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Madden NFL 'creator' sues EA for potentially billions

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 02 Apr 2011 1:54 User comments (5)

Madden NFL 'creator' sues EA for potentially billions Man claims that Electronic Arts failed to compensate him for sales of one of the most popular video games franchises in history.
Robin Antonick is suing the company for "tens of millions" in royalties as well as potentially billions from profits made by EA from over 85 million copies of Madden NFL Football titles sold. Antonick says he created the mega-popular game.

The first version was created for the Commodore 64, MS DOS and Apple II when it was released in 1988. Antonick signed a development contract with EA in 1986, which allegedly entitles him to royalties on derivative versions of the game. He says that for years afterwards, he worked in a cubicle a few feet from EA founder Trip Hawkins.

"Only recently, as a result of publicity surrounding the 20th Anniversary of the 'Madden' videogame did Antonick become aware that Electronic Arts did not independently develop subsequent versions of its Madden NFL software," says the complaint.

"Instead, according to recent statements by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the current generation of software apparently derived from software developed by Antonick."

Antonick claims that he has not received a royalty payment since 1992.

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5 user comments

12.4.2011 2:32

And taxpayer dollars goes into the filing and court costs of this crap.

22.4.2011 3:31

Why the heck does he wait until 19 years after he hasn't received a royalty to sue EA? Wouldn't it be smarter to go after EA a year or two after they stopped paying royalties, if you're truly entitled to them?


"The only people who should buy Monster cable are people who light cigars with Benjamins." - Gizmodo

32.4.2011 4:09

If the article is accurately reporting the facts, the game creator assumed, as many others likely did, that somewhere along all of the version jumping product releases that EA scrapped the original code and rewrote the game from scratch.

According to the article and his lawsuit, EA has been using his code all along, likely only modifying just enough to allow them to re-release the game each year under a new version number without actually changing the core of the game. Apparently, he only recently discovered this and will now attempt to get EA to honor their commitments.

So basically what's being said is, Madden is the same game now as it was 20 years ago with updated graphics and a few additional tweaks.

That is, if I read and interpreted the article correctly.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 02 Apr 2011 @ 4:11

42.4.2011 8:57

So sad how the really good have fallen:
From Wiki:

A novel approach to giving credit to its developers was one of EA's trademarks in its early days. This characterization was even further reinforced with EA's packaging of most of their games in the "album cover" pioneered by EA because Hawkins thought that a record album style would both save costs and convey an artistic feeling.[7] EA routinely referred to their developers as "artists" and gave them photo credits in their games and numerous full-page magazine ads. EA also shared lavish profits with their developers, which added to their industry appeal. Because of this novel treatment, EA was able to easily attract the best developers.[citation needed] The square "album cover" boxes (such as the covers for 1983's M.U.L.E. and Pinball Construction Set) were a popular packaging concept by Electronic Arts, which wanted to represent their developers as "rock stars".[7]

54.4.2011 13:46

Originally posted by Clam_Up:
If the article is accurately reporting the facts, the game creator assumed, as many others likely did, that somewhere along all of the version jumping product releases that EA scrapped the original code and rewrote the game from scratch.

According to the article and his lawsuit, EA has been using his code all along, likely only modifying just enough to allow them to re-release the game each year under a new version number without actually changing the core of the game. Apparently, he only recently discovered this and will now attempt to get EA to honor their commitments.

So basically what's being said is, Madden is the same game now as it was 20 years ago with updated graphics and a few additional tweaks.

That is, if I read and interpreted the article correctly.
This is where stupid comes in. At some point in development, it is easier to rewrite code in a new language than to bring it along. I just don't see the game being the same. I think there is a miss quote somewhere in the chain that lead the original author to come to the wrong conclusion. In 1992, technology had changed far enough to abandon the original code and start fresh and that is why he stopped receiving royalty checks. I think it's all an honest mistake.

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