Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is confronting a $7.9 billion lawsuit in the United Kingdom over its PlayStation Store practices. The case, representing nearly 9 million people in the UK who purchased digital games or add-on content through Sony's platform, was initiated last year.
Consumer advocate Alex Neill is leading the lawsuit, alleging that Sony abused its dominant position by mandating the buying and selling of digital games and add-ons exclusively through the PlayStation Store. The store imposes a 30% commission on developers and publishers, leading to higher prices for consumers, according to the claim.
The lawyers for Neill estimated aggregate damages of up to $7.94 billion in court filings last month. The lawsuit contends that customers paid inflated prices due to Sony's restrictions on the digital marketplace.
Sony's legal team argued that the case was "flawed from start to finish" and advocated for its dismissal. However, the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled that Neill's case could proceed. The tribunal did exclude individuals who made PlayStation Store purchases after the case was filed in 2022 from the proposed claimant class.
In response to the ruling, Neill stated that it marked the "first step in ensuring consumers get back what they're owed." Sony has not immediately commented on the tribunal's decision.
This lawsuit is part of a broader global discussion around the practices of digital marketplaces, particularly those operated by major gaming platforms. The outcome of this case could influence future regulations and policies regarding competition and pricing in the digital gaming industry. As digital sales become increasingly prominent in the gaming ecosystem, legal actions like these highlight the need for scrutiny and accountability in the evolving landscape of digital marketplaces.