In the world of video games, EA’s “Madden Football” reigns nearly supreme. Just like Will Smith summer blockbusters of the ’90s, it’s had a release slot that other games give a wide berth to. The first week of August belongs to the multibillion-dollar gridiron giant and the faithful fans who march into stores to get it as soon as they can. But, the “Madden” dynasty started in an era when teams creating video games didn’t number into the hundreds and now one of the founding fathers of the mega-successful football franchise wants his due.
Robin Antonick–who worked on the first version of “John Madden Football” that came out in 1988–claims he’s owed a cut of profits from the sales of every iteration since. A Reuters article reports that Antonick filed a lawsuit this week that claims he’s entitled to royalties from derivative versions of “Madden.” Even before EA locked down the exclusive rights to NFL video games, “Madden” dominated the football genre and made money year after year in a way that few franchises in games have been able to, reportedly earning $4 billion over its lifetime. Part of Antonick’s assertion is that that success is built on a foundation that he laid.
Now, anyone who’s played the first “Madden” and the most recent versions would probably say that there’s likely very little of Antonick’s programming left in the today’s Xbox 360 or PS3 iterations. But, if you look on the lower right-hand corner of that box, Antonick’s name is there, preceding Madden’s The time may soon come where it’s determined what that credit is worth.