PlayStation faces legal action in UK over ‘rip-off’ pricing for games


Led by consumer rights champion Alex Neill, the claim accuses Sony of abusing its market-dominant position to impose unfair terms and conditions on game developers and publishers. — AFP

LONDON: Millions of Sony PlayStation customers in the UK could claim a share of up to £5bil (RM26.39bil) in damages if a new legal claim filed against the gaming giant is successful.

A collective action brought against the company at the Competition Appeal Tribunal accuses it of “ripping off” customers with overpriced digital games and in-game purchases.

Led by consumer rights champion Alex Neill, the claim accuses Sony of abusing its market-dominant position to impose unfair terms and conditions on game developers and publishers – including charging a 30% commission on every digital game or in-game purchase made through the online PlayStation Store – which the claim says has driven up prices for consumers.

This has resulted in customers being overcharged for digital gaming purchases by up to £5 billion over the last six years, the legal claim alleges.

Nearly nine million UK customers could be eligible for damages, it says, applying to anyone who has purchased digital games or add-on content on their console or through the PlayStation Store since Aug 19, 2016.

The estimated damages per individual in the claim is said to be between £67 (RM353) and £562 (RM2,966).

“The game is up for Sony PlayStation,” Neill said.

“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.

“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 are 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.”

Sony PlayStation has been contacted for comment. – dpa

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