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Lawsuits & Litigation

Lawsuit: PlayStation Has a Monopoly on Digital Game Sales

— May 17, 2021

PlayStation is in the middle of two class-action lawsuits alleging monopolistic pricing.

PlayStation was hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging monopolistic pricing on the PlayStation Store earlier this month, and recently a second lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The most recent suit is an antitrust class action suit, Caccuri v. Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, and was filed by the Joseph Saveri Law Firm.

image of a legal gavel and books
Legal gavel and books; image courtesy of
succo via Pixabay,

According to the suit, “PlayStation stopped selling digital game codes through outside retailers two years ago.” Because of that, whenever a PlayStation owner “wants to purchase a digital game, they must buy one through its storefront, thus creating its own monopoly on