Spirited Courtroom Argument Highlights Madden Monopoly Case

As GamePolitics reported last June, a class-action suit filed against Electronic Arts  alleges that game consumers were penalized by EA’s exclusive licensing deal with the NFL and NFLPA.

Pecover vs. Electronic Arts claims that the EA-NFL-NFLPA deal essentially created a Madden Monopoly, killed off Take Two’s excellent NFL2K series, and significantly jacked up prices for consumers of pro football games. Here at GamePolitics we’ve been saying the same thing for years.

As it now stands, the case is scheduled for trial on September 14th in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. In the meantime, GamePolitics has obtained the just-released transcript of arguments made by lawyers in the case before Judge Vaughn Walker on November 4th of last year.

While the middle section of the 48-page transcript bogs down into legalese that will appeal only to attorneys, the transcript is otherwise full of lively and informative banter. Notably, Judge Vaughn seems receptive to the plaintiff’s argument – or, at least not dismissive of the consumer view.

In the transcript excerpts below the players are Judge Vaughn Walker (left), attorney Stuart Paynter for plaintiff Jeffrey Pecover, and attorney Daniel Wall for EA.

THE COURT: All right. Now, tell me, Mr. Paynter, do I understand the complaint to allege that each of these license agreements with NFL, NCAA Football and Arena Football are all exclusive license agreements?

MR. PAYNTER: That is correct, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Now, when Take-Two Interactive, the Sego [sic] company, first marketed its branded football video game, I assume it had a license?

MR. PAYNTER: Yes, Your Honor. I hope so. Yes. From the NFL, yes… [from the] the Players Union.

THE COURT: And similarly, it’s your allegation that Electronic Arts had a license with the NFL… But neither of these licenses, prior to 2000 — is it 2004? … were exclusive licenses? …Then, in 2004, the beginning of 2004, Electronic Arts entered into exclusive licenses with NFL, NCAA and Arena Football? Is that it?

MR. PAYNTER: Your Honor, it was actually, I believe, toward the end of 2004 that they entered into new licenses. It was during 2004 that they were forced to lower their prices as the result of the release of the 2K5 game.

THE COURT: Let’s just talk about the licensing first. My guess is it was December of 2004, was it, when the first of these exclusive licenses was entered into? …And that was with NFL, correct?

MR. PAYNTER: That was, I believe, simultaneously with the NFL and the NFL Players’ Union…

THE COURT: All right. I don’t follow these things too closely. Now, are there any other branded football games?

MR. PAYNTER: Your Honor, I believe… that the Take-Two does have a game that utilizes some former players. I believe that that is the case, Your Honor. I do not believe they are or could be any football, interactive football software utilizing NFL, Intellectual Property or Players Union Intellectual Property [other than EA].

THE COURT: These are individual football players?

MR. PAYNTER: I believe, Your Honor. And again, Your Honor, I don’t know this for a fact, but I believe that’s the case, that these are… they have a game (GP: Take Two’s regrettable All Pro Footbal 2K8). You know, I think we would — we don’t believe it’s commercially successful or viable or a competitor, but I think they do offer a game that uses ex-players. You know, players who aren’t part of the Players’ Union agreement. And I believe, although I’m not positive, that that is sort of a diminishing pool of
25 players, I think.

THE COURT: You could probably find some of them up with Judge Allsup… at the moment…

GP: This is a bit of judicial humor on the part of Judge Walker. At the time of this hearing, the trial in which  NFL retirees alleged that their former union, the NFLPA, had screwed them out of Madden royalties was going on in another courtroom.

Hit the jump for the rest of the excerpted transcript.

THE COURT: at any rate. All right. So do I understand the basic theory that you’re pursuing is that Electronic Arts has signed up all of the football organizations that offer brands or video games that
create a market for branded football video games?

MR. PAYNTER: Well, Your Honor, I think the market is  simply interactive football games. Because our allegation, Your Honor, which we believe is true, there is essentially no market for a game that isn’t branded with an actual sports league… People just simply —

THE COURT: They won’t buy it.

MR. PAYNTER: They won’t buy it. Or if they do, maybe it’s a separate small market, Your Honor. But our — there is just really no — they are not viable competition. There is no competitive pressure Electronic Arts sees on branded games where no one wants to just play — be a generic  quarterback. It has to be connected with a real-life team and real-life players.

