The Madden NFL Lawsuit: Suing EA For Fun and Profit

The Madden NFL Lawsuit: Suing EA For Fun and Profit

EA has earned the ire of gamers, a reputation as an evil empire, and even a lawsuit from ticked-off Madden fans, but Andy Chalk asks, has the company actually done anything wrong?

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I was under the impression that there were pretty solid anti-monopoly laws, and a 70% price hike after removing competition sounds pretty much like a monopoly to me. Or maybe that's just in the UK.

Yeah. Even though it's just a dumb video game, the law shouldn't discriminate... even if EA is only pissing off a bunch of overzealous nerds.

I don't think it's anybody's business what a company does. If EA wants to make a deal with the NFL and the NFL goes along with it, how can we stop them without making the government even more socialist than it already is? As gamers and fans, if we don't like the move, we can vote against it with our pocketbooks. Companies like EA are only big and powerful because gamers like us buy their games. If we quit buying their games, they'd get the hint pretty quick that they were doing something we don't approve of. The decision should be made in the game store and the website store not the courtroom. Complaining and writing articles on posts like this while continuimg to buy every game EA makes will do nothing to get their attention.

Singing Gremlin:
I was under the impression that there were pretty solid anti-monopoly laws, and a 70% price hike after removing competition sounds pretty much like a monopoly to me. Or maybe that's just in the UK.

I'm in the U.S. and can't see that EA's football games are any more expensive than any other console game in the stores that are released at the same time. In fact, the exclusive deal hasn't made any change in the rapid drop in game price once the release year is over. Want a cheaper EA football game? Just wait a year or two after it's released and you can get it for less than half it's price when it was released. No game drops value as fast as a sports game.

NFL games are just JRPGs with mishaped rugby balls neway :-D

I dont think EA are in the wrong legally. Their games may have gone up in price but so has every other. & as the above says, if franchise fanbois werent the desperate sheep they are they could just wait 6-10month n the game will be 1/3 the price in a bargain bin. Companies may push the prices up but its consumers that determine how high they can go

"Electronic Arts may play hardball with the football, but it's not doing anything that isn't being done by everyone else in business: Taking steps to secure and advance its position in the marketplace. Did EA executives feel just a wee touch of glee at the prospect of turning the screws on their 2K counterparts? Probably. But licensing deals are all about gaining exclusive rights at the expense of the competition, and in an industry that relies as heavily on high-profile licensed products as ours, they're not just commonplace, they're essential."

If an "essential" component of success in an industry involves putting the screws to one's competition not through actual competition in terms of building a better product or delivering it more efficiently or through any act of true labor, but simply through buying out their ability to compete, isn't it time to think about intervening in the "marketplace" for the good of the consumer?

And if EA wants to charge 50 bucks for its game, what of it? We're not talking about food, fuel or shelter here; Madden NFL 08 is one videogame among many and EA is free to charge what it wants for it, just as consumers are free to not buy it.

Right or wrong, imposing conditions on sales to consumers is not unheard of in the U.S. Every U.S. state *I* know has enacted some version of the Uniform Commercial Code which imposes significant burdens on the goods merchants sell, even if those goods are not "food, fuel or shelter."

I mean, what's the big deal with telling EA what it can charge for this game? It's not like they won't be able to afford "food, fuel or shelter" ;-D

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It seems to me that your article is totally focused on the rights of a person to sell their product as if the right of the consumer to a healthy market when there are valid laws in place giving consumers that right of action does not exist under American law except when it comes to "food, fuel or shelter". That clearly hasn't been the case as far as American law since the New Deal, so I assume you're making an argument about how American law *should* function as opposed how it *does* function.

In which case I have to ask: why so unbalanced a view of the situation? Are you making the case that laws should only cover "food, fuel or shelter" and have a totally laissez-faire approach to all other goods and services? Do you really believe that should be the case, or are you just saying it because it supports your point that EA isn't so bad?

I guess my criticism is that I think you're adopting a line of logic ("food, fuel or shelter") for purposes of this article that I don't think you would adopt in another discussion where you had more sympathy for the consumer.

