Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

August 20, 2008 -

Yesterday we noted a New York Post report on the proposed EA takeover of Take-Two which claimed that the Federal Trade Commission, scheduled to rule on the merger by tomorrow, might require that T2 spin off one or more of its sports franchises so as not to hand EA a stranglehold on the sports segment of the market.

Heidi Moore of the Wall Street Journal digs a little deeper, interviewing Jeff Anderson, CEO of startup online sports gaming service Play Hard Sports (and former Turbine CEO) concerning his view of potential monopoly issues:

It’s in the best interests of consumers to have a choice. I’m always in favor of having more choice in the marketplace. Look at the ESPN football product when it came out. There was no [NFL] exclusivity agreement then. When Take Two changed its price point, people moved toward the Take-Two product and forced EA to reduce its price. You saw how competition can work in the advantage of the consumer.

 

The question we’re looking at, and what the FTC should be looking at, is whether this will reduce competition. If Take-Two’s sports franchise becomes part of EA, will that influence competition for the better or not? And will it influence prices positively or negatively?

 

Generally I’m not a fan of monopolies in the gaming world. We’re interested in providing a new choice to consumers. As a gameplayer, we’d love to see great games produced by these studios. And we’d love to see them compete.


Comments

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

There's a difference between legality and ethics. What Electronic Arts (Oh jesus.. I should not be referring to them with their 'good' name in this day and age) is doing is in effect reducing the quality through sheer buying power. Free market, sure my dear "Anonymous Poster", but it certainly is not condusive at all to supporting the industry as a whole. You'll see less innovation, higher prices, and worse service because EA wouldn't have to give a damn.

We've got it billy! Nowz lets get somez cash by forcing people to buyz dis cheap-ass product.. which.. isn't cheap because.. we're kinda.. charging more.

Brand Licensing Deal..
Anon, consider the fact that NFL IS not the brand, but a specific market. the NFL is so influential that it is ludicrous to believe that it is just a 'brand'. You can't have an NFL football game without the NFL name and players.

---- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

The question is, can you make a football game that is just as good, adheres to every rule of the Madden series, and does EVERYTHING 

that Maddens does except use the real names of the teams and players.  The answer is yes.  

For those of us who have been playing video games since the 1970's, we lived with the games not having real names and numbers for years.  The point is, the NFL license is just that, a brand license.  You can make the (true) 

statement that it is influential, but you can have an EQUALLY 

competent football name WITHOUT 

the NFL 

"brand".  Fact.

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

Hell yeah, they should be allowed to have exclusive rights to any sport.  Baseball, basketball, soccer, football, cricket, rugby, any racing series, olympics, golf, boxing, and so on.  If they want exclusive right to build a game around a certain team, player, or something like that fine, but it should be legally open for anyone to make those games wish approve of the appropiate branding if one wants/cares about the branding of ESPN, NFL, MLB, or anything like that.

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

EA is doing nothing wrong by having an exclusive on a <i>brand</i>.  It is not as if EA is the only company that can make football games, just NFL branded ones.  What if EA got the rights to a Michael Phelps Olympics game.  Would people still bitch about it?  Of course.  There is nothing preventing any company from making a football game to compete in the market. Nothing at all.  In fact, if a company really wanted to "pull one over"on EA, they could simply allow the player to change uniforms, rename all members of the various teams, allow you to put in your own player stats, etc.  Do this, and in a week of "internet time", you would have complete NFL rosters done by the fan community.

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

You guys are missing the point entirely.  No, EA isn't doing anything wrong by buying an exclusive right to a brand, but they DO know EXACTLY what they're doing by going after the NFL.  Nobody cares about a damn Michael Phelps video game just like nobody gave a damn when T2 got the baseball licensce, and that's why EA nor T2 hasn't gone after the NBA yet.  The fact of the matter is that this country that we live in is an NFL country by majority and EA knows that the Madden franchise is definant income with each installment.  They can't get the money they want if they have someone like T2 lowering the price on their football games, thus forcing EA to do the same.  It's not about 'oh well you can just go get another exclusive licensce to another sport', when the fact is that nobody cares about the other sports as much as they care about football and EA knows that.  Yea, T2 can still make football games just like any other developer, but EA knows that nobody wants to play a football game that has made up, fake or even retired players.  They want to play with the players of today and by them getting the NFL licensce they've intentionally put a stranglehold on the competition.  They didn't kill the competition, no, that's what they're trying to do right now, but they're only choking it at the moment.  If T2 is smart they'll go and get the NBA licensce before EA takes that too.

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

BooHoo.  Free market.  People need to get over it.  It is not a monopoly, it is a brand licensing deal.

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

I dont care what you want to call it.  EA is a horrible company that makes very few great games and should not be allowed to practice their horrid business practices nad ripping off the idiots of this world who are dumb enough to pay for a demo that should be free, pay for a game that only has a roster update, or pay for a game because it has a certain branding when it sucks.

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

Way to keep the discussion objective.  If EA was producing nothing but crap, it would not be the $4B company it is today.  Has EA lost their way from the "old" EA?  In some respects, I believe so, but welcome to the world of shareholder owned companies.  However, to say that they are ripping off the public is just ridiculous.  Nobody is forcing anyone to purchase a single damn thing from EA.  I love it when people who don't work in the industry think they know what should be free and what shouldn't.  Unless you know the budget for the game being made, it is complete speculation on your part.  As well, there are many games that you may think suck that others love and so on.

Can someone here please let me know what horrid business practices EA has?  If, by horrid, you mean competitive, then the discussion should stop there.  I know many people at EA, all in management/production,  and I can not think of a single unethical one in the bunch.

 

Re: Former Turbine CEO Talks to WSJ about EA-T2 Monopoly Threat

Man you are so bias on this.  You're speaking off of emotion because you "know" these people and not as a realist.  You're not looking at EA's actions.  Whenever someone uses financial power to push a competitor out of a certain area of contest, that person or company isn't being competitive, they're dodging competition.  I don't have much of a problem with EA outside of the sports genre because they're forced to compete in those areas since they can't BUY out every developer.  But when it comes to sports, I have a big problem because you CAN buy out competition by signing exclusive deals.  If EA's name is SOOO big then why would they need to do that?  What are they afraid of??  If another developer was going to start signing exclusive deals with sports brands then they would've been done it by now.  So basically what they've started is probably something they can't stop in which as soon as they one day let go of the NFL agreement, someone else is probably going to pick it up to stick it back to EA.  And don't get me wrong, I won't be cool with that either, even it's T2 that does it. 

And enough with the "nobody is forcing you to buy it" crap.  We know that nobody is forcing anyone to buy anything.  There's a reason why you can hardly find anyone still using windows 95 anymore.  People are always going to want to new installment of anything they like with hopes that it's better than the last and every buisness dealer knows that, and THAT'S how they jerk people around if they're the type of people that could care less about quality.

 
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