Madden creator sues EA for lost royalties

Programmer of original football sim sues megapublisher, claiming he was excluded from series' massive profits.

Since its inception, Madden NFL Football has grown into the biggest sports franchise on the planet. Since it was introduced nearly 23 years ago, the series has sold 85 million units and generated in excess of $4 billion in profits, helping publisher Electronic Arts lock down a monopoly on the NFL franchise until 2013.

Madden creator Robin Antonick wants a bigger piece of the Madden pie.

The riches EA has reaped from the franchise have apparently angered Robin Antonick, who helped create the original Madden game back in 1988. Now, according to Reuters, Antonick is suing EA, accusing the megapublisher of withholding royalties and demanding a share of the massive profits the series has generated over the years.

According to Antonick, even though the Madden series has become much more sophisticated, it is still based on his original game, meaning he is due a share of the franchise's income. He claims he hasn't received any form of payment from the game since 1992, the year before the franchise was renamed from Madden Football to Madden NFL Football.

"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," reads 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."

As of press time, EA had not commented on the matter.

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130 comments
derekscorp
derekscorp

I hope that this somehow leads to EA losing their exclusivity over the NFL license, so that Sega can make their -superior- 2K games again. It makes sense that EA and Microsoft are so chummy. They're both huge, evil corporations who no longer care about gamers, and will screw over anyone to make a buck. People are finally seeing the truth.

alixkid
alixkid

@TheTrainer1980 Don't really care bro All i know is EA is a Scab of a company that prays on smaller companies to expand its Bland Games.

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

so he sue EA, does this means he could "get the money and help 2k get back to the NFL gaming biz"?, my funny guess.

SoulReaper1337
SoulReaper1337

EA is reaping what it caused, they have done everything they can to earn a profit and its coming to bite them in the ass... about time.

MrPepino000
MrPepino000

Come on EA!!! Give the man some credit!!!!!!! >:(

MuffintopX
MuffintopX

Hey everybody sue EA, it's cool!

awheaten
awheaten

For the first time, in a long time, I don't know what to say about this one. With that said, I don't know why that guy just didn't do this 15 to 17 yrs ago. Its 2011 for heaven sakes. This guy must really need some cash. My thought is, how old is this guy. Ya know, it seems like a decision made by his children. Anyway, I wish him luck. EA is a hostle takeover company. They've done some really shady things like the NFL license and the 2K scandle. Not a EA fan.

rambios
rambios

I met Robin Antonick in 1998 when he and his partner wrote the original Madden game. He came into the Baggages video game store I was working in, introduced himself, and pointed to the shelf where his game was displayed. Mr. Antonick then went on to form another game company and release a science fiction title that really went nowhere and he sort of vanished. Now he decides to sue EA for a game that has been out for 20 years! Pathetic! Good luck winning that one!

Netherscourge
Netherscourge

Anything that forces EA to spend money on lawyers makes me smile. Win or lose, they're blowing money on court hearings. It's a win-win. Maybe EA will wake up and listen to the hardcore fans for once, and not just the mainstream zombies who just hand over their paychecks for rehashed games every year.

awesomead
awesomead

How would Trip Hawkins know anything about what the current Madden is built on? He left EA in the early 90s to go make the 3DO.

fadersdream
fadersdream

the more successful you get the more people will try to sue you.

burnettaj
burnettaj

Red Flag! You waited 19 years to file your complaint. Out of money are you?

pokecharm
pokecharm

I like that he's suing them now, not when he first noticed he was getting excluded, but now...niice ;)

Liferow
Liferow

May not be needed in this case, but next time patent your creations. It makes everything that much easier.

raphaeljoash
raphaeljoash

If he's one of the reasons that the franchise is huge now i dont see why dont you just pay the man

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Ahhhhh bull. Jealousy as ever. Why wait until now to claim royalties? Because the man has only just realised how much EA are making. "Ever had an accident that wasn't your fault?" Yeah.. He should have complained sooner. I doubt this will get anywhere to be honest. Greed at its most obvious.

tommy_boy9999
tommy_boy9999

this is like when Marvel wouldnt pay Stan Lee and he had to sue. Just pay the man. Trip hawkins doesnt even pay his taxes

xblane
xblane

@Mr_arizona Isn't John Madden's parents suing EA?

phatkat68
phatkat68

Since he's the reason madden exist pay the man what he's owed

dortega120
dortega120

Hes barely suing when Madden when the 20th anniversary was about 3 years ago. Why barely sue now? Also he barely noticed Madden's popularity around that time also, while I recall Madden being really popular before then. Honestly where has he been? Im a Madden fan disgruntled at EA, but Robin Antonick deserves to lose this case for being an idiot and slow.

volume_three
volume_three

Where's Antonick been for the past 20 years? Now this is why acid is bad for you.