Which I guess makes my question: do you think there should be no regulation of trade when it comes to goods and services that are not "food, fuel and shelter"? If you don't, how do you explain that discrepancy with the logic you rest on here in your article?

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"Andy Chalk lives in Canada, so maybe he just doesn't "get" this lawsuit business."

Maybe not. Lawsuits have been used in the U.S. to do everything from end racial segregation in the schools to protect legal abortion to keeping evidence obtained by torture out of a criminal proceeding. On the other hand they have been used to overturn legislation protecting groups from child workers to bakers. And of course they have been used to force a sitting President to turn over tapes to a special prosecutor, and as it turns out they are even available for habeas corpus petitions by those held at Guantanamo Bay, although at one time they were not open to slaves even if they were born in America.

About the only things they don't seem to be able to do here is get Florida to recount their votes and force one President to deliver the judicial appointment of another. I do not mean to suggest that suing EA is on par with anything Thurgood Marshall did. Just that maybe it's true that you don't "get" just how important the lawsuit is in America.

+++

A copy of the complaint is available off of a link located at the bottom of this page for anyone interested in the actual meat-and-potatoes of the lawsuit: http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/06/11/gamer-class-action-suit-filed-against-ea-over-madden-monopoly

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I mean, what's the big deal with telling EA what it can charge for this game? It's not like they won't be able to afford "food, fuel or shelter" ;-D

I honestly can't tell but I'll assume you're joking here.

In which case I have to ask: why so unbalanced a view of the situation? Are you making the case that laws should only cover "food, fuel or shelter" and have a totally laissez-faire approach to all other goods and services? Do you really believe that should be the case, or are you just saying it because it supports your point that EA isn't so bad?

[b]I guess my criticism is that I think you're adopting a line of logic ("food, fuel or shelter") for purposes of this article that I don't think you would adopt in another discussion where you had more sympathy for the consumer.

Which I guess makes my question: do you think there should be no regulation of trade when it comes to goods and services that are not "food, fuel and shelter"? If you don't, how do you explain that discrepancy with the logic you rest on here in your article?</b.

I'm not seeing any discrepancy, but I think there are two basic points of focus: One, it strikes me as rather hypocritical to squawk about free-market economies and the evils of socialism until it works itself out in a fashion you (that would be "you" as in "all youse guys down there") don't particularly care for; and two, if you're serious about effecting change at EA, rather than simply a cheap 15 minutes and five dollar rebate on the Madden 09, don't buy the product. The "food/fuel/shelter" thing is simply a way of making the point that the latest and greatest Madden NFL release is hardly something we can't live without, not a specific illustration of what I believe should be regulated.

Sympathy for the consumer really doesn't enter into it. I just fail to see where EA has actually done anything wrong.

Malygris:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
I mean, what's the big deal with telling EA what it can charge for this game? It's not like they won't be able to afford "food, fuel or shelter" ;-D

I honestly can't tell but I'll assume you're joking here.

I'm half joking--I'm playfully pointing out the discrepancy between saying it's unimportant to be able to buy a non-EA football game because it's not "food, fuel or shelter" and then justifying EA's actions on the basis of their need to make profits even though my guess is most of those stockholders will still have enough money for "food, fuel or shelter" even if EA isn't the exclusive producer of NFL football videogames.

I'm not seeing any discrepancy, but I think there are two basic points of focus: One, it strikes me as rather hypocritical to squawk about free-market economies and the evils of socialism until it works itself out in a fashion you (that would be "you" as in "all youse guys down there") don't particularly care for; and two, if you're serious about effecting change at EA, rather than simply a cheap 15 minutes and five dollar rebate on the Madden 09, don't buy the product.

One, isn't that just a strawman then? Talking about some vague "all youse guys down there" who "squawk about free-market economies and the evils of socialism"? Sure it would be "rather hypocritical" for 'those guys' to "squawk" but certainly there are people who think EA is in the wrong and aren't one of 'those guys', right?

