Sony is set to face a $7.9 billion class action lawsuit over its excessive PlayStation Store prices. The lawsuit was originally filed in August 2022 by consumer rights campaigner Alex Neill apparently on behalf of 8.9 million PlayStation customers who feel that Sony’s dominant position in the gaming market led to increased or marked up prices of digital games on the PlayStation Store.
As reported by Video Games Chronicle, the class action lawsuit being aimed at Sony alleges that the Japanese company abuses its dominant position in the gaming market by overcharging customers for digital games and add-on content. The suit claims that Sony enforced strict terms and conditions on game developers and publishers due to PlayStation’s monopoly over digital sales – essentially, these terms enable the company to dictate the price of digital content and charge a 30% commission on every purchase.
The lawsuit claims that this “results in excessive and unfair prices to consumers.” Sony has attempted to squash the lawsuit but the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal has now granted Neill approval to go to trial with the case. Neill stated:
“This is the first step in ensuring consumers get back what they’re owed as a result of Sony breaking the law. PlayStation gamers’ loyalty has been taken advantage of by Sony who have been charging them excessive prices for years. It is significant that the competition court has recognised Sony must explain its actions by ordering them to trial. With this action we are seeking to put a stop to this unlawful conduct and ensure customers are compensated.”
The case may take several years to reach a conclusion.
The news has been met with some raised eyebrows, mainly questioning the ethics of PlayStation’s monopalisation of digital content on its platform. However, this is just the start of the case and things could escalate in any direction, though we probably won’t see the conclusive results for a few more years.
In other news, PlayStation is reportedly reversing its live service games push and significantly cutting down the amount of live service games in development by half, leading to only six games arriving by 2026 as opposed to the 12 it had originally planned.
Source: Video Games Chronicle