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Madden NFL Scores $11 Million Touchdown With Official Ruling

EA walks away with a win after the judge watched the replay.

Electronic Arts (EA) finally caught a stroke of luck. With recent news of their VP, founder, and developers all bailing on the company, things aren't looking good. Add having lost a court battle for the original coding of Madden, and it's been a long 12 months for the behemoth. Finally, they recovered one of those many fumbles, thanks to an overruling.

Let's take a walk down memory lane

According to Game Informer, Robin Antonick, the original creator of the multi-million dollar Madden franchise won a court case in July of last year. The $11 million lawsuit held EA responsible for NOT paying Mr. Antonick. He claims of missing royalties since they still use the same basic coding from '96 for the franchise today.

Well, U.S. district judge Charles Breyer, overturned that ruling. The judge stated this, in regards to the evidence presented to the jury:

“Without the opportunity to view each of the versions, the jury had no basis for evaluating whether the changes addressed altered each subsequent game,"

"The law requires a side-by-side comparison before jurors can make an evaluation of copyright infringement."

Shortly after, Game Informer reached out to EA for a response to the ruling. The company rep was happy to say via email:

"We are thrilled to see the claims resolved in favor of EA,"

"...because Antonick had no involvement in the Sega Madden games, he had no entitlement to further royalties."

My Thoughts

I by no means have seen the cases presented, but if they are still using part of this man's original source code... that's a huge problem. He deserves the money. Although, I would really like to see how a 2013 iteration of a game could in any way compare to a 1996 version. It's been almost two decades, along with two if not three cycles of new consoles. That seems odd that EA would slip up about that.

EA is big and likes to make money; they're a business. Everyone makes mistakes, but not tying up any loose ends like this seems foolish. Madden is their best-selling franchise and continues to sell every year. EA has been hit hard enough in recent months, they don't need to lose out on too much more money. I'd hate to see another studio close its doors due to this.

@Coatedpolecat

Published Jan. 24th 2014
  • Michael Anderson
    Featured Contributor
    I guarantee you that nothing in todays version is anywhere remotely based on the first coded version of this.

    You could argue that the game logic could use some of the same logic from the beginning, but that is more likely a result of it all being based on the game of football itself, rather than it all being based on this guys first code.

    But I am sure they have completely re-written the engine several times over at this point.
  • Casey_2021
    First you can't argue like this:

    "I guarantee you that nothing in todays version is anywhere remotely based on the first coded version of this."

    unless you actually worked with EA sports on development or have seen the source code you really have no literal clue and only an opinion based on your presumptions. Not that I disagree really.. just saying you can't say that.. and saying that doesn't make what you say true.

    When programming a computer does exactly what it is told and if you have an engine that is running great "passing, kicking, etc." you aren't going to start over. You are going to update.. and even if you start over you are still going to use bits and pieces of old code as foundations.

    that is the question though isn't it.. the only way to really find out is to get a copy of each physical game as well as source code for each release.. obviously someone who doesn't know who to write code would be just looking at gibberish, but someone that knows about development would be able to point out the similarities as well as differences..
  • Casey_2021
    Knowing how coding works, anytime you are updating you are simply adding to existing code or changing small amounts of data.. so even though it is a decade and a half later, unless at some point between then and now, they completely reconstructed the basis of code the game is written on.. I am a little irritated at this.. I'm happy the EA sports is going to survive.. I think gaming needs there superior products, but original source code is intellectual property unless you are under a contract while working for someone else that stated the code belongs to the parent company and subsidiaries.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    I agree, I do think EA, would've had a lawyer or loyal dev that would have caught this back in 97 or later.

    Another question is, why did the guy wait so long?

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