Two, relief is not limited in this suit to "a cheap 15 minutes and five dollar rebate on the Madden 09"; check the complaint--sections E, F, H, and I of the Prayer for Relief all ask for equitable relief in the form of injunctions prohibiting EA from acting like this in the future or nullification of the exclusivity agreement.

Equitable relief of that form would certainly effect the same kind of change you're talking about when you mention not buying the product, right?

The "food/fuel/shelter" thing is simply a way of making the point that the latest and greatest Madden NFL release is hardly something we can't live without, not a specific illustration of what I believe should be regulated.

Okay, so what does that have to do with the point of your article? What *is* the point of your article?

Sympathy for the consumer really doesn't enter into it. I just fail to see where EA has actually done anything wrong.

I guess I have to ask again: do you mean wrong in the sense of in violation of U.S. law, or wrong in the sense of in violation of what you and I think the law *should* be, what it *would* be if it perfectly reflected our ideas about justice? In the case of whether this has any merit hey--I'm no hot-shot lawyer, I just play one as Phoenix Wright.

As far as what they have done wrong in an 'if I were KING' sense, it's that they can make the exact same game without exclusive licensing as with it. EA benefits from exclusive licensing and consumers suffer. If EA couldn't do this, EA *might or might not* suffer and the consumer *could only do as well as before, with the possibility of doing better*.

I mean, will EA be broken-hearted if it can't get an exclusive license? Is there some emo programmer at EA who is going to lock himself in a room and play Fifteen seven inches until the wax on his stylus builds up to the point where it won't stay in the groove? License exclusivity is not a matter of "food, fuel or shelter" to EA either, so, why not make them compete with other companies, especially given that not having an exclusive license in no way, shape, or form inhibits their ability to turn out the exact same product they are right now?

Now, the equation changes quite a bit when we look at it from the perspective of the NFL and their right to do what they want with property that is the fruit of their own labor; however, that's not what was under discussion here.

every single new release on the xbox 360 is retailed at 40 and madden was no different, all games have gone up in price.

even if they had hiked it up by 70% and nobody else had imagine how much they have to pay for the exclusive rights, they need to make their money back somehow.

getting the rights is one thing, but making poor games is another, and generally that is what EA sports do so just dont buy them, i agree with the article.

fifa had all the rights and PES had non whatso ever in the beginnings, not a single player name was correct, yet they focused on the core gameplay, got a fandbase, raised funds, and slowly but surely started to aquire some licenses.

On the 70% price hike: that's often misquoted or listed in such a way as to give the wrong impression. Several here have made note that Madden games aren't any more expensive than they once were. You'd have to go back to WHY this deal was made in the first place in order to get that "price hike". At the time, Madden came out at its regular $50 price tag, as EA was certain it would sell as usual. However, I believe 2K's football game at the time released for like $20 or $30 brand new, and it was similar enough to Madden that a lot of fans switched over. Instead of getting $5 for last year's Madden and paying $45 for an upgrade, they just decided to pay $20 or $30.

Normally Madden wouldn't see a price drop for almost a year, but after a month EA had to drop the price of Madden to $20 or $30 in order to compete.

THEN the NFL exclusive deal happened, clearly in retaliation to EA being forced to compete for a change.

As for whether we should be angry at EA or not, I may not care about the games, but I care about the industry. With no one to compete with, EA has no reason to make improvements except for what they see fit. If there are other games that come up with better ideas, they won't get noticed because, unfortunately, everyone wants to play as their favorite teams. This is why you don't see other Football games selling too well: you can't play as your favorite team, and people want that. I don't know why, but they do.

I also look at it as a channel buying exclusive rights to air the Superbowl. What would you do if Pay-Per-View made a deal with the NFL that only THEY could air the Superbowl? Now you had to pay money in order to watch it, and they can set their rates at whatever they want. It's an unlikely scenario, but what would you think?

What makes capitalism work properly is competition. If you stomp out the competition, incentive to make a better product begins to dwindle, and you have nothing but a greedy corporation. Even Microsoft has to compete with other companies, and it's forcing them to try and make better products (laugh all you want, but anyone without a childish Anti-MS bias can tell if they actually look into the products in-depth).

