Sony Could Face Class-Action Lawsuit Over PlayStation Game Exclusivity

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A proposed class-action lawsuit brought by gamers alleges that Sony behaved in an anti-competitive manner by denying digital download codes of PlayStation games by third-party vendors like Amazon and Walmart, Bloomberg reported on Thursday (May 6).

The lawsuit accuses PlayStation of limiting game downloads exclusively to its in-house store in 2019. As a result, Sony’s PlayStation Store was the only place to obtain digital PlayStation games, and users paid some 175 percent more for downloadable games than the disk equivalent, per Bloomberg. 

“Sony’s monopoly allows it to charge supracompetitive prices for digital PlayStation games, which are significantly higher than their physical counterparts sold in a competitive retail market, and significantly higher than they would be in a competitive retail market for digital games,” according to consumers in the proposed lawsuit.

A Sony spokesperson told GameRiv that the move to sidestep third-party vendors was intended to “align key businesses globally.”

“To support full games and premium editions, SIE will introduce increased denominations at select retailers. DLC, add-ons, virtual currency and season passes will still be available,” the spokesperson said, per GameRiv.

The class-action suit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco), Caccuri v. Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, 3:21-cv-03361. 

Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation have dominated gaming consoles, with competition heating up around the holiday season every few years. Gaming market researcher Newzoo estimated last year that 2.7 billion people were expected to play a video game at some point during the year. Gamers around the globe were forecasted to spend about $160 billion in 2020.

Last month, Microsoft launched its cloud gaming service on iPhones, iPads and personal computers. The service, which gives users the ability to stream games without downloading them, will continue to roll out to 22 countries.