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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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EA Settles In Madden Price-Fixing Lawsuit, Could Lose Football Licenses

by Rainier on July 20, 2012 @ 8:15 p.m. PDT

EA has reached a proposed settlement over claims that it has violated consumer protection and antitrust laws and charged consumers too much for games. The proposed settlement calls for EA to: not sign an exclusive license with the Arena Football League for five years and not renew its NCAA agreement for a minimum of five years when it expires in 2014.

The lawsuit alleges that EA violated consumer protection and antitrust laws by creating exclusive license agreements with the Arena Football League (AFL), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Football League (NFL). The agreements gave EA the exclusive ability to create football video games with the assets, players and teams of the AFL, NCAA and NFL. The case was originally filed on June 5, 2008, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The proposed settlement, which was filed with the court on July 19, 2012, would create a $27 million fund for consumers who purchased EA's Madden AFL, NCAA or NFL Football games. If the court approves the settlement, consumers who bought a GameCube, PS2 or Xbox title can receive up to $6.79 per game. Those who bought a PS3, Wii or X360 game may receive up to $1.95 per title.

The settlement calls for EA to: not sign an exclusive license with the AFL for five years and not renew its NCAA agreement for a minimum of five years when it expires in 2014.

"After more than four years ... we have reached a settlement that we strongly believe is fair to consumers," said attorney Steve Berman of Hagens Berman, the law firm that represents the consumers. "We look forward to ... asking the court to approve this settlement, which we think is in the best interests of the class."

On Apr. 6, 2011, the court certified a class of consumers to include all persons who purchased EA's AFL, NCAA or Madden NFL Football games published between Jan. 1, 2005, and the present.

The potential settlement must be approved by the court before it can be considered final.

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