Due to legal action in the UK, Sony PlayStation could be made to pay £5bn for “ripping off customers” with overpriced in-game purchases and online games.
The lawsuit is being led by Alex Neill, a consumer rights activist, and could mean that up to nine million Playstation customers get compensation over the allegations.
According to the claim, which was filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, PlayStation has broken competition laws by imposing unfair terms and conditions on game developers. This has driven up the price of games and add-ons in recent years.
It is alleged that the company has taken advantage of its dominant market position to impose these terms, which include a 30% commission on every digital game or in-game purchase made via the online PlayStation Store.
Since its launch in 1994, Sony PlayStation has become the world’s most popular gaming device with millions of units being shipped worldwide. In 2021, it had a global market share of 64.5%.
The legal case claims that the company abused its position and has “unwittingly overcharged” its customers by up to £5bn in the last six years.
It’s estimated that damages could be between £67 and £562 per customer, and may be awarded to any consumer that purchased digital games or add-on content since 2016 on their console or on the PlayStation Store.
In an interview with the BBC, Alex Neill, who is leading the lawsuit, said: “We believe we’ve got a really strong case, or else we wouldn’t be doing this. It is a big undertaking to take on a company like Sony.
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.
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.”