According to a Financial Times report, Sony Corporation SONY has been sued for allegedly "overcharging" millions of PlayStation users in the U.K. by abusing its market dominance.
According to the investigation, Sony is accused of placing "unfair" terms and conditions on game publishers and developers, which caused unfair pricing that was ultimately passed on to Sony PlayStation end users. According to the research, it is probable that close to 8.9 million people were impacted by the unjust pricing, which might entail a payout of up to £5 billion. Since August 2016, any customer who purchased digital games or add-on content through a console or the PlayStation store is qualified for compensation. The claim's anticipated damages range from £67 to $562 per person. Alex Neill, a consumer rights specialist, filed the lawsuit.
According to lawyers, Sony shouldn't be utilizing its "near-monopoly" over the selling of digital games, especially Sony PlayStation titles, to impose exorbitant costs on customers. There are other platforms besides Sony that mandate a 30% share (most major storefronts do, with the notable exception of the Epic Games Store). If the courts find that the PlayStation environment is a monopoly, we'll have to wait and see how that would affect other walled gardens, such as app stores or Steam.
According to the plaintiffs, Sony is harming customers who cannot purchase its games because gaming is the largest entertainment sector in the UK.
Alex Neill, a consumer rights activist who filed the lawsuit, said,
“We’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis and the consumer purse is being squeezed like never before.”
The most significant legal action against the 30% commission was brought by Epic Games against Apple. After Fortnite's publisher attempted to incorporate its own payment system, evading the store's ability to take a 30% cut of the game's microtransactions, Apple banned Fortnite from its App Store. In addition to stating that Apple was not in violation of antitrust law, the court determined that Apple could not force microtransactions to take place through the App Store.
Back in 2019, Sony stopped allowing third-party merchants like Amazon to sell digital download codes for Sony PlayStation games. Similar action was taken by Nintendo, which barred European stores from selling first-party digital game codes.
While Sony banned other stores from selling digital download codes, they are still permitted to offer PSN credit. In contrast to being able to get the same game from merchants at frequently lower costs, this still forces users to pay Sony's asking price for it.
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