As Electronic Arts tells it, whenever the behemoth game-maker retires an old online title, a little part of its corporate soul dies. But Justin Basset of New York City, says EA is putting down these games just to force consumers into buying new ones--and that means millions of people bought them under a false pretext.

Basset launched a class action lawsuit against EA in New York City court Saturday, claiming the company owes damages to him and everyone else who bought a retired EA title.

Just look at the packaging, Basset's legal team argues: Games like EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 or Madden NFL 10 (both of which Basset bought, along with many others) are plastered with stickers advertising their playability on services like XBOX Live and the Playstation Network. You take away that online aspect, and games lose most of their value. But EA provides no warning it'll kill them when the servers become a ghost town; there's no expiration date on a video game.

Whatever EA claims, Basset's lawsuit alleges that their real motivation is just crass, unfair capitalism:

By deceiving consumers about the availability of online play for the [games] as detailed herein,[EA] was able to command a premium price for the [games]. [EA] was motivated to mislead consumers for no other reason than to take away market share from competing products, thereby increasing its own sales and profits.

Basset and his legal team want EA to pay damages to anyone in the country who purchased one of these online games after March 1, 2007. 

Over at Forbes, attorney Kevin Underhill says the court should hurry up and toss out the lawsuit. Sure, you can't play the games online anymore, but you could for years after buying them.

"Now, if EA released an online game that couldn’t be played online, or it terminated support almost immediately, that might be a different story. The games are relatively expensive and the online feature certainly has value."

Should EA be forced to run its servers in perpetuity, just because it slapped an "XBOX Live" sticker on the box?

Read the full lawsuit here.

H/T Forbes | Photo by Major Nelson/Flickr