Sony PlayStation is being sued for 5 billion pounds in the UK over allegations it
“ripped off its customers” with overpriced games and in-game purchases.
The group legal action, led by consumer rights champion Alex Neill, could see almost
nine million gamers compensated.
It claims Sony
conditions on games’ developers and publishers, and driving up prices.
“The game is up,” said Ms Neill. Sony PlayStation has yet to comment.
The claim, filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, alleges the gaming company
abused its position as the market leader to impose terms and conditions on games’
developers and publishers, including a 30% commission on every digital game or in-
game purchase made through the online PlayStation Store.
The legal case claims Sony PlayStation’s actions have driven up prices for consumers,
resulting in customers being “unwittingly overcharged” for digital gaming purchases
by up to a total of £5bn over the past six years.
The estimated damages per individual in the claim is said to be between £67 and
It applies to any customer who has purchased digital games or add-on content on
their console or through the PlayStation Store since August 2016.
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“We believe we’ve got a really strong case, or else we wouldn’t be doing this,” Ms Neill
told BBC News. “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,” she said.
“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.”
It is not the first time that concerns have been raised over commission on digital
platforms and accessing content. Similar actions have been brought in other
countries against Apple and Google.
“Once you are in those Apple or Android operating systems, you’re left with no choice
but to pay the high costs for content because there is no alternative. We say it’s pretty
much the same for Sony PlayStation customers,” Ms Neill told BBC News.
PlayStation users will automatically have a claim if they:
- Owned a console since 19 August 2016
- Live in the UK
- Purchased digital PlayStation games
- Made in-game purchases via the PlayStation Store
But Ms Neill warned that cases of this nature can take several years to resolve and
that people who might be eligible for compensation could be left waiting if Sony
PlayStation refuses to settle the claim.
“We would expect, given the number of consumers affected and the amount we
believe they have overcharged by, that Sony would want to bring this forward and
“But we have no idea what they are planning to do,” she told the BBC.