Judge certifies EA class action suit

A U.S. district court judge certified that a class action and anti-trust lawsuit against Electronic Arts could proceed. The lawsuit alleges that EA inflated the price of its football games after securing exclusive licensing rights.

The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker (Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California) allows consumers that bought any of EA's football games during or following 2005 to sign on to the lawsuit as a plaintiff and be represented by the law firm of Hagens Berman.

The suit alleges that EA used its monopoly of licenses during the period to increase the price of its football games. Lawyers for the class say that this amounted to "illegal price-gouging." The complaint cites a 2004 pricing war between EA and Sega's NFL2K5, which retailed for the budget price of $19.95. To compete with Sega's games, EA lowered the price from $49.95 to $29.95 in November of 2004. After securing the license, EA raised the price back to its original asking price.

"We believe EA forced consumers to pay an artificial premium on Madden NFL video games," said Hagens Berman partner Steve Berman in a statement. "We intend to prove that EA could inflate prices on their sports titles because these exclusive licenses restrained trade and competition for interactive sports software."

Lawyers for the class seek a jury trial to settle the matter and "restitution and/or damages to class members for the purchase of the software."

Consumer who feel wronged by EA's pricing may sign up for the class here. A PDF of the complaint is available here.

Source: Judge Certifies Class-Action Football Game Pricing Lawsuit Against EA - Gamasutra.

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