST purchase Madden. Period.

    And when deciding to use the term “Monopoly” economists typically use two criteria: 1) Lack of viable alternative 2) Control of price

    Obviously, the assertion that the availability of other football, or sports games constitute viable alternatives is arguable. Of course, this really boils down to liscencing or quality semantics, and really isn’t worth my time.

    Just look at what the prices were before the deal and then after. You can’t argue against that – they are hard numbers. It’s a monopoly. The idea that monopoly is a holy thing only reserved for “important,” and “High Road,” subjects both diminishes video games and, more importantly, allows 2 mega-corporations to continue fleecing their consumers (the majority of whom honestly don’t know about this deal). If you don’t read gamertrade press, you don’t know about the Maddenopoly (Nice one, GP!).

  35. 0
    Ken ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Anyone knows the real reason EA had that deal. They were getting their asses kicked year after year by 2K, so they decided to eliminate the competition.

  36. 0
    Steve says:

    All I can say is that the last NFL 2K was better than Madden. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the last time I bought a football game. They also have an edge in hockey, so I’ll guess we’ll see hockey go strictly EA too.

    All this means is that I will not own a football video game for at least 3 more years.

    I’m not a college football fan, other than I want to see the Gophers win at everything. So I don’t think I’ll find myself buying NCAA.

    I find it hard to get into any sports game that doesn’t have the actual players in it. Except for Super Baseball 2020. I remember loving that game. A foul tip home run was too cool. Plus you could be a total jerk and just bean the guys with the upgraded armor.

  37. 0
    Chris says:

    Monopoly does not apply to this. That’s like saying Pepsi has a monopoly on “Sprite”. What EA has, and I understand why it is upsetting, is an exclusive license. VERY different from a monopoly. There is at least one other completely viable football game on the market, but many football fans want the NFL brand on the game they play. That is a choice the consumer makes, not forced upon them.

  38. 0

    I believe the “monopoly” term is mainly being used along the lines that the EA is monopolizing the NFL license. That license, and the player names/team names/etc. are what typically attracts people to buy the game opposed to other football games where those names are not able to be used. EA played pretty dirty to do that, and set themselves up as being the only producer with the license to use the names.

  39. 0
    LAG (Law Abiding Gamer) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    No argument with the definitions that you’re quoting (although using Wikipedia as an “official” source of definitions is…well…naive?). I have a different definition of some of the terms in your quotes than you do.

    I don’t see that a single video game, or even a family of video games (all NFL games), comprise(s) a market. – Uncheck #1

    I feel that there is plenty of economic competition for Madden, in the form of every other video game available or, if you prefer, every other sports video game available. – Uncheck #2

    I feel that there are plenty of viable substitute goods, such as books, other video games, etc. (see above). – Uncheck #3

    Just my opinions of course. Take ’em as you will. I’ll restate, I’m not being an apologist for anything that the parties named in the article have done. I think that Moore has mischaracterized the deal, and in the end it will only benefit EA’s, the NFL’s, and the NFL PA’s bottom lines. However, I disagree with throwing around terms as serious as monopoly in cases such as this. Let’s reserve them for cases where the terms actually apply, and maintain this site’s reputation as following the “high road”.

  40. 0
    Chris says:

    Seems a cut and dry monopoly to me.

    “persistent situation where there is only one provider of a product or service in a particular market” – Check.

    2KGames invalidates this.

    “Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide” – Check.

    2KGames makes a profit on their series of Football games

    “and a lack of viable substitute goods” – Check.

    2K Games All-Pro Football 2008: rated ’75’ on Metacritic
    Madden 08: rated ’85’ on Metacritic

    Both games completely viable football games in the market.

    EA does not have a monopoly, they have a licensing deal.

  41. 0
    ~the1jeffy says:

    LAG (Law Abiding Gamer),


    Seems a cut and dry monopoly to me.

    “persistent situation where there is only one provider of a product or service in a particular market” – Check.

    “Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide” – Check.

    “and a lack of viable substitute goods” – Check.

    If you have a different definition of monopoly, I am all ears.

  42. 0
    SithLibrarian says:

    There’s been quite a bit of “WTF EA?” going around lately. I still can’t believe that EA, a major publisher and player in the game biz (regardless if you hate ’em, you’ve gotta give them credit) will be releasing games based on Hasbro licenses. I mean, Littlest Pet Shop? NERF? Shovelware at beast. I’d love to see Peter Moore’s spin on those.

    WTF EA?

  43. 0
    ronniebarzel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “This never should have been allowed to happen. The FTC should have stepped in at one point.”

