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PlayStation Store lawsuit alleging 'unfair monopoly' dismissed, but could return

The lawsuit alleged Sony was being "anti-consumer" when they stopped third-party retailers from selling digital codes of PlayStation games.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

July 19, 2022

2 Min Read
Logo for the Sony PlayStation console.

In May 2021, PlayStation maker Sony received a lawsuit from a group of PlayStation users arguing that its PlayStation Store held an "unfair monopoly" of digital game sales. Over a year after the class-action suit was filed, it has now been dismissed. 

Originally, the group behind the lawsuit claimed that ownership of the PS Store allowed Sony to charge higher prices for digital PlayStation games compared to the games' physical counterparts. The lawsuit suggested that allowing more storefronts to sell digital games would lead to more consumer-friendly prices, and alleged that PlayStation owners were currently paying 175 percent more for digital games due to a current lack of competition.

Reported by Bloomberg on Friday, North California judge Richard Seeborg explained that the plaintiffs failed to "allege adequately anticompetitive conduct" on Sony's end. That said, Seeborg "granted leave" to amend the class-action suit, meaning the plaintiffs can file again, with the complaint being reworked.

The original complaint built on a previous decision from Sony regarding how its digital games could be sold. Sony came under fire in 2019 for blocking third-party retailers from selling digital games by no longer allowing stores like Amazon or GameStop to sell codes that could be redeemed for digital copies of PlayStation games. At the time, Sony argued that the decision was made "in order to continue to align key businesses globally." It reinforced that the shift wouldn't impact DLC, virtual currency, or season passes, and that it had plans to introduce additional denominations of purchasable PlayStation Store cards at certain retailers to balance out the shift. 

Outside of linking one's credit card or third-party service like PayPal to a PlayStation account, the only other option for adding funds to a PlayStation Store account is to buy those PlayStation Store cards at a physical retailer.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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