EA Retain License to “Video Games” after Lawsuit Settlement

Challenge Everything. Especially the competition’s right to exist.

There were celebrations at EA this week, as a long-standing and controversial lawsuit against the company was settled. The issue in question pertained to EA’s exclusive license to make “video games”, something which has lead many critics to accuse them of something of a monopoly in the sector. Up until 2004, many other companies produced video games, but after EA bought the license to the franchise in that same year, others were forbidden from doing so.

In 2008 it looked like things might be changing after a large number of plaintiffs brought a class-action lawsuit against the company, something which bubbled under for a while. Sadly with this week’s settlement, EA will continue to have exclusive licensing over video games, however it has agreed not to pursue any contracts in the “movies” and “books” sectors, a somewhat minor victory for the defendant. The company will be paying out a total of $27m in damages as part of its settlement, which will be paid out in various sums, from $0.01 if you purchased a video game in the last few years, to $0.02 if you bought one on the PS2, Xbox or Gamecube.

“This is probably a bad thing” said analyst Michael Pachter at gunpoint after we car-jacked him on his way to work. “The video game market is one of the biggest in the world, and it being dominated by a single company, especially if that company is EA, is most likely not in the best interests of consumers. Now please put the gun down and let me go.”

One possible way around the settlement is to create pieces of “interactive art”, but as it is the only person to take advantage of this loophole is Peter Molyneux, and no-one is actually sure if he’s serious or not.

About Cieran Douglass

Cieran built this website in a cave with a bunch of scraps. Actually no that's not right at all, it was with Wordpress and middling Photoshop and design skills. He often plays video games and his favourites are Paper Mario TTYD, GTA San Andreas, Portal 2 and Minecraft. His display picture is not an accurate portrayal. He currently works for a much bigger website at the University of York, but if you'd like him to write something for you he can be contacted at cieran@pixelgrater.com.