A class action lawsuit accusing Sony of overcharging PlayStation Store customers by up to £5 billion ($6.27 billion) can proceed to trial, the UK’s specialist competition court has ruled.
The lawsuit was filed in August 2022 by consumer rights campaigner Alex Neill on behalf of 8.9 million PlayStation customers.
It alleges that Sony abuses its dominant position in the market by charging excessive PlayStation Store prices.
The Japanese company uses its near monopoly on the sale of digital games and add-on content for PlayStation consoles to enforce strict terms and conditions on game developers and publishers, it argues.
According to the suit, these terms enable the company to dictate the price of digital content and charge a 30% commission on every purchase, which “results in excessive and unfair prices to consumers” that are “out of all proportion to the costs of Sony providing these services to its customers”.
Sony had sought to quash the suit, arguing that the case was “flawed from start to finish”, but on Tuesday the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal granted class representative Neill approval to go to trial with the claim against the Japanese company.
“This is the first step in ensuring consumers get back what they’re owed as a result of Sony breaking the law,” said Neill. “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 class includes anyone who lived in the UK and bought games or DLC though the PlayStation Store between August 19, 2016, and August 19, 2022, unless they choose to opt out.
If the action is successful, it’s estimated that each class member would be entitled to anywhere between £67 and £562 in damages, plus interest.
The case, which may take several years to reach a conclusion, is being paid for by a third-party litigation funder and through conditional fee agreements with legal advisors.
Laura Adams is a tech enthusiast residing in the UK. Her articles cover the latest technological innovations, from AI to consumer gadgets, providing readers with a glimpse into the future of technology.