If you bought EA Sports' American football products between 2005 and mid-2012, good news: An adjustment to its settlement of a class action lawsuit has elevated the pittance of a payout gamers would have gotten into something a little more substantial. You have a month to claim it.
To recap, in July, Electronic Arts settled a suit brought against its notorious exclusive license to make NFL video games, alleging price-fixing, illegal monopoly, and a bathtub full of other complaints. Rather than continue to litigate it, EA negotiated a $27 million pool to distribute to the thousands of customers who bought Madden, and NCAA Football and the fourteen or so people who actually bought Arena Football. (Note: EA admitted to no wrongdoing in the settlement, and its exclusive deal with the NFL still survives.)
The payouts have now been tripled, though the hit to EA is still $27 million. This is because fewer claims were filed than were expected when the prize pool was originally divided. So a judge modified the settlement's distribution plan to ensure that members of the class action (i.e. you, the Madden customer) get as much moolah as possible. So here's what you get:
• If, between Jan. 1, 2005 and June 21, 2012, you bought a new copy of Madden NFL, NCAA Football, or Arena Football for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC, or GameCube, it's $20.37 per game, capped at eight in all.
• If, between Jan. 1, 2005 and June 21, 2012, you bought a new copy of Madden NFL, NCAA Football, or Arena Football for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or, God help you, the Wii, it's $5.85 per game, capped at eight.
The original payoff was $6.79 for the previous generation games and $1.95 for the current gens, or a third of the new sum.
Looking at my own purchase history, (games I actually bought, not reviewed) I'm due $58.29, which is good enough to get me off my ass to file a claim. Come to think of it, I also bought a friend a couple copies of Madden and I'm going to be a total dick and claim that, too. Sorry, Eddie.
Notices went out to gamers yesterday (I got two, which suggests this is tied to the EA Sports account you set up when you bought these games, and that will likely be used to verify your claims.) So check your spam folders. Otherwise, head over to the link below for more information on claims, rights, deadlines, etc.
Pecover vs. Electronic Arts, Inc. [Official litigation site]