PlayStation faces £5bn lawsuit over alleged customer ‘scams’

A class action brought against Sony in the UK accuses the PlayStation company of “turning people off” at its digital store.

The legal claim, filed by consumer rights activist Alex Neill, alleges Sony is violating competition law by requiring that every purchase on the PlayStation Store be cut.

According to the claim, players in the UK have been ‘overcharged’ for digital purchases by £5bn ($5.9bn).

The claim, filed last week with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, says it includes anyone in the UK who has purchased games or DLC through the PlayStation Store since August 19, 2016, reportedly around 9 million people.

If the action is successful, each person will be entitled to anywhere from £67 to £562 in damages, plus interest.

The argument apparently revolves around Sony’s terms and conditions for developers and publishers willing to sell games and add-on content through PlayStation digital stores.

Sony takes a 30% discount on every purchase made, as does Steam, Xbox and the App Store (Epic takes a lower 12%) and it’s this discount that Neill claims is “turning people off”.

It’s not clear whether the lawsuit alleges that Sony should not take a commission for third-party sales on its digital stores, or whether the 30% should simply be lowered.

“The game is ready for Sony PlayStation,” Neill said in a statement to Sky News.

“With this legal action, I am standing up for the millions of British people who have unwittingly overcharged. We believe that Sony has abused its position and defrauded its customers.

PlayStation faces £5bn lawsuit over alleged customer 'scams'
The claim claims that by taking a 30% cut on all digital sales, Sony is artificially “overcharging” customers

“Gaming is now the UK’s largest entertainment industry, ahead of TV, video and music, and many vulnerable people rely on gaming for community and connection.

“Sony’s actions are costing millions of people who can’t afford it, especially now that we are in the midst of a cost of living crisis and consumer wallets are being squeezed like never before.”

Natasha Pearman, the partner leading the business, added: “Sony dominates digital distribution of PlayStation games and in-game content – it has applied an anti-competitive strategy that has resulted in exorbitant prices for customers who are out of proportion ​to the cost of Sony providing its services.”

Last month, Sony successfully convinced a US court to dismiss another lawsuit alleging the PlayStation Store was anticompetitive.

The lawsuit alleged that Sony had illegally monopolized the market because Sony only sells digital copies of PlayStation games on the PlayStation Store.

However, according to the ruling, the plaintiffs – a group of players who buy games from the PlayStation Store – had to demonstrate that the decision to sell only games on the PlayStation Store was intended to cut off competition and that it had ended a profitable business. company to control the market.

Judge Richard Seeborg of the US District Court for the Northern District of California concluded that this was not sufficiently proven.