EA Sports class action settlement modified

Individual claimants will receive bigger payouts on purchases of Madden NFL, NCCA Football and Arena Football

The monetary amount of claims has been expanded in the settlement of a class action lawsuit alleging that EA Sports engaged in "blatantly anticompetitive conduct" by entering into "an unlawful and anticompetitive series of exclusive agreements" with the NFL, Arena Football League and the NCAA, thereby driving up the price of EA videogames.

The monetary amount of claims has been expanded in the settlement of a class action lawsuit alleging that EA Sports engaged in "blatantly anticompetitive conduct" by entering into "an unlawful and anticompetitive series of exclusive agreements" with the NFL, Arena Football League and the NCAA, thereby driving up the price of EA videogames.

A settlement in a lawsuit against EA Games has been modified to triple the amount of money that class members will be eligible to receive.

Per the modifications, each class member will receive more money from the $27 million total settlement fund. This is apparently because there are fewer individuals in the class than was originally anticipated.

The modified terms provide that claimants will get $20.37 for every last-generation game on Xbox, Windows PC, GameCube, and PlayStation 2. This amount is considerably higher than the $6.79 that these claimants would have received under the original terms.

Similarly, the amount for the most recent generation of games for Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 has risen from $1.95 to $5.85.

"Blatantly anticompetitive conduct"

The suit, filed in 2011, alleged that EA Sports engaged in "blatantly anticompetitive conduct" by entering into "an unlawful and anticompetitive series of exclusive agreements with the National Football League, the NFL Players Union, Arena Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association ('NCAA')," thereby allegedly driving its competition out of the market and driving up the price of its own games.

According to the suit, "[p]rior to signing the exclusive agreements referred to above, Electronic Arts charged $29.95 for its flagship product Madden NFL," whereas once the alleged agreements went into effect, the price "increased nearly seventy percent to $49.99."

The suit alleged that EA violated federal and California state antitrust laws, as well as California consumer protection laws. EA denied that it ever charged inflated prices for its videogames, and also disagreed that there was a relevant market limited to "interactive football videogames."

$27 million settlement fund

Under the original settlement agreement, announced in October, EA would pay $27 million into a fund including money that would include money for class members after lawyers' fees and other costs were deducted.

In addition to the monetary changes, class members have been given additional time to file a claim. The deadline has been extended from March 15 to May 15. Claimants can do so at the official settlement website.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.
Consumer Affairs

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