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French Antitrust Regulator Slaps Sony with €13.5 Million Fine for Market Dominance Abuse

 |  January 2, 2024

Sony, the multinational technology giant, is facing a hefty €13.5 million fine imposed by the French antitrust regulator, Autorité de la Concurrence. The regulator has accused Sony of abusing its dominant position in the market, specifically concerning restrictions imposed on third-party PlayStation 4 controllers.

The investigation into Sony’s practices was initiated last month, following a referral from French controller manufacturer Subsonic. The inquiry revealed that Sony implemented counterfeiting measures in November 2015, resulting in frequent disconnections of third-party controllers during system updates.

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According to the antitrust regulator, these measures significantly harmed the brand image of third-party manufacturers affected, impeding their growth in the market. The regulator argues that such actions by Sony have the potential to lead to the foreclosure of these manufacturers.

The Autorité de la Concurrence also found that third-party manufacturers faced obstacles in joining Sony’s licensing program. Allegedly, the technology giant “refused to communicate” terms and criteria to manufacturers who sought participation in the program. This lack of transparency created difficulties for third-party manufacturers, slowing down their expansion in the market.

In a statement, the trade body emphasized, “The combination of these two practices significantly damaged the brand image of the third-party manufacturers affected, with regard to both players and distributors, slowing down their expansion in the market and leading to their possible foreclosure.”

Source: Games Industry