Sony PlayStation is being sued in the United Kingdom for £5 billion over allegations that it “ripped off its customers” with overpriced games and in-game purchases.
The group legal action, led by consumer rights advocate Alex Neill, has the potential to compensate nearly nine million gamers.
It claims Sony PlayStation violated competition law by imposing unfair terms and conditions on game developers and publishers and raising prices.
“The game has begun,” Ms Neill declared. Sony PlayStation has not yet responded.
The claim, filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, claims that the gaming company used its market dominance to impose terms and conditions on game developers and publishers, including a 30% commission on every digital game or in-game purchase made through the online PlayStation Store.
According to the legal case, Sony PlayStation’s actions have raised consumer prices, resulting in customers being “unwittingly overcharged” for digital gaming purchases by up to £5 billion over the last six years.
The estimated damages per person in the claim are between £67 and £562.
It is applicable to any customer who has purchased digital games or add-on content on their console or via the PlayStation Store since August 2016.
‘Very strong case,’
“We believe we have a very strong case, or we wouldn’t be doing this,” Ms Neill told News Channels. “Taking on a company like Sony is a huge undertaking.”
“Through this legal action, I am standing up for the millions of UK citizens who have been unknowingly overcharged,” she said.
“We believe Sony abused its position and defrauded its customers.”
“Sony’s actions are costing millions of people who can’t afford it, especially at a time when we’re in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and the consumer purse is being squeezed like never before.”
Concerns about commission on digital platforms and access to content have been raised previously. Similar actions have been brought against Apple and Google in other countries.
“Once you’re in those Apple or Android operating systems, you have no choice but to pay the high content costs because there is no other option.” “We say the same thing for Sony PlayStation customers,” Ms Neill told Media.
PlayStation users will have an automatic claim if they:
- They had a console since August 19, 2016.
- Living in the United Kingdom
- They bought digital PlayStation games.
- Purchased in-game items from the PlayStation Store
However, Ms Neill cautioned that cases of this nature can take years to resolve, and that people who may be eligible for compensation may be left waiting if Sony PlayStation refuses to settle the claim.
“We would expect Sony to bring this forward and settle given the number of consumers affected and the amount we believe they overcharged by.”
“However, we have no idea what they intend to do,” she told the Media.
Sony PlayStation did not respond immediately to the Media’s request for comment.