THE COURT: Okay. I think I understand that allegation… I don’t think it’s material to the case. But why would that be?

MR. PAYNTER: Your Honor… there’s, you know, perhaps certain games where, you know, people participate in themselves… I think, in that type of game, that it needs to be based on actual sports leagues. And I think the proof of that, Your Honor, is the fact — is the pricing evidence. If that wasn’t the case, Your Honor, [EA] wouldn’t have been able to dramatically raise their prices again after they had successfully foreclosed the market.

THE COURT: …So that’s very helpful, Mr. Paynter.

GP: Next up is attorney Daniel Wall, representing EA.


— what’s wrong with this complaint? It seems like a pretty solid theory, doesn’t it? Your client has essentially foreclosed any competition for these games if, in fact, there is a separate market for branded football video games.

MR. WALL: …They’re complaining about the acquisition of three league football licenses, so they have drawn a circle around that and defined the market… But we think the market is much broader, includes other kinds of sports games…

THE COURT: Well, the plaintiffs’ theory, as I understand it, and the reason I had that little dialogue with your friend, Mr. Paynter, is that what your client has done is to enter into exclusive license agreements with all of the parties who can provide a brand to brand this video football software and foreclose any competition in what they contend is a separate market. Putting aside whether or not they’ll be able to prove a separate market or not… But isn’t that, as stated in the complaint, a viable claim?

MR. WALL: Not even close.

GP: Plaintiff’s attorney Paynter is once again up:

MR. PAYNTER: In our case, Your Honor, in addition to monetary damages, our clients, for example, suffered antitrust injury in the sense that they don’t have a choice of alternative games now, higher-quality games. And the quality of Electronic Arts’ games, now that it’s not in a competitive market, Your Honor, would have suffered…

THE COURT: I know absolutely nothing about video games, but how in the world would the quality of a video game be affected in this fashion?

MR. PAYNTER: Well, in the same way that, any time, Your Honor, a market becomes uncompetitive, there’s not the same incentive by the entity that’s monopolized the market to continue to invest in that product. And you know, I’m not a video game player, either, Your Honor… But my  understanding is, you know, there are websites out there that review these games. And you know, we have alleged that, at the time, that the Take-Two game was widely viewed as a higher-quality game, presumably, Your Honor, in terms of the graphics.

THE COURT: Maybe that would be fun, a fun issue for us to decide or allow a jury to decide that. We could have a lot of fun in this case….

THE COURT: Why are consumers harmed by the corralling all of the licensors, as you allege Electronic Arts has done, as opposed to the competitive harm that Mr. Wall speculates about that might befall Arena Football and the NCAA and these subsequent licensors?

MR. PAYNTER: Well, precisely, Your Honor. He speculates about it because that’s all he can do, speculate about it; whereas, the consumer harm for consumers is clear. They were able to buy interactive football software for, you know, $19, and now they’re paying $60 as a result of this — as a result of this conduct. And you know, look, Your Honor, we’re not — we’re certainly not saying that exclusive licenses are always anticompetitive. There may be competitive reasons to sign
them… one would have to weigh the, as one always does, the pro-competitive affects against the
anticompetitive affects…

The difference between a five-year acquisition [such as EA’s NFL license] and a permanent acquisition, Your Honor, is simply a matter of degree in the sense that, you know, Electronic Arts would be able to jack up their prices for a longer period of time, harming more consumers. But from the perspective of a consumer right now, Your Honor, for the term of a five-year agreement, which is not by any means a short-term agreement, is precisely the same. And what I mean by that, Your Honor, is if you look at it from a perspective of a consumer right now in a store thinking about
buying Madden ’09, there is not a single consumer there sitting in the store thinking to themselves that, you know, "Madden is really overpriced right now, so why don’t I wait until 2012 and maybe the price will come down, you know, if some other competitor enters the market?" So from a perspective of a consumer right now, Your Honor, these might as well be permanent acquisitions….

(additional argument takes place at some length…)

THE COURT: So that means we wouldn’t have a jury trial. We would have a bench trial. It would be a lot easier to play the games.