    Unfortunately for gamers, exclusivity licenses between professional sports leagues tend to be the rule rather than the exception. What exactly could the FTC have said? “You can’t have just one video game deal, but, oh yeah, the Official Soft Drink/Pizza/Car Insurance/etc. deals can stay”? If the FTC didn’t have a problem with Pepsi/Pizza Hut/State Farm/etc. getting their own exclusive deals with the league, how could they raise an objection to EA doing the same?

  44. 0
    jadedcritic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Mixed thoughts. Like many I have a vague seething sense of contempt for EA, but I can’t blame them. Not really. I still remember Peter’s presentation from the last E3. He bragged allot about how x360’s strategy for that year was around his triple-play. Halo3, Madden, GTA. Of course, since then GTA4 still isn’t out, but he wasn’t wrong about Madden. It makes $$$$$$$$$.

    Actually the one thing that gave me the most pause about this article and the comments is what Overcast said.

    “That’s ok – I’d rather not play a team in the NFL anyway. I wouldn’t want to hassle with all that pay, team members landing themselves in jail, and telling my fans they can’t let friends watch the game on their TV, because it’s copyright infringement.”

    ….say what??….

    can’t let friends what the game on their TV, because it’s copyright infringement….
    (I can’t even frame an intelligent response to that without swearing. )

  45. 0
    kurisu7885 says:

    Another thing that gets me, with no competition it’s almost assured that Madden’s quality will drop as EA has no motivation to make the game stand out any more as it’s the only game in town.

  46. 0
    Pixelantes Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m not a big fan of EA either with what the ea_spouse story and the monopolistic contracts they’re so fond of.

    However, to go from there to what “las, attorney” says about EA games is…hmm…how should I put this…stupid.

    Some of their sports games might’ve lacked a little oomph lately, but certainly not all of them. NHL 08 was by far a better product than the lackluster NHL 2K8. Funny how competition does bring innovation.

    Burnout Paradise that came out about a month ago is a FANTASTIC game. It’s innovative, wonderful to play, looks great, sounds great and just a whole lot of fun. And it’s like the 10th iteration of that franchise.

    So EA can certainly produce great games when they want to. It’s just that their Madden (and most sports franchises) team hasn’t seemed to want that for a long time.

  47. 0
    LAG (Law Abiding Gamer) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I never made any statement that alludes that EA’s exclusive license was good for anyone other than EA and the NFL. I cannot disagree with the position that ultimately this will lead to a sub-standard game. I can’t even say that this will be good for gaming in general (but neither can I say the opposite).

    What I am saying is that this is not a monopoly situation. There are alternatives to Madden, if your life isn’t ruled by NFL football. Even if it is, you don’t have to play Madden…it’s not a necessity of life. You _can_ vote with your wallet and not buy the game. The choice is yours. If people don’t buy, EA and the NFL will rethink their deals. So far, enough people continue to buy the game that they haven’t reached the point of worry.

    Please don’t misrepresent my perspective. Your assertion that my “…perspective is that EA is doing good by increasing its profit margins at the cost of competition and a decent game” is completely unsupported. I have no love for Peter Moore, EA, or any other entity involved here, and I have not made any statements that should lead you to believe that. However, neither can I hate them for making what appears to be a sound business decision. I think that your characterization of the NFL/NCAA football video game segment as a “market” is putting a bit of a stretch on the meaning of the term. The video game market is much larger…even if you define the sports video game segment as a market, there are alternatives to Madden.

    I’m sorry that the situation detracts from your gaming enjoyment. I have no doubt that many people are very upset by this, and I can see why. However, characterizing this as a monopoly situation only hurts the credibility of people whose opinions and integrity I generally highly respect. In the end, I’m convinced that taking that position will hurt the cause.

  48. 0
    Colonel Happablap ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ve never really been a big fan of the Madden games, but my roommate buys the newest version every year, and I’ll sit and watch him play. The year they took the Madden commentary out of the game was the year that it started to suck. Watching the gameplay also made me realize that, along with some of the other posters, the functionality is really going downhill, since EA can do what they want.

    On the other hand, where the hell is there MVP Baseball? Wasn’t one of the other major companies the only that had an official MLB license? EA had to put out college baseball games, and they were still a thousand times better than any other game. Why am I not playing that and having to get stuck with games like Power Pro?

  49. 0
    Evan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Just because I have the choice to not buy something does not make it acceptable for the product to be total crap. There used to be a viable alternative with the 2K series, but since EA bought the NFL and ESPN rights it is gone. Sure, I can vote with my wallet and not buy, but decreased Madden sales have done nothing to deter EA from this strategy.

