The original terms were apparently so paltry that few gamers signed up to claim payment from Electronic Arts in settlement of a class action monopoly lawsuit over its popular EA football games. So the payout to individuals has been tripled, while the total settlement amount remains the same — $27 million, according to a modified distribution order signed last week by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken.
The individual payouts could shrink, however. If many more gamers file claims, topping the $27 million maximum, then payments will be reduced and paid on a pro rata basis.
In addition to the higher potential payouts, Wilken said any undistributed remnant amount, known as cy pres, will go to the federal government, instead of the previously designated non-profit Child’s Play.
Electronic Arts has denied any wrongdoing and Wilken has not held EA did anything wrong, according to the settlement notice. The increase of the individual award does not change that, it states.
Under the new deal, gamers who submit valied claims for Madden NFL, NCAA Football or Arena Football videogames for Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC or GameCube platforms will be paid $20.37 per game to a total of eight, or $162.96. That is up from the original payment of $6.79 per game.
Gamers who bought a later version of any of the same three games on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Wii platforms will be paid $5.85 per game or a maximum for eight games of $46.80. That is an increase from the original payout of $1.95 per game.
The games must have been purchased between Jan. 1, 2005 and June 21, 2012.
If claims exceed the $27 million settlement amount, the awards will be distributed on a pro rata basis, meaning individual awards could be reduced.
There are believed to be 10 million potential class members, according to court documents.
The lawsuit claimed EA negotiated exclusive deals with the National Football League, NCAA, and its Collegiate Licensing Co. and the Arena Football League that killed off any competing football games.
The deal requires that EA not renew exclusivity agreements with CLC, which expires in 2014, or negotiate exclusive deals with the CLC or NCAA for five years following the end of that contract.
The suit was filed by game buyers Geoffrey Pecover and Andrew Owens. They will receive $5,000 each for acting as lead plaintiffs.
The lawyers for the class will receive $2 million in costs and fees of up to 30 percent of the settlement fund.
For additional details on claim requirements, check here.
Case: Pecover v. Electronic Arts Inc., No. C08-2820CW