X-7
X-7

Wow. He is just now filing a suit? lolz

IntenseJohn
IntenseJohn

EA is great at taking advantage of us as consumers and their developers. Serves you right EA, you guys are great at hyping and sucking us into your mediocre products. Stop caring about how many millions you've made and start caring about how you treat others.

bizuit
bizuit

Is there a rule somewhere that says whenever EA is mentioned in an article that all the kids out there must come on the article and post greed all over it????

Nocturnal15
Nocturnal15

NFL 2K was always the superior series. EA needs to rot for locking down the NFL videogame franchise.

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

so nothings changed at EA? ripping off developers and customers alike!

Microsteve
Microsteve

Madden is still exactly the same game today as it was then, pay the guy already EA you cheapskates

L10nH3ArT86
L10nH3ArT86

I think stupidity trumps all sins as being the biggest glaring flaw in humans. Anyway if you created the originating game, you would want a paycheck today too. Oh yeah what your doing hasancakir, is called ignorance.

hasancakir
hasancakir

GREEEED!! Greatest sin of the humans after arrogance :)

dreamforager
dreamforager

EA deserves all kinds of bad karma after their exclusivity deal with the NFL. Because of them, we'll never see a current gen sequel to Tecmo Super Bowl. I hope he wins.

Mr_arizona
Mr_arizona

(Reads article title) Why would anyone sue John Madden's parents?

ZICO11
ZICO11

i love u americans but i hate your eggball sport YOUR FRIENDS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST

WhatsY0UTUB3
WhatsY0UTUB3

Look at all these kids commenting after reading the first paragraph. Read the whole thing before you say anything.

zodiackilla
zodiackilla

he shouldnt have used all his money on drugs and woman

lurkyuk
lurkyuk

i dont know why people are bashing Antonick. if you read the WHOLE thing it makes it clear at the end (who reads that far, right?) that EAs founder admitted they still use Antonick's code to some degree so he wants money for it. They stopped paying him in 92 and i'm guessing he trusted them that they rebuilt the game from scratch, which is why he hasnt done anything for the past 19 years until Trip Hawkins slip up saying that they still used it.

BigJohnWV
BigJohnWV

Umm....1992? He waited 19 years to file a lawsuit....was he busy in between those times? Just another idiot trying to get money, wouldn't surprise me if he didn't do this now because of Activision's suit hoping EA would just settle so they could deal with them. EA may be greedy idiots but I'm with them on this, just another money grabbing idiot.

Cloud737
Cloud737

Ha, so he only found this out because EA flaunted it's 20th anniversary to the gaming crowd (which of course he doesn't follow, otherwise he would've known since 1992)? Also, I seriously doubt there's any piece of the original 1992 Madden Football code in today's Madden software, though I do think it's plausible EA reused his code till about 1999 or so. I'm programming for a living so I should know better about how much devs want to reuse code as much as possible, but also as to how it's hard to reuse decades-old code (and how little it would be compared to the overall program). In any case, even though it's not right, I hope he wins this case and deals EA a big blow, whether he is right or not. I just hate EA that much for what it's done to us gamers.

strawberry9
strawberry9

What an a**hole.... i hope he loses, lol it's like if I got fired from a car company and expected royalties because I helped design an older model of the car -_-

Marky360
Marky360

@Soilworker1234 Tell that to all the die hard Madden fanboys who buy Madden every year no matter what my uncle's one of em. First a NFL lock out and now no Madden He'd probably faint.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

So what, somebody told him 20 years ago that they weren't really using his code anymore and now he's having second thoughts? What has this guy been doing for the past two decades that he just now decides to pay attention? It would be nice to hear more about why he's waited so long, otherwise this guy just looks like another knucklehead looking to get rich off of the work of somebody else.

VagrantChrisX
VagrantChrisX

This is my Opinion, but this is the info I get from the article. He stopped getting paid in 1992 when the game changed from Madden Football to Madden NFL Football. They may have sent him a letter stating that a new code was going to be used and he will no longer be eligible for receiving royalties for any future versions of the game. Trip Hawkins recently made a comment though stating that the current software derived from the original software developed by Antonick. Bam!! straight in the balls, the founder mistakenly told everyone that they were still using the basis of the original code created by Antonick. This only means, Antonick has proof that EA was playing the funny business and now is attempting to get back all royalties owed from 1992 to 2011. People don't hurt people, words hurt people. Since the world is also going to end in 2012, Antonick is trying to get a peace of heaven before the end of the world. If Antonick has enough evidence, go for it buddy. Goodluck.

LeoLex_
LeoLex_

Madden sucks old man balls!

valengar
valengar

EA should just figure out how much they would have to pay in court and lawyer fees, give it to the guy instead, and walk away.

earlthecannibal
earlthecannibal

We the gamers should sue EA for poor game development and the $59 price point.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Why has it taken Robin Antonick 22 years to notice that Madden games are a big brand? If I thought I was entitled to royalties I probably would have spoken up earlier.