    Your perspective is that EA is doing good by increasing its profit margins at the cost of competition and a decent game. My perspective is that they are monopolizing the market (they own the NCAA Football license too) which directly and negatively impacts the gamer.

    I am honestly surprised that more people aren’t more upset.

  50. 0
    lordlundar says:

    Yes, make etter games, right. The bug-riddled-on-every-release of Madden 08 is the prime example of this monopoly helping them make better games.

    Oh lookie! there’s a pig flying outside my house in -20C weather too.

  51. 0
    LAG (Law Abiding Gamer) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Peter Moore’s job is to make money for the EA investors. He’s done his job very well by inking this deal. Don’t blame a man for doing his job. Same goes for the NFL and NFL PA. They are doing what they feel is good for their interests.

    I don’t buy the “No competition” thing. Video games aren’t food, or fuel, or some other commodity that is vital to life (I know some hardcore NFL fans may argue that point). There’s no monopoly here. If you don’t like paying $49.99 for Madden, don’t. Simple as that. Buy something else instead. As soon as people don’t buy the game, guess what…EA drops the price, the NFL and NFL PA realize that it wasn’t as sweet a deal as they thought, and the licenses go out again. Ultimately it’s the fans who bear the responsibility here, as they’re the ones demanding digital representations of their heroes. The gameplay would be no different if the players were fictional.

    It won’t happen that way I know, because for many folks $49.99 isn’t a lot of money to pay for a game that they like with their gridiron gods on full display. People will pay it and EA will keep their license, because people are willing to pay, not forced to pay. There are other entertainment options available. That’s not a monopoly, it’s market forces. I usually agree with Dennis on things, but I think that this one is going a bit overboard.

    Alrighty, flame on!

  52. 0
    Simon Roberts ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think if they’re allowed to hold an exclusive contract on the NFL, they should be forced to pick one up for the CFL as well. I’m serious, I want a game where I can take Kerry Joseph and the Riders to the Grey Cup. (‘Course, I want a team back here in Ottawa too, but one miracle at a time.)

  53. 0
    finaleve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I can’t say i don’t buy EA games. Last one I got was Skate (and that was amazing since the Tony Hawk series went downhill after THUG). EA can produce some quality games, but not as often as they do the crappier ones. Madden is among the crappier ones…

    EA should seriously run their business as an online service. Download the updated rosters, game modes, and whatever else EA does to the game (not much I’m sure). It would seriously save them the money as well as rake in a lot more.

  54. 0
    chadachada ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I hadn’t played a good football game since Blitz 2000, well there was NFL Street…but I will admit that this doesn’t seem like a good idea for EA or NFL, to hog all the licenses for themselves…

  55. 0
    kurisu7885 says:

    Innovation is something hardly ever seen in a sports game, especially not in an EA game. I bet if EA has their way you won’t be able to go to Gamestop without seeing the EA logo plastered on all the game cases.

  56. 0
    Overcast says:

    EA sold their last product to me when I bought the most recent Sims Expansion and had nothing but trouble with it.

    This just further presses that home. EA is far too ‘corporate’ for me anymore. But yeah – names or not, a good football game will shine and a crappy one will fail.

    That’s ok – I’d rather not play a team in the NFL anyway. I wouldn’t want to hassle with all that pay, team members landing themselves in jail, and telling my fans they can’t let friends watch the game on their TV, because it’s copyright infringement.

  57. 0
    Shaesyco ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    i have hated EA ever since they published a watered down version of NBA live 08 for the Wii. EA needs to realize that complete dominance doesn’t equal better game.

  58. 0
    Predatorian234 says:

    NFL 2K5 won my heart. EA took that away from me. Luckily APF2K8 is still an amazing game, regardless of the lack of NFL license.

    It only sucks that I can’t play as my Bears, but its a worthy sacrifice to play a superior football game. At least in my eyes.

    I just hope EA doesn’t pick up that Back Breaker technology. Have you guys seen that? It could really change football games as we know it.

  59. 0
    Dog_Welder ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The Madden franchise has become one of the most uninspiring, uninnovative game franchises on the market. People buy it out of habit and because it’s now the only football game on the market. I’ve not touched it in years because, even after all this time, the gameplay remains uninspiring and unrealistic. They work to add more signature tackles and end zone dances, update the rosters, and change the year and cover art to get it to market while ignoring core game flaws that have been present for years. If this is “good for gamers,” then I’m the Pope.

    I’ll also point out that Peter Moore said the EXACT SAME THING when the original deal was signed. Since then, the franchise has flatlined. Spare us the bullshit, Peter.

    (NOTE: I didn’t buy the All Pro Football game either…lack of a franchise mode killed it for me.)

