Madden programmer wins $11M in EA Lawsuit

Madden NFL Football programmer wins court case against Electronic Arts; payout exceeds $11 million.

The original programmer of the Madden NFL football games has been awarded more than $11 million in a lawsuit with Electronic Arts. Programmer Robin Antonick alleged that he was owed royalties for several EA games published between 1990 and 1996, which EA broke contract to create.

According to the case, EA and Antonick signed several contracts, one of which was a 1986 agreement that required EA to pay "royalties on any derivative works related to the original version of EA Madden, including current annual releases, and prohibits EA from using his confidential information."

The lawsuit claimed that EA had failed to pay "millions of dollars" in royalties owed and broke the confidentiality agreement as required by the contract.

The jury ruled that multiple EA games published between 1990-96 used similar plays and formations, and were "virtually identical" to the original Madden NFL Football game, which was developed by Antonick. As a result of the verdict, Antonick is entitled to more than $11 million.

Antonick and his attorneys will also be appealing previous rulings that saw Super Nintendo games excluded and "fraud claims from the jury deliberations." The next phase of the trial will further determine whether Antonick is entitled to a payout for games published from 1997 to present, which have earned over $3 billion in revenue.

Written By

Zorine “harli” Te is a long time Australian competitive gamer and also an Associate Editor at GameSpot.

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Discussion

161 comments
alldaelong
alldaelong

used similar plays and formations, and were "virtually identical" to the original Madden NFL Football game"

Isn't this true of all Madden games...just give the man his money.

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

So? What do you Think Dead Space was when it first came out, Mirror's Edge, BF, and so on. They are starting a new trilogy with Mass Effect and bringing back the creative Mirror's Edge, and the highest rated game at EA, Titanfall. You think everyone is perfect? Of course not but there is a lot to look forward to and EA is bring a lot of games people are anxious for.

talamalopilis
talamalopilis

So this is how im seeing it>> your a developer you sign a long term contract with EA and then EA says, screw you were not paying you anymore. This shows that its not always fun and games to work in the gaming industry, it is also a ruthless and competitive business environment. 

camp1301
camp1301

"similar plays and formations?" Um, it's called football.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

$11 million? That's gotta be like a week's worth of EA's lunch-money.

I sure hope Antonick's lawyers did more than just show the jury a screenshot of a couple of the old Madden games. Part of me thinks they should've made a point to have a couple of programmers in the jury.

nurnberg
nurnberg

EA were scumbags even in the 80s and 90s.

tsunami2311
tsunami2311

stick it to ea they deserve it they ruined so many franchise in my eyes.

twisted_sith
twisted_sith

oh ffs. he wants MORE than 11 million? i'd give half of it to the poor and retire forever.

yearssomuch
yearssomuch

Seriously, good for him. I've been following this for a while now and I honestly thought he would have no chance against EA's lawyers.
It's always nice to see greedy publishers get taken down a peg.

PicklePuffer
PicklePuffer

Thats funny how different did these 8 bit football games actually differ one from the other. Never really played thoses games

"used similar plays and formations, and were "virtually identical" to the original Madden NFL Football game"

Paul2004
Paul2004

Good to see that not all company's can buy a courtroom...not very often a big company looses a case. I wonder if he will get more or if EA will appeal...time will tell i suppose

Triton
Triton

Bet EA just jacks up the price on the next version of Madden to cover this.... lol.

anomaly3001
anomaly3001

He won' t bankrupt EA but I hope this makes the NFL end ALL exclusivity contracts and let all publishers create NFL games!

adroge1
adroge1

The funniest part of the article was that the jury agreed that all those versions of Madden were virtually identical. Nothing has changed.

XxXeroxX
XxXeroxX

Karma, I love you. God, I hope this guy wins his appeals and just bankrupts EA. I want to see him laugh all the way to the bank.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

I'm actually surprised EA ever made those contracts. Normally, anything created, source code included, when done on a company's dime is owned entirely by the company. I guess EA has learned not to make these contracts anymore lol 

Anxiety21
Anxiety21

I have a feeling this is only the beginning... ;D

lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

Ah, back when every Madden was a different experience.  How nice.

PeterMiller
PeterMiller

LOL 11 million. EA will be more happy to pay that. at that time these were the games which makes EA what it is right now.

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Crysis 3 Glitch

Derugs
Derugs

Holy sh*%... Wow 

Nickplays
Nickplays

i get this sinking feeling that EA is just not a good place to work.

snaketus
snaketus

11 million is so little money for EA really. But as always it's still 11 million.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Good for him.  Bad for EA, who allowed ill-advised contract wording and "virtually identical" work from 1986 until now.

DahLong
DahLong

I wish I can have $11 million too.

Atragon
Atragon

Good for him. EA just loves to screw people over.

Revl8n
Revl8n

It's well established knowledge that the E in EA dies not stand for ethical.

dannypoppe
dannypoppe

This is what EA needs to bring them down a notch. good for this guy now as someone has stated take some money and create a rival game maybe team up with 2k and out do madden ?


SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

It's okay laughing at EA but the consumer will be the one that ends up paying for it in the long.

daabulls23
daabulls23

"EA games published between 1990-96 used similar plays and formations, and were "virtually identical" to the original Madden NFL Football game"

Watch this ruling come out for the modern games as well. 

LJNkickstarter
LJNkickstarter

With all that money he can now developed his own game or not.

Divedude
Divedude

LOL, its EA, it will be tied up in appeals until he is dead.

xtraflossy
xtraflossy

It's as if he won the lottery in a way, the same way indie devs on android make a game that surprisingly sell in the millions in the store.

Good for him, shame on EA for not paying valuable employees what's due and honoring their own contracts.

devild0ogwhite
devild0ogwhite

@Triton It's only 11 million dollars, I know that sounds like a lot, but for them it's not.

zintarr
zintarr

@Sefrix It was when programmers were respected. Now they are treated like dirt.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Sefrix It must have happened when EA was still young and stupid, as opposed to now, when they're evil and scheming, lol.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@lionheartssj1Not according to the court, at least as far 1990-1996 is concerned: "EA games published between 1990-96... were 'virtually identical' to the original Madden NFL Football game", but perhaps the court doesn't appreciate the enhancements and differences between each game.

XxXeroxX
XxXeroxX

@PeterMiller Read the entire thing. He's going to appeal rulings that could entitle him to even more. 

snaketus
snaketus

@dannypoppe It would be great to see other than EA Sports games for change. I want my NHL back to PC where it belongs.

gogoleafs
gogoleafs

@SteamyPotatoes No you won't if you stop buying rehashed games year after year promoting this behavior from these companies... :(

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

@jameson425 @adroge1 Nothing like crushing your friend's spirits with a highlight stick evade with Tiki Barber on his last safety between you and the endzone. God, Madden 07 really was the bees knees. Nothing's above 2K5 though. Nothing. 

Zloth2
Zloth2

@zintarr @Sefrix Hardly!  Oh, well, game programmers maybe because everyone wants to be one but outside the game industry?  A programmer getting treated like dirt is a programmer that's going to have a better job next week.