- A UK lawsuit claims that Sony has been ripping off consumers by enforcing unfair conditions on developers and publishers.
- The legal claim states that 30 percent commission on all digital games and in-game content purchases increase the prices for consumers.
- It also states that consumers have been overcharged for digital games as much as £5 billion over the last 6 years.
A consumer rights activist in the UK, Alex Neill, has sued Sony PlayStation for allegedly ripping off 9 million consumers, according to Sky News. The legal claim accuses Sony of breach of competition law by abusing its power in the market to enforce unfair conditions on developers and publishers, which increases prices for consumers. The claim also states that the company allegedly “ripped people off” by charging 30 percent commission on digital game and in-game purchases via the PlayStation Store.
On Friday I brought a collective action legal claim against Sony PlayStation, which argues that the games console giant breached competition law by unlawfully overcharging PlayStation customers. https://t.co/6pnd4p7nc0— Alex Neill (@tweeneill) August 22, 2022
According to the legal claim filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, consumers have been allegedly overcharged for digital games as much as £5 billion over the period of six years. The legal claim states that any PlayStation user in the UK who has purchased digital games or additional in-game content via the PlayStation Store since August 19th, 2016, is potentially entitled to compensation from Sony. The estimated damages for each user are between £67 and £562 without interest.
Neill says, “The game is up for Sony PlayStation. With this legal action I am standing up for the millions of UK people who have been unwittingly overcharged. We believe Sony has abused its position and ripped off its customers.” Neill added, “Gaming is now the biggest entertainment industry in the UK, ahead of TV, video and music and many vulnerable people rely on gaming for community and connection. The actions of Sony is costing millions of people who can’t afford it, particularly when we’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis and the consumer purse is being squeezed like never before.”
Alex Neill is represented by Milberg London LLP. Natasha Pearman, who leads the case, has said, “Sony dominates the digital distribution of PlayStation games and in-game content; it has deployed an anti-competitive strategy which has resulted in excessive prices to customers that are out of all proportion to the costs of Sony providing its services. This claim is only possible because of the opt-out collective action regime that was introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015; a regime which Alex fought to introduce. We are looking forward to working with Alex and making sure that the regime achieves its aims of protecting and compensating consumers.”
The 30 percent commission issue has been a huge deal for the mobile gaming market. Epic Games have been trying to make a similar point in its lawsuit against Google and Apple over Google Play Store and App Store commission rates. In the PC gaming market, Valve takes a 30 percent cut on digital game and in-game purchases via Steam, while Epic Games Store takes 12 percent.