  60. 0
    WarOtter ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well to be fair, any company would do somersaults if they managed an exclusivity deal with the NFL. If Activision or Ubisoft were offered the same deal, they would, without a doubt jump, at it.

    I’m not supporting the move by any means, but when you answer first and foremost to the shareholders, you have to consider the moves that may be unpopular but will net a greater profit. Of course this is the type of mentality that has to change in the business world, but don’t look for it too soon.

    I think more shame should be placed for the NFL allowing its lawyers to broker this deal, as well as the whole suing churches with screens larger that 55″. The NFL as a business entity speaks volumes for the ‘lawyers run the show’ mentality.

  61. 0
    turokwarrior1 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I do not think that greatly of EA after they did not release Thrill Kill after me and several other fans of fun brutal games was looking forward to Thrill Kill. They just had to cancel the game a few days before release to have a different image of their company rather than think about the people excited to get the game. Now alot of people that was excited about Thrill Kill do not have a good image of the company anymore.

  62. 0
    Bill ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Considering that they willingly shovel over their cash year after year for marginal upgrades, I would say that they aren’t the sharpest tacks in the box.

    Funny thing is, when VC was yet to release their all pro series EA all of a sudden came out with a markedly improved version of Madden. Amazing how even perceived competition can get people off their ass.

    Of course now that All Pro went down in flames I expect the next Madden to be little different from its predecessor.

  63. 0
    Blitz Fitness ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Those who have been around a while know that I have kept from ostracizing this deal, and even supported it in some circumstances, but this deal actually surprised me. I had assumed that the NFL would ‘play the field’ a bit more after that last match-up specifically because of the backlash against EA (and to a lesser extent, the NFL themselves). Looks like I was wrong and EA must be making it a pretty sweet deal.

    However, I hope that other game company’s reactions are a bit more…supple…this time around. There were a whole lot of promising new takes on the genre when the original deal was finalized, yet we ended up with a whole lot of nuthin’. Lets remember to save some criticism for the other companies, too.

  64. 0
    las, attorney says:

    “Invest in making better games.”

    Bullshit. EA have been rich as kings for about a decade now, and the last good game they produced was FIFA 94 for the Sega Mega Drive. EA has a proven track record of making the world’s shittiest games, and the fact they are still rich and still making shitty games means that there is no reinvestment, they are just lining their fat exec’s pockets with even more cash while their developers are paid peanuts, work in horrible conditions with no rights and given ridiculous deadlines meaning shitty games and broken, tired developers. EA is a travesty.

  65. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

    Count me as one of the Nay syares as well. The NFL thing was the biggest reason why I chose to never buy an EA game again.

    The fact that they had the balls to play dirty when the competition created a superior product.

    This never should have been allowed to happen. The FTC should have stepped in at one point. But who has the resourses to take on EA?

    It would be nice if the fans of football games would take an interest in these dealings, but I guess they are too willing to be screwed over.

  66. 0
    RonnieBarzel ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Something occurs to me. Lot of people throwing around the word monopoly in regards to EA’s access to the NFL. Isn’t the NFL, effectively, a monopoly?” — Jadedcritic

    Actually, you are correct. Not only was the league found to be a monopoly in the USFL’s ’85/’86 lawsuit, but it is also the beneficiary of an antitrust exemption that allows the league to combine its various teams’ broadcast rights into those big-dollar packages sold to CBS/Fox/NBC/ESPN. Sen. Specter, in his recent pre-Super Bowl tirade about Spygate, threatened to have Congress take another look at that exemption.

  67. 0
    Evan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah this is extremely bothersome. Sega’s DC NFL games were very competent competitors to shoddy Madden games, and the 2K series that spawned from it was solid. NFL 2k5 is hands down still the best NFL game I have played, period.

    Unfortunately EA swallowed up ESPN and the NFL.

    I have Madden 08, it is an ok, but not great game. Madden’s next gen games are worse in terms of functionality as compared to the older titles. I can only surmise this is because of a total lack of competition.

  68. 0
    PHOENIXZERO ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The NFL is more to blame than EA is. Peter Moore wasn’t working for EA when the deal was originally signed. But he’s still a massive tool, his work at Sega and Microsoft are more than enough to prove that.

  69. 0
    cppcrusader ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This isn’t surprising at all. Why would the NFL play the field at all? EA is willing to pay piles of money to have the monopoly, and people flock to the Madden title in droves every year for nothing more than an updated roster.

    What reason would the NFL have to allow others to use the license? The fans? They sure as shit don’t give a damn about the fans. The NFL has proved that many times over, especially this past season with moving the majority of the games off of network TV. And have you ever actually listened to the their copyright warning? I still don’t see how writing about the game is licensable.

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