MR. WALL: It would be, yeah. We would only need one machine. It would be much better. But we would have a bench trial where what? Your Honor is going to assess the relative quality of games before and after exclusivity contracts? That should be interesting.

THE COURT: I’m up for any challenge.

MR. WALL: Well, it would be quite a challenge. I’ll observe — not that it matters at this point. But it probably should be universally understood that quality increases under exclusivity. That’s one of the reasons people have exclusives, because it creates the incentive to invest more in quality…

There is no allegation that we conspired with Take-Two. There is no allegation that the NFL conspire[d] with the AFL or the NCAA. The only action [claim]offered, is that, on three separate bidding occasions, Electronic Arts showed up and bid for what was offered, and it won. And that’s what is [alleged to be] illegal, that it won. It’s [allegedly] anticompetitive to win three times. That’s the theory of this case….

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab your copy of the full transcript here.

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  1. 0
    insanejedi says:

    You can’t use that though because internet is a necessity for anyone in modern society to function with everyone else. So there must be competitive natures between ISP’s. Madden is not a necessity for anyone in modern society to function, so therefore it is actually allowed for a Madden monopoly to exist.

    Anti-trust suits agian are on the basis of no or lackluster competition and the basis for necesssity. How are these decided? In court rooms. The defendent must prove there is competition or their product is not necessary to function in modern life, and the opposition must prove that there is no competition AND there is a necessity for this product for you to function in modern society.

    Therefore you cannot have a zero competition industry in the following….








    -and more


  2. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    The Following is a pure hypothetical.

    So let me ask you: Let us say you have the option to be serviced a Triple Play deal by Verizon, AT&T, or Comcast. Now lets say (I don’t know their true pricing scales so bear with me here) Comcast is the most expensive and Verizon is the least expensive of these with AT&T being the median. Now all of these options are available to you at the drop of a hat (I know, in an ideal world, like I said… bear with me, please).

    Let’s say you desire to go with Verizon. You call them up and inform them to schedule an installation. They schedule for the end of the month. Cool.

    Now (And this has been done), in this time period, let’s say your Homeowners Association decides to make an exclusivity deal with Comcast that all persons in the neighborhood must be serviced by Comcast. Of course, for arguments sake, this deal will only be valid for 5 years.

    How do you feel after this? Because now, Comcast has no competition in your area and can, and (as history has shown us) will, raise its prices on its services it also sets the limit for how much of the service you can and cannot consume while neither AT&T nor Verizon limited its users. Of course you’ll likely having no legal standing to sue as this is the home owners association you agreed to be a part of upon your taking up residence. Additionally, you can’t just leave the association by not paying your Homeowners Association Fee since they can then put a lien on your home. So your option is either a) Comcast, or b) Nothing. Or of course, maybe you have a nice neighbor who leaves their Access Point open and you get a satellite service.

    Remember, it’s only for 5 more years. How do you feel?

    Papa Midnight

  3. 0
    insanejedi says:

    But what matters is not what the customer thinks is a monopoly. What matters is what the courts think LEGALLY if it’s a monopoly. To you and I, it’s basically a monopoly, but legally says otherwise.

  4. 0
    insanejedi says:

    Yes, but the point is, is that these lawsuits are on the basis of "no competition" or "no suitable competition" and the fact that "the products or services are necessities of life" railroads were very important for jobs, travel, and delivery. So it makes sense if there was one.

  5. 0
    Father Time says:

    Wasn’t there also one for railroad giants? I could’ve sworn reading that those laws were made as a reaction the business practices of the railroad companies of the 19th century.

    You know back when there either were no cars or they weren’t powerful enough to transport goods efficiently from one state to another.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  6. 0
    insanejedi says:

    Legally, for an anti-trust suit to succeded, they have to have one of two things. A comperable product does not exist, and it has to be a necessity.

    A comperable product to Madden does not really exist in the year 2009, true. But because Madden is not a necessary product of life, it actually doesn’t matter. A comparason was made from him to example this. There were 3 major anti-trust suits. Oil (rockafeller), Telephones (Bell, and OS software (microsoft). The last which has yet to prove out of yet, but all of them didin’t have competition from a comperable product, and all of them were basically necessities of society to exist. Because Madden is essentially a luxary and not a necessity of society, (or not proven yet) it cannot LEGALLY be defined as a monopoly.

