Sony could face £5bn in legal claims over PlayStation game fees | sony

Sony has been overcharging PlayStation gamers for six years, according to a new lawsuit, and could be forced to pay nearly £5billion in damages if the action is successful.

According to Alex Neill, the consumer champion who brought the case to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, Sony abused its dominant position in the UK market to impose unfair terms on the PlayStation Store, where it sells digital games, downloadable content and subscriptions.

The company charges a flat 30% fee to developers who want to sell games on the store, which often results in digital content being priced higher than a physical copy of the same title – despite the associated manufacturing and shipping costs. equipment.

Neill filed the complaint, which uses a UK right to class action for consumer harm, on behalf of anyone in the UK who has purchased digital games or add-on content from the store since August 19, 2016. It seeks damages of between £67 and £562 per individual member, which could bring the total sum paid to £5 billion if successful.

“The game is ready for Sony PlayStation,” Neill said. “With this legal action, I stand up for the millions of British people who have been unwittingly overcharged. We believe that Sony abused its position and ripped off its customers.

“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. Sony’s stock is costing millions who can’t afford it, especially when we’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis and consumers’ wallets are stretched like never before.

Natasha Pearman, who leads the Milberg London solicitors’ case, said: “Sony dominates the digital distribution of PlayStation games and gaming content. It deployed an anti-competitive strategy that resulted in excessive prices for customers, disproportionate to the costs of Sony providing its services.

“This claim is only possible because of the opt-out class action scheme which was introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015; a diet that Alex fought to introduce. We look forward to working with Alex and ensuring that the scheme achieves its goals of protecting and compensating consumers. »

The case is backed by Woodsford, an investment firm that is funding court cases in exchange for a cut in proceeds. Steven Friel, the company’s chief executive, said it is “committed to holding big business to account when corporate wrongdoing results in losses to consumers and other stakeholders.”

Woodsford also backed the UK class action lawsuit against rail companies accused of overcharging and shipping agencies accused of inflating the cost of importing cars, Friel added.

Sony did not respond to requests for comment.

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