Published on April 6th, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Greg’s Rant: EA Gets Sued
This was the email received not but a few moments ago in my personal inbox. It outlines the court case that is pending a decision against consumers in California against Electronic Arts. The suit claims that EA “caused customers who purchased certain football video games to be overcharged.” Oh, caused. Maybe you should sue someone, I don’t know, for overcharging for gas? Does PG&E ring a bell? This may seem like a valiant effort, but in actuality it only seems like a blatant gouge for money.
California, grow up! Really? Being over charged for your video games? This is something you are willing to blow through California taxpayer money in order to not get fully charged for your online Madden reputation? While this may seem like a noble effort on behalf of a few people’s feelings of righteousness and bringing the power back to the consumer or whatever you may think is right, it is definitely in the efforts of the lawyer willing to try and stick it to these companies.
“The Class includes all persons who, during the period January 1, 2005 to the present, purchased the Madden NFL, NCAA Football, or Arena Football League brand video games published by Electronic Arts with a release date of January 1, 2005 to the present. Excluded from the class are purchasers of software for mobile devices, persons purchasing directly from Electronic Arts, persons purchasing used copies of the relevant football video games, and Electronic Arts’ employees, officers, directors, legal representatives, and wholly or partly owned subsidiaries or affiliated companies.”
We all know that the price of a sports game deteriorates not but a few months after release. If you are so hot and bothered about saving money, or not paying full price, the obvious choice is to purchase it down the road. No one said that you had to grab each title the day it comes out. Why not buy it used? Online? From a friend? With so many options and for a court that presumably has not that much information regarding these types consumer driven markets, it would be particularly easy for the lawyer to blatantly point the finger at EA. Even if the case doesn’t make hold EA at fault, a settlement would drop a nice penny in the pocket of this hot shot and not to mention blow it out of proportion due to media coverage.
While this may be “helping” consumers in some sense, what will it do to the rest of the market? It seems like a bad case of buyers remorse. You don’t see people jumping off their couch and heading down to their closest lawyer firm because Damnation was a flop. “ Wahhh, you took my money! I didn’t try the demo or look up any news regarding your gameplay!” My heart goes to you. Really.
There are so many questions as to what the outcome might be, but one thing is for sure, they aren’t going to be offering suggestions to improve consumer expectations. It may raise awareness, but yet again, badger the gaming market and get sue happy for a few cry babies..
California’s Cartwright Act is the state’s general antitrust law. The Cartwright Act generally prohibits combinations of two or more persons’ capital, skill, or acts to restrict trade or commerce, reduce the production of merchandise, increase the price of a commodity, prevent competition, or control or fix at a standard or figure any commodity. The Act also specifically prohibits certain actions, such as fixing prices by contract, agreeing not to sell certain commodities, and agreeing not to deal in the goods or services of a competitor. As with the Sherman Act, unreasonable restraints are per se violations of the antitrust law.
So, out of EA’s hands and into the National Football League’s?