Man who claims he developed Madden game sues EA for millions, possibly billions

On the same day that MDS posted a blurb regarding the impact of concussions on the next version of the Madden game, we’ve stumbled over a story that, after reading it, makes us feel like we’ve suffered a concussion of our own.

According to Reuters, Robin Antonick claims that he created the first versions of the Madden franchise in the 1980s for the MS Dos, Apple II, and Commodore 64 platforms.  And he claims that he recently realized that he wrongfully has been denied a piece of the profits as it has exploded onto all sorts of other derivative platforms.

He wants tens of millions in unpaid royalties and “disgorgement” of nearly $4 billion in profits from the sale of the game.

Antonick allegedly hasn’t received a royalty payment since 1992.  So why is he causing a ruckus 19 years later?

“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,” the complaint states.  “Instead, according to recent statements by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the current generation of software apparently derived from software developed by Antonick.”

Antonick has to make that claim because, otherwise, the statute of limitations for any claims to be filed by Antonick have long since expired.  And while the so-called “discovery rule” delays the running of the clock when the plaintiff had no knowledge nor reason to know that his rights had been violated, a reasonable person would have realized at some point over the past, you know, two decades, that the Madden game as played on various other platforms and devices possibly derives from the work Antonick did.

So even if Antonick’s claims have merit, his biggest challenge will be to show that he didn’t wait too long to pursue the case.

63 responses to “Man who claims he developed Madden game sues EA for millions, possibly billions

  1. When you could possibly win 4 billion dollars you try to win no matter how late it is. And I’m sure he was busy with his billions he already made until he spent it all on jewelry then reallized he needed more

  2. “So even if Antonick’s claims have merit, his biggest challenge will be to show that he didn’t wait too long to pursue the case.”


    There are clear rules on the books to address that. His real challenge will be paying his own enormous attorney fees to mount a legal fight, when EA can just drive him to bankruptcy and beyond paying their own lawyers to stall him out.

  3. If there was something that you truly created, no way do you wait 20 + years to say, “oh by the way, I created that…”. EA should counter sue for slander over this fraudulent claim

  4. Greedy person sues greedy company who has a monopoly on making games for greedy organization with greedy players.

    Did I understand this correctly?

  5. It’s already a done deal. They’ll settle on something like 50 million for a buyout of whatever rights and blah blah blah…

  6. Maybe he was in the time freeze that Austin Powers was in…million to a billion. 19 years ago a million was a lot to sue for, now its a billion. In other news Tecmo Bowl is looking to sue Sega…….

  7. you know while we’re at it, I’d like to claim that i invented the career mode or HOF mode or whatever its called…i thought of that back in ’02, so id, er, like to add my name to to, er, the list of plaintiffs…

  8. I guess he figures since he’s still alive, he “didn’t wait too long”. Hahahahaha good luck, homie.

  9. You mean a guy who made a group of 5 pixels move across a green rectangle and called it football wants credit for the unbelievably advanced physics, play calling system, announcing crew, and in-depth graphics they have in the games now?

    The original Maddens were no more revolutionary than a Barbie game back then. You might as well sue Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony while you’re at it and just say you invented the video game.

  10. If he developed the software in the beginning then wouldn’t he have worked for the company? Or at least a company? As messed up as it is, if you create something while working for a company then the invention is property of the company. He shouldn’t be able to claim anything. Maybe I am missing something but it doesn’t seem like he has a leg to stand on. Invent something on company time and by all legal means, the company is the one that invented it.

  11. It’s just a video game. Dude was probably over paid when he worked there. But EA will probably pay up megabucks.

  12. I read the complaint. Sounds like this guy is going to be into a lot of money.

    And it sounds like EA is a bunch of slimy crooks.

  13. I hope he gets his due in court.. sue for 4 billion all he needs is for the judge to say EA is only 10% liable.. that’s 400 million right there! so of course.. they should cut him a nice.. 60 million dollar check to go away.. but I hope it bankrupts them!

  14. If the case is strong enough he could easily win, but he will NEVER, I repeat, NEVER, be awarded that much money. Truthfully, I see him getting a few million in settlement and the case being dropped. He has a strong enough claim to take it to court and cost EA a lot of money regardless of a verdict, and 9/10 these companies choose to just pay a small chunk in settlement compared to what they would lose through 3 years of litigation.

    I would love to see him win the full amount and force EA to give up the rights to Madden though. 2K sports FTW.

    Never forget the NFL2K series. The series so good they forced EA to buy out the rights before they started getting romped all over in the NFL category.

  15. I hope he bankrupts ea. That game has been a total scam for at least the last 4 years. I don’t think they’ve changed a thing since the first version of the game on xbox 360. I refuse to pay $60 for updated rosters. The NFL really needs to give the license to another company. Ea has taken a game I used to love and turned it into a game that I despise. I wish everybody slew would wise up and stop buying it like I have.