For the football video games to sell best, EA should not have the right to...have the rights.....*cough*

dukethepcdr:
I don't think it's anybody's business what a company does.

Okay, I don't give a damn about sports games or EA, but when people spout this kind of shit, I have to respond. So just for the record, Duke, this is YOUR FAULT for deraling the thread. ;)

It is our business what companies do. If it weren't, we wouldn't have laws that prevent companies from selling kiddie porn or thermonuclear missiles.

dukethepcdr:
If EA wants to make a deal with the NFL and the NFL goes along with it, how can we stop them without making the government even more socialist than it already is?

When a company buys up an entire industry and creates a vertical monopoly on the production, distribution and sales of an item, that's not capitalism. Capitalism works (when it does work) because of competition. In order for competition to occur, there have to be multiple manufacturers and retailers in competition with one another.
This is why capitalism doesn't work when the government doesn't do its part, which includes smashing monopolies and oligopolies becase they are anti-competitive and anti-capitalist. IT'S NOT SOCIALISM, FOR FUCKS SAKES. Adam Smith explained all this shit centuries ago, and it pisses me off to no end that people still don't fucking get it. You think you live in a capitalist society? Think again. What you have at the moment is socialism for the powerful few and market discipline for everybody else.

Again, this might not be relevant to the EA Sports lawsuit, but somebody had to say it. Apologies for the pedantry.

Legally speaking I think that this is an interesting case and worth following just to see how it results and how it impacts the rest of the industry. Making this a "capitalism" versus "socialism" debate is kind of spotty and besides the point, I think. You could make arguments either way for EA's action being socialist or capitalist in nature without varying the actual actions they took.

Asking whether they did anything "wrong" is also complex. "Wrong" for whom? And are we talking ethically wrong (complicated), legally wrong (slightly less complicated and what the courts will decide), business-inadvisable? These are all variants of "wrong" and the answers to any of them are not black and white.

From a business ethics standpoint this becomes complicated to answer because if we are to say that EA is hampering innovation through monopolization, which seems to be the case, we are also saying that the NFL did not have the right to sell exclusive rights to its content, which is a sticky thing to assert.

Looking systemically at the issue, which seems to be what people tend to do, developing economics-based opinions, I think it does come down to innovation. EA's response to competition in the market, rather than working to compete by producing higher quality product, has been to engage in behaviors that instead *prevent* other companies from competing. This overall reduces the amount of innovation, which reduces overall quality of product, which reduces the economic growth and effectiveness of the market -- in which case the public and its government do have reason to be concerned. For the government to take action in this case (and I think it is a mistake to reduce this to "the government", just to mention; it is in fact a capitalistic response of the consumer to object to an unfairly narrowed market) can seem socialistic but would be in the interests of capitalism and market competition. Rather than participating in competition, EA is attempting to subvert it.

I think one of the questions that will come up is why exactly EA thought it needed the exclusive license. It's arguable that what they did was in the interests of their shareholders, but this is a question shareholders should be asking as well at this point, because of the negative effect on reputation that these exclusive licenses have caused. The Madden franchise seemed in no jeopardy at all, so it wasn't an act of self defense for them to secure the license, or even an issue of securing funding (as it might have been for a smaller developer) -- and it certainly doesn't speak to quality of product when you take business action to prevent your competitors from getting to the market. But it will come down to the bottom line in the Madden franchise especially because their mainstream demographic probably has no idea this suit is going on and may not even know that EA procured the exclusivity; they are not involved enough in the game community to care.

So -- "wrong"? It depends on who you are and what kind of "wrong" you mean. But the lawsuit is certainly an interesting development. A US court is not going to waste its time hearing a frivolous suit, so they may just try to get EA to settle -- but if they don't, we'll probably see some interesting opinions from the court.

ccesarano and Razzle Bathbone:
Smart words

What they said. Times two. I would also like to add that EA did, in fact, run over my puppy and I am still upset over my only compensation being a used copy of Madden '04. Ah well, at least now I have no reason to waste money on any more games from them for the next 80 or so years.