  7. 0
    Thomas McKenna says:

    Right, but saying things like "you know," "uhhh," and "ummm," tend to make your position seem not as strong and thus hurts your argument.  It’s the difference between an assertive tone and a lack luster one.

  8. 0
    Father Time says:

    "I dunno, I think the EA guys have a point here.  Can somebody sue CTV (or the US equivalent channel) for buying the rights to the next two Olympics broadcasts?"

    I sincerely doubt that the coverage would be that much different if it were done by NBC, CBS, Fox Sports, etc. It’s the same event right?

    "How about suing Wal-Mart for their exclusive album deal with AC/DC?"

    Not a good analogy, EA has exclusive deals with the NFL, college football and even the lesser known leagues like arena football. AC/DC isn’t the only rock band out there.

    I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know what these conditions mean (if anything) for the monopoly claim.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  9. 0
    SimonBob says:

    I dunno, I think the EA guys have a point here.  Can somebody sue CTV (or the US equivalent channel) for buying the rights to the next two Olympics broadcasts?  How about suing Wal-Mart for their exclusive album deal with AC/DC?  It shouldn’t be necessary to bring suits to bear against an inferior product; the market should be able to speak for itself.  The only reason it’s really happening here is because the EA Sports division is such a massive cash cow, it’s considered unfair — but that seems more like an antitrust thing to me, or something.  (I admit I’m not all up on the legalese.)

    But if Take Two really wants to make a football game, the CFL is still up for grabs.  C’mon, guys, you know you want to give old man Roberts his Montreal Alouettes in digital form!  (Achievement Unlocked: Final Futility — lose the Grey Cup in 5 of the last 9 championship games.)

    The Mammon Industry

  10. 0
    Father Time says:

    Indeed if that were true we’d probably see a movement from people other than the big free market types to get rid of monopoly laws.

    Or maybe I’m putting too much faith in the people’s interest in economics.

    Although yes it is indeed BS. With competition people need to either improve their products, improve marketing or something or they’ll lose marketing share.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  11. 0
    Joran says:

    Good to see I wasn’t the only one who picked up on that.  Completely agree, I thought the "invisible hand" of capitalism believes that competition breeds quality.

    BTW, off-topic, but the $65 million dollar pants suit was dismissed and the plantiff lost his job as an administrative judge.  Sanity won.

  12. 0
    JC says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if EA can attempt to prove that… The fact that there are three console manufacturers competing for our money is the reason there are tons of great games and features on the consoles.

    Let’s not forget their quality from year to year on the game franchise at hand… Hopefully consumers or the plantiffs can inform their lawyer about DLC that sold manual instructions and replay videos that were previously free in the past among the assortment of bugs that plague each release more and more.

  13. 0
    Warfare says:

     The problem is that everyone is assuming that EA used its "power" to go after the NFL license. 

    It was the NFL that offered their property up for exclusive license. An offer that was incidentally bid on by Take Two and other companies as well as EA. 

    Can EA afford to offer more than almost any of the other bidders. Obviously they were. But can they be blamed? If you were EA and Madden was one of your flagship titles, are you going to allow Take Two to win the bid for exclusive rights that make your game possible? No one would do that. It is not EA’s fault that they can afford pay more than anyone else. 


    And you are incorrect about the prices changing in the manner you are talking about. I managed a Gamestop around the time this happened. EA lowered their price due to the lower price point of Take Two’s game. When agreement was signed, the price for the current game did not shoot back up. However, the next years game did indeed come out back at the normal $49.99 that all new games come out at at the time. There has never been a Madden game for higher than that except for the collectors edition, until the next gen version came out (Xbox360 and PS3). And they were the same $60 that all 360 and PS3 usually launch at. 

    Now whether or not EA has "done enough" to justify coming out with a new game every year at full price is subjective. Obviously many love the game, while others feel like they got duped into buying the same game again. Yet, they continue to buy it every year. Yet. this is the samething that can be claimed about ANY company that releases games as part of any kind of series. They can hardly be sued for it. 

    In the end, the only way they will learn is if their sales drop. Nothing hammers home a point better than that. You can claim people complaints all day, but all they are are the complaints of a vocal minority, as EA sees that their sales numbers prove. 

