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Sony Faces $7.9 Billion UK Mass Lawsuit Over Dominant Position in Store Pricing

 |  November 21, 2023

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is set to confront a monumental legal battle after a London tribunal ruled on Tuesday that the company must face a mass lawsuit valued at up to $7.9 billion over allegations of abusing its dominant position, resulting in unfair pricing for customers on the PlayStation Store.

The lawsuit was filed last year by consumer advocate Alex Neill on behalf of nearly nine million individuals in the United Kingdom who had purchased digital games or add-on content through Sony’s PlayStation Store. Neill contends that Sony abused its dominant position by mandating digital games and add-ons to be exclusively bought and sold through the PlayStation Store, which imposes a hefty 30% commission on developers and publishers.

Related: Sony PlayStation Sued £5B In New UK Class Action Suit

In response to the allegations, Sony’s legal team argued that the case was “flawed from start to finish” and insisted that it should be dismissed. However, the Competition Appeal Tribunal disagreed, ruling that Neill’s case could proceed. The tribunal did, however, exclude individuals who made PlayStation Store purchases after the case was filed in 2022 from the proposed claimant class.

According to Neill, the tribunal’s decision marks “the first step in ensuring consumers get back what they’re owed.” She contends that Sony’s actions have led customers to pay inflated prices for games and add-on content. Sony has not provided an immediate response to the ruling.

The heart of the matter revolves around the exclusive distribution of digital content through the PlayStation Store, a platform where Sony holds a dominant position. The 30% commission imposed on developers and publishers is a central point of contention, with critics arguing that this practice has driven up prices for consumers.

As the legal battle unfolds, the outcome could have significant implications not only for Sony but also for the wider digital distribution landscape. Consumer advocates hope that this case will set a precedent in addressing concerns related to dominant market positions and their impact on pricing within the digital marketplace.

The lawsuit will now move forward, potentially shaping the future landscape of digital distribution practices and highlighting the growing scrutiny over tech companies and their market dominance. Sony’s response to the tribunal’s decision and the subsequent legal proceedings will be closely watched by industry insiders, consumers, and regulatory bodies alike.

Source: Reuters