Electronic Arts is facing a jury trial over the Madden NFL lawsuit that has been launched against them.
The company that was once considered a rising star among the video game world has fallen on the hardest of hard times lately. This jury trial, in which a company that has been viewed as the worst in America will have to win over hearts and minds couldn’t come at a worse time.
The lawsuit was brought against EA by Robin Antonick who was a computer programmer back before Madden was any kind of series at all. Antonick wrote a program for the old Apple II operating system. He was hired by EA in order to work on a program that was simply called “Football.”
A year after coming aboard, the company contracted with John Madden and started raking in the dough with the Madden NFL series. The problems between Antonick and EA arose when the company cut ties with the developer while bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars.
The developer claims that the company is still using aspects of his original design without bothering to pay him royalties for that work. Among the features that the disgruntled worked claims are still in use is the fact that players will automatically tackle the ball carrier if they are close enough to him.
Electronic Arts has countered that concepts like that are no-brainers and therefore they don’t need to be paying him money for the concept. The lawsuit has already gone through some initial vetting by a district court judge.
That judge did throw out parts of the lawsuit but there was still enough left behind that a jury trial was needed. The problem for EA is that a jury trial can go either way for it, partly because a jury can be made up of people who don’t understand the intricacies of video game coding.
Electronic Arts has to step into the great unknown with millions at stake and a run of bad luck to beat the band.