    Whether we like it or not, EA did nothing illegal or immoral in regards to its actions in signing exclusive rights. Now, whether or not they can do more to improve their game every year is another story, though I am not sure it is one that any legal action be taken against.

  14. 0
    DeepThorn says:

    They don’t change much.  I claim that 08 and 09 do not change enough.  It is one thing to have the same graphics, and some of the same textures, but when you have the same animations as well, what else was added to 09 from 08?  (Honest question, I am not implying that nothing else was added.  I just quit buying the game after things didn’t change as much.)

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
    How to set Xbox 360 Parental Controls

  15. 0
    JC says:

    However, Mr. Paynter notes that these aquisitions may as well be permanent since they have to wait until 2012 for hopes that competition shows up, which it may not because of the 5-year hiatus and likely lack of funds for a project. So to the consumer, it may as well be a permanent aquisition.

    It can only be amplified by the fact that prices have shot up and quality has supposedly gone down during the last several years. As it stands, the last one was suppose to be temporary too, but it has happened yet again, no?

    I think the plantiff has a decent case on this, but it is going to be difficult for the plantiff to explain to the judge how the quality has gone down since he himself doesn’t know much about video games.

  16. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    Would you or your friend wish to express this to Microsoft?

    No offense, but duration or time period does not stipulate what is and what is not a monopoly. Slight breif lesson in Econ here: When one person or one group (i.e. a corporation) has sufficient control over a specific sector of the market (in this case, Electronic Arts and Football video games) that they have effectively shut out the market of substitute goods and/or services (A competing title); which then allows them to set the pricing or terms by which another person may make use of the sector of the market they control (Note the pricing scale Madden NFL slid up and down and back up on as they had competition from 989 Studios / 989 Sports and Take Two prior to and after shutting both out of the market). It is then in which you have a monpoly.

    Several companies have been greeted by this nice little factor:

    Microsoft, Standard Oil, and yes, even the NFL.

    Now we could add GameStop to this list rather easily, but considering they have not really manipulated the market outside of MSRP, there is no reason to. Additionally, there is always a viable used games market via other avenues such as mom and pop stores and online retailers.

    Papa Midnight


  17. 0
    insanejedi says:

    I talked to one of my IT tech guys at my school who’s pretty smart in these sorts of areas. What he says, is because the NFL deal is only temperary and is on exclusivity to the highest bidder, it doesn’t count as a monopoly because it’s temperary. EA only has the NFL deal for the next 4 years, which by law terms is perfectly fine.

  18. 0
    kielejocain says:

    My big difference is that a game like Pikmin is the intellectual property of Nintendo; they created it from scratch.  Football is an existing entity, and EA played no part in it’s creation.

    And the argument that exclusivity promotes investment in quality makes no sense to me.  It sounds like a telecommunications companies’ argument I’ve heard that net neutrality promotes choice for the consumer.  I don’t see how an inherently uneven system promotes choice, and I don’t see how lack of competition promotes quality.

  19. 0
    insanejedi says:

    Um. Systems are made from companys. Big ones at that. The only difference is First Party vs Third Party publishers and developers. Nintendo is first party, EA is third party. And locking up exclusives, is that being competitive, or destroying the compitition too far?

  20. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    My standpoint towards whether I care about football or not is rather irrelevant to the matter in my opinion. The fact of the matter is when the NFL 2K series was being produced as a licensed product, prices on the Madden NFL series was being dramatically decreased. As the NFL 2K series grew in popularity and sold for $19.99 each up to the last release of the series, NFL 2K5, the Madden NFL series steadily fell from $49.99 to reaching the low point of $29.99 while Madden NFL 2005 was on sale.

    Now I’ve never been one to buy sports games considering they seem to release a new one each year just to present a roster change. Atleast, that has been my general sentiment. But I did notice from the viewpoint of a consumer that the moment EA closed out the market, Madden NFL shot right back up, and not stopping at $49.99, went to $59.99.

    Amazing what some competition, and a lack there of, does for pricing. I wonder where else we see this happening…

    Now let me stop before I start ranting about telecommunications.