Malygris:
has the company actually done anything wrong?

Yes, how about every series its touched.

Razzle Bathbone:
Adam Smith explained all this shit centuries ago, and it pisses me off to no end that people still don't fucking get it. You think you live in a capitalist society? Think again. What you have at the moment is socialism for the powerful few and market discipline for everybody else.

My guess is that people don't get it because that word 'capitalism' has morphed from meaning a system of freedom in production, distribution, and exchange *economically* superior to mercantilism into meaning an ideology of private property rights *morally* superior to communism. Maybe they think Nostradamus was the Latin name for Adam Smith and he was making predictions, or something.

Much as I agree that Smith wasn't advocating "market red in tooth and claw" in The Wealth of Nations, I must ask that folks stop diluting the meaning of "monopoly".

This is a matter of the NFL (and Madden himself) and the other leagues negotiating with EA for use of their trademarks and other likenesses. It's not as if other publishers/deveopers are forbidden to create football games... the only restriction is that they can't use the likenesses of real-life players and teams of the leagues in quesiton, as EA already obtained those rights.

Sorry, but this danged furriner also sees the suit as frivolous.

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:
Much as I agree that Smith wasn't advocating "market red in tooth and claw" in The Wealth of Nations, I must ask that folks stop diluting the meaning of "monopoly".

This is a matter of the NFL (and Madden himself) and the other leagues negotiating with EA for use of their trademarks and other likenesses. It's not as if other publishers/deveopers are forbidden to create football games... the only restriction is that they can't use the likenesses of real-life players and teams of the leagues in quesiton, as EA already obtained those rights.

Well, how do you define monopoly then, and how is calling this a monopoly diluting the meaning of the word?

Isn't "the likenesses of real-life players and teams of the leagues in quesiton" a commodity of value? And isn't exclusive access to a commodity of value for which no substitute commodities exist properly termed a monopoly?

Maybe we disagree because we disagree on whether All Pro Football 2K8 is a 'substitute good' for Madden 08. My argument is that people don't just play football video games to play football in a video game: they play them to play as their favorite teams or players. Do you disagree with that?

If you don't, how can a game without "the likenesses of real-life players and teams of the leagues in quesiton" be a substitute good for one without those likenesses and teams?

That's not passing judgment on whether this is an *acceptable* monopoly. Certainly Nintendo preventing Sony from putting Mario in _God of War_ is acceptable, but it's still a monopoly. And maybe the NFL contracting with EA is a perfectly acceptable monopoly too, but, it's still a monopoly, right?

nightfish:

Malygris:
has the company actually done anything wrong?

Yes, how about every series its touched.

While it is difficult to identify as a "series", I still think of it as such because the developers are continuing what they were doing before, except now under EA: Rock Band. Activision has the unique pleasure of driving that into the ground. The exception that proves the rule? Hard to say. EA has been getting positive press recently about mending their ways.

RazzleBathbone:
{smart,angry stuff}

Hear, hear! What he said.

A couple people said things along this line, including the author, so I had to say: just because other AAA games cost 50-60 dollars at retail, does not immediately negate any possibility of monopolistic effects on the price of the games. The issue is not whether the prices are in line with other games, but whether the prices are higher than they would be if there were competition. At least for the answer to the question "Is this price the result of monopolistic behavior?", you're coming at it from the wrong direction. The counter-argument in this case, as it would happen, is to claim that 2K was dumping below cost to gain market share, and thus their price of 30 was artificially low, and not sustainable. FAR more effective. Go ahead, use it, I'll pretend you came up with it on your own. You'll still have to find something to back it up.

ErinHoffman's point about the right to sale of exclusive license: what would the impact be of illegalizing exclusive licensing? How do monopoly laws apply to other industries if one of the players attempts to consume/control all of the "resources"? Essentially, is it illegal for me to buy all of the peanuts in the whole world?

Geoffrey42:

The issue is not whether the prices are in line with other games, but whether the prices are higher than they would be if there were competition.

