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Sony sued for $7.9 billion over UK PlayStation Store pricing

Players in the UK claim Sony has unfairly jacked up PlayStation Store prices and created a monopoly after preventing third-party retailers from selling digital games.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

November 21, 2023

2 Min Read
Logo for Sony's PlayStation console.
Image via Sony.

Sony will be going to UK court over allegations of ripping off consumers with its PlayStation Store. 

Per Reuters, the PlayStation maker is being sued for 6.3 billion pounds (or $7.9 billion) following claims from 2022 that it intentionally inflated digital game and content prices on its titular storefront. Consumer rights advocate Alex Neill is heading up the legal effort, having previously suggested Sony abused its position as a market leader.

Neill claims Sony's requirement that games and DLC be exclusive to the PlayStation Store has allowed it to charge a 30 percent commission to developers and publishers. As a result, customers have unknowingly paid higher prices than intended. 

Second suit, same as the first

This isn't the first time Sony has been sued for this behavior. Gamers filed a similar suit in 2021, two years after Sony made it so that third-party retailers like GameStop and Best Buy could stop selling digital games directly; retailers can now only sell PlayStation Store cards that players can then use to buy digital games. 

Ironically, that suit was dismissed in North California in July 2022, almost a full month before UK players opted to sue Sony.

Talks of digital store revenue and Sony have come up before. This past summer, it was revealed that Sony receives $1 billion annually from the Call of Duty series, one of its largest third-party revenue sources. Given the franchise's global popularity and how much players spend on it, it's easy to see why Sony fought so hard for it.

Dying Light developer Techland recently implied that, in switching to premium currency for Dying Light 2, it was able to get around whatever cut Sony stood to get from PlayStation Store bundles.

Like with the US suit, Sony attempted to have this suit thrown out, and called it "flawed from start to finish," but the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled in Neill's favor. However, it suggested that those who made purchases in 2022 after the case was filed should be removed from the claimant class.

Talking to Reuters, Neill called this ruling "the first step in ensuring consumers get back what they're owed." 

Neill's five-step argument on PlayStation's alleged storefront practices can be read at the PlayStation You Owe Us website.

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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