    Papa Midnight

  21. 0
    insanejedi says:

    You know, if their going to judge it based on the yearly versions of madden to decide the monopoly case, EA is going to win. Because if it was literally the same game with roster updates, it woulden’t be getting 8’s across the boards and the ocassional 9. I hear around the time of a madden release what they did different, and an additional gameplay feature would generally be enough to justify Madden’s yearly existance. Unless you count Madden 05 vs Madden 06 where that was basically the same game (and when the NFL deal was set), Madden 07 to 08 to 09 are enough of a difference from each other.

    Contrary to popular opinion Sports games DO change overtime.

  22. 0
    sheppy says:

    Well, I can see where you’re coming from that there ARE alternative routes a publisher can take to create their football game but let’s be realistic for a moment.  Football IS the NFL.  Period.  Football IS the NCAA.  Period.  What the exclusive deal essentially does is say "If you want Football, you buy EA."  After all, the days of being able to pass with a generic lineup has gone and went.  Especially when the EA brand is so heavily entrenched with the football league by itself.

    Plus, if you look at it one way, Take2 put so VERY real pressure on EA during 2004 by releasing all of their sports titles for $20.  EA reacted by dropping the price of Madden a full six months before they normally do.  In fact, with the heavy competition in the Take2 franchises, the sports game industry actually progressed and a price war ensured, assuring competition as a good thing.  Immediately in the middle of this war, EA sought the exclusive license, then another, then another.  Essentially killing Take2s ability to compete.

    This, by itself, wouldn’t be that big of an issue except when you take into account that any sports franchise EA competes in drops in price much quicker and EA themselves have the long standing tradition of killing the servers on day the new game is released.

    I am curious, however, how they’ll test the rise in inherent quality and if it would be wise for the plaintiffs to start highlighting the myriad of glitches that seem to grow from yar to year.  Take, as an example, Madden 2005 on PSP had a glitch that actually turned off your PSP that was very common in the Season mode.  EA’s response was "don’t play Season mode."  Because if you show the Madden improvements year to year, it looks like EA has a strong case to the casual player.  The hardcore Madden players will tell you why each year is worst than the last but those hardcore Madden players won’t be on the bench.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  23. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Personally, I could care less about American football, I’m American by the way. But I look at from a business standpoint like this:

    NFL, AFL, NCAA are all corporations with their own trademarks and copyrights. They hold the rights to do whatever they want with those. They have the right to license out their trademarks to a single video game company or every game company. That is their right. It is much the same as EA owning the exclusive game rights of the Harry Potter franchise. No one complains about that one.

    From a gamer/football fan’s point of view:

    Fans of American football want the best game they can get. They want something that complements their hobby. During the non exclusive license days, they had at least two games competing for their money. Each game had to do something a little better than the other to win out. Now however, the incentive to improve is not quite there. There is no need.

    I get what you said above, but the changes to the games from 2007 up could be more to do with the introduction of new consoles and less to do with wanting to improve. Had no consoles been introduced in that time the chance of getting improvements probably would have been a lot less. The new consoles brought better graphics more online features and more disk storage. So they had to take advantage of that. You also have to take into account that they could not reuse old code for these new consoles.

    Also from a consumer standpoint, the price did jump as soon as the exclusive license was signed. That cannot be denied. That in itself is a product of a monopoly.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
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    Random Tower
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  24. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    Tying a game to a system and tying a type of game to a company seems rather different from each other to be honest. With consoles their variety in games is part of what makes them competitional.

  25. 0
    insanejedi says:

    I know a lot of people don’t like the whole "Madden monopoly" case, and I don’t even like it either not that I particularly care about Americian Football. But isin’t the NFL basically just an IP that EA scooped up? That and it’s still up for bid right? EA doesn’t have a monopoly on football persay, but they have a product that is so good (commercially) that no one feels the need or has the financial ability or moxie to compete with it. EA has the rights to professional, collage, and arena football but I don’t think there’s anyone stopping anyone from making High School Football (that I would actually like to see) or something like 2K All Pro or Blitz. Those did not sell well particularly through consumer choice though, but I can still see how this is a sticky issue. The problem is, is how specific does a deal have to be for it to not be a monopoly, and how broad a deal has to be for it to be a monopolitic issue.

    To bring up a hypothetical case, let’s say Sony bought the rights to have any Grand Theft Auto game released on a Sony system. Technically now, Sony has a monopoly on GTA games forever. Is that too broad or too specific?

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