I would also add the question: is quality *lower*? In other words, monopolies don't just work by jacking up a good that that should cost $50 to $60; they also work by keeping a good that is worth $60 out of the marketplace entirely because it would have to be made by a competitor.

In other words, like the complaint states, it's also about the "benefit of a free, competitive marketplace for interactive football software" that is lost when EA gets exclusive rights like this. Which I think is along the lines of what you were saying with "just because other AAA games cost 50-60 dollars at retail, does not immediately negate any possibility of monopolistic effects" or at least, that's what your words reminded me of.

ps3 fans should sue for payin 60 dollers for a game the runs at half the frames of the 360 version

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Isn't "the likenesses of real-life players and teams of the leagues in quesiton" a commodity of value? And isn't exclusive access to a commodity of value for which no substitute commodities exist properly termed a monopoly?

Likeness are not commodities; commodities are exchangeable and replaceable. Frozen concentrated orange juice and pork bellies (thank you, Trading Places) are commodities. An identity is unique. (Until you click on links in those urgent, anonymously-sent emails from your "bank", anyway.) I know it's hard to view EA games (and most professional athletes, for that matter) as not being basically identical and replaceable goods... but they are indeed not, and are special, precious snowflakes all of their own. As witnessed by your desire to pretend to be (for example) Bill Belichick coaching the New England Patriots, instead of Cheeze_Pavilion coaching the Escapist Quotewranglers.

You can make a football game without using real names; that's why I don't view this as a proper monopoly. The rules themselves aren't (unless I'm mistaken) covered by EA's agreement. (Good thing, too, as I'm looking forward to Blood Bowl this fall.) But if that's not good enough for you, well, take it up with the NFL for selling those exclusive rights to the wrong guys, not EA for buying them.

-- Steve

thebudgetgamer:
ps3 fans should sue for payin 60 dollers for a game the runs at half the frames of the 360 version

Do not start a console war here.

Anton P. Nym:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Isn't "the likenesses of real-life players and teams of the leagues in quesiton" a commodity of value? And isn't exclusive access to a commodity of value for which no substitute commodities exist properly termed a monopoly?

Likeness are not commodities; commodities are exchangeable and replaceable. Frozen concentrated orange juice and pork bellies (thank you, Trading Places) are commodities.

Actually, what the movie Trading Places was referring to was the commodities *markets* which only traffic in the things you are talking about; a commodity in a general context is any article of commerce.

Good, commodity, service, resource, intellectual property, fruit of one's loins--we can use any sequence of letters you prefer that denotes an article of commerce: no need to let the substantive disagreement be derailed over an issue of lexicography.

An identity is unique. (Until you click on links in those urgent, anonymously-sent emails from your "bank", anyway.) I know it's hard to view EA games (and most professional athletes, for that matter) as not being basically identical and replaceable goods...

I never said they were "basically identical and replaceable goods"; in fact, that was my whole point--they are unique and irreplaceable articles of commerce.

I mean, if you have some special attachment to the word 'monopoly' that's cool and we can use another term for this, like 'illegitimate exclusive access to an intellectual property' or something. Like I said, let's not let a disagreement about the words we use get in the way of the substantive issues.

You can make a football game without using real names; that's why I don't view this as a proper monopoly.

So why did EA pay all that money if they could have just made a 'football game' without using real names?

But if that's not good enough for you, well, take it up with the NFL for selling those exclusive rights to the wrong guys, not EA for buying them.

Umm okay. I fail to see how that changes anything about the analysis, though. At the end of the day it'll still be the same exclusivity contract between EA and the NFL that gets declared null and void, right? EA isn't going to just sit back and let the NFL defend this on their own, are they? Won't EA jump in anyways so no matter who we "take it up with" first, in the end it's still going to be us vs. EA, isn't it?

edit: in fact, probably the people who want to make the least noise about this are the NFL. I was reading that Law of the Game blog and as usual, the author gets right to the brink of saying something novel and then screws the pooch. However, before doing so he brings up a good point about how the people who want to make the least noise about antitrust issues is the NFL with all the exemptions they enjoy.