  16. thats a really sophisticated headline.

    why not just say zillions or cajillions!

  17. Now, before you morons out there start jumping all over this guy for trying to cash in, realize that intellectual property, in the form of script ideas, books, games, etc. are stolen from everyday people, just like you by big corporations, EVERYDAY! They use their deep pockets and lawyers to outspend and outlast them in court get away with it because they know that most everyday guys don’t have the money or the fortitude to stand up to fight for what is theirs. I really don’t understand why working class folk defend big corporations like EA and the NFL. They consider you nothing more than a dollar sign and a necessary evil.

  18. The game has changed drastically since it’s first versions. I used to have it for either my C64 or Amiga (I think the Amiga, but can’t remember which). The game was drastically less arcade-like then the rest of the football offerings of the time and heavily heavily stat and play driven. I remember it because I used to love how much it was into letting you design your own plays with a lengthy playbook already present (and how much into calling plays the game was). A few years later they dropped that stat/play driven approach in favor of flashier graphics and a less “stat head” approach and the game really took off. This, and not teh original verison, is what evolved into the Madden we have today. That’s why I don’t get this guys suit (unless he was part of the dramatic redesign, and not the actual original Madden).

  19. Actually his biggest challenge will be coming up with enough money to fight them. They can afford to buy a judge or 2. Oh, and tomgall, it’s a lawsuit, not a suit. a suit is something you wear. A lawsuit is something that wears on you.

  20. I suppose this guy was lost in a cave with Gullum for 20 yrs? Or did he wake up last week and go to a store for the first time in 2 decades and discover, to his shock, that “his” game was being sold without his consent.
    Give me a break!

  21. texline1:
    I’ve got a few typos in that post (I posted it with groggy morning eyes) but the use of the word ‘suit’ wasn’t one of them. It’s commonly used as a short version of’ lawsuit’. Go ahead and google it (or look it up at a dictionary website or in an actual dictionary).

  22. People say Madden sucks, but what else is out there? And please don’t tell me the 2K franchise. I know many people liked that, but if it was so good it wouldn’t have been bought out. When Madden comes out each year, it is like a holiday to most game players. We live for it and enjoy it. So what if it isn’t great EACH year, not everything that comes out yearly is. And for the person who said that it hasn’t changed much since the first one… what game system do you use? It is changed by leaps and bounds over the years. Could it be better… yes. Is it better than any other pro football game out there… absolutely.

  23. In a past life I helped invent the light bulb. So I think I shall seek about 202 years of backpay.

  24. Complete garbage. 15 to 20 years after the fact? C’mon. Microsoft basically stole DOS from IBM, and IBM didn’t win that one.

    $4 billion?
    Are you Dr. Evil?
    C’mon you loser. Take your $100K to go shut up, or have the suit punted out of court in 5 minutes. What a joke.

  25. People kill me. “They release the same game every year” It’s not like football changes that much from year to year. Yes I would like some added bells and whistles in the franchise mode, etc. But at the end of the day its a football game/semi simulation. What are they going to change? Add a 5th down? No punting?

  26. I guess many of you don’t quite understand how codebase works. If he’s not working for EA then he doesn’t have access to any of the code used in any of the games. Many yearly games use parts of the previous versions code to build on top of the new game. It’s entirely possible the new maddens have some bits of the old madden code from 20 years ago even if it is as simple as tracking the score of the game.

    An example is the Call of Duty games. The original was based on id tech 3 from id software. An engine built in 1999 and the 1st Call of Duty released in 2003. You can still see Id Software copyright disclaimers on the current release of the Call of Duty franchise because some of the old code base is still lingering around as the game engines for the new were just built on top of the previous.

    It is actually possible some of this guys old code is still lingering around this years code, even if its just a few lines worth and the guy would have no clue since the code is never released to anyone outside the company. EA seemingly opened the door by relating the new games with the old.

  27. To all the people who can’t read…

    This guy isn’t suing Electronic Arts for $4 Billion…

    “He wants tens of millions in unpaid royalties and “disgorgement” of nearly $4 billion in profits from the sale of the game.”

    I repeat…”tens of millions in unpaid royalties OF nearly $4 billion in profits”

  28. What I would like to see in Madden is more ways to customize the uniforms we ourselves create.

    Oh, and we need more turducken.

  29. Madden has the rights to espn why not use it? commentary before kick off.. keys to the game, halftime show with replays.. Week 8 NFL Draft Preview.. Scouting Combine… Senior Bowl.. updated rookies that changes anytime you play franchise mode.. im tired of knowing which rookies are good and know which ones are steals! Training Camp etc!

  30. Ohhh and if you want to relocate your team you should and use the same LOGOS!! Idiots! 2k5 did 90% what I talk about on my last post.. almost 7 years ago with 3rd of the technology, Wake up MADDEN!

  31. Bring back Tecmo Bowl. Bo ran for a TD every time he touched the ball. Bo knows football.

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