Electronic Arts has settled the monopoly lawsuit that alleged EA Sports had exclusive rights to the NFL video game license, as well as the NCAA and AFL (Arena Football League) video game licenses, which made it impossible for other companies to compete against EA.
The settlement will see owners of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Wii versions of the game receive $1.95 (or as much as $6.79) if they purchased copies of Madden on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube. EA has to set aside $27 million to fund the settlement payments to consumers.
The worst part of the settlement (or at least the part that many video game football fans are not going to like) is that EA is going to be barred from signing an exclusive licensing agreement with the AFL for five years; and EA will be unable to renew its agreement with the NCAA for college football for an additional five years once its agreement expires in 2014. This will open the door for perhaps a new licensing deal and new video games from another publisher, but it is hard to know who would want to take the development risk on a new NCAA or AFL title.
EA’s deal with the NFL and its Madden football titles are apparently unaffected by this settlement; but the deal still needs the final approval from the United States District Court, which apparently has not been approved yet.