It also got me thinking: it's not so much that EA paid for any sort of intellectual property of the NFL in terms of a logo or brand of the NFL, but rather it paid for player likenesses and team logos.

Really, is this about the NFL, or the individual teams and the NFLPA, the National Football League Players Association? If it is about the NFLPA, why does the NFLPA have any rights in the likeness of a player? Why does the NFL have any rights in the NFL teams?

what i said earlier was not meant as an xbox slight it was bashing ea for crappy products at full price

Cheeze_Pavilion:

I would also add the question: is quality *lower*? In other words, monopolies don't just work by jacking up a good that that should cost $50 to $60; they also work by keeping a good that is worth $60 out of the marketplace entirely because it would have to be made by a competitor.

In other words, like the complaint states, it's also about the "benefit of a free, competitive marketplace for interactive football software" that is lost when EA gets exclusive rights like this. Which I think is along the lines of what you were saying with "just because other AAA games cost 50-60 dollars at retail, does not immediately negate any possibility of monopolistic effects" or at least, that's what your words reminded me of.

Your question is another good question to ask, but it wasn't what I was going for. Agreed entirely, but lemme see if I can make my point more effectively.

We have a marketplace for videogames on a particular console. Within that market, we can segregate it into multiple genres (ie, separate but related markets, depending on the consumer in question): licensed sports titles, racing games, genre-defying standouts that sell horribly, G{F,T}PS, etc. The statements above saying that "AAA title = 50-60 bucks, therefore Madden'0X for 60 is obviously a fair price" are taking the logical step from "Games from major publishers in genre X, which has fair market competition, cost 60 dollars", + "Games from major publishers in genre Y, which arguably lacks fair market competition due to exclusive licensing, cost 60 dollars", therefore "The lack of fair market competition due to exclusive licensing has no monopolistic effects on the cost of the games". I think this is fallacious. I would also be open to alternative formulations of the parts before and after the "therefore", but that's how I was reading earlier statements, in a more blown-up, explicit form.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
So why did EA pay all that money if they could have just made a 'football game' without using real names?

Simple. EA knows that a 'Football Game' using real names will give them a larger profit margin.
Sure the game costs a little more to make. But the game will ship more units.

Ultimately, isn't it the consumer's fault for buying the damn games?

Boycotts have worked before. Are people really going to go apeshit because they can't play an updated version of Madden?

zoozilla:
Ultimately, isn't it the consumer's fault for buying the damn games?

Yep.

Also, 50 canadian dollars for that game? We have to pay 60 EURO's in here, bah.

Anton P. Nym:
You can make a football game without using real names; that's why I don't view this as a proper monopoly. The rules themselves aren't (unless I'm mistaken) covered by EA's agreement. (Good thing, too, as I'm looking forward to Blood Bowl this fall.)

Speaking of which; Blood Bowl teaser trailer. Looks to definitely follow the spirit of the good ol' board game, and unless I hear something catastrophic about it it'll be a must-buy for me.

-- Steve

This is absolute nonsense.

Let's say, for example, that EA get exclusive rights to make a game based on, say, "The Lord of the Rings". And charges 100 dollars. Does that make them monopolistic? Because other companies can't now make the same game also based "The Lord of the Rings", and have to make do with generic fantasy? Are their products are somehow of lower quality because they lack Frodo and Sauron? Would such names not also be "commodities of value" in producing a game?

I completely fail to see how this is a monopoly when the NFL itself has faced, and continues to face competition of it's own. A monopoly requires total and enforceable control of market share, and that's not something obtainable in the world of video games at the moment.

Unfortunately, the various Football leagues are well within their legal rights to not want the likeness of any of their players and teams in just any game. It's their intellectual property to do with as they wish. The only chance they've got is to try and bullshit theur way through the courts on the charge that EA is "too big" and hope the judges buy it.

Whether it's rational for intellectual property to exist at all given the fact that it basically just results in the creation of monopolies and little else is the debatable point here, and if they wanted to make waves they'd be arguing against the validity of intellectual property. Unfortunately "legal precedence" may just trump common sense here so whatever.

 

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