Gamers who purchased a copy of Madden from August, 2005 onward may be eligible to join a class action suit against publisher Electronic Arts.
Pecover vs. EA (all GP coverage here) is currently proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit alleges that EA's exclusive licensing deal with the NFL and NFL Players Association created a monopoly situation which EA exploited by substantially raising the retail price for a copy of Madden.
In a story broken recently by GamePolitics, an expert witness hired by the plaintiffs theorized that EA's exclusive NFL/NFLPA license may have cost consumers nearly a billion dollars. Lawyers for EA have disputed that claim in court documents.
In a press release issued on Friday, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, the law firm representing consumers in the case, provides a link where Madden buyers can learn more about the suit and potentially join as additional plaintiffs.
Lead attorney Steve Berman, quoted in the press release, pulled no punches in his assessment of EA's position regarding Madden:
There is nothing wrong with good, strong competition in a free market, but we believe EA rigged the game to take advantage of consumers.
EA knows that the demand for these games is based on how realistically the players and teams are portrayed. When EA signed into exclusive agreements it knowingly killed the only competing game of comparable quality, [Take-Two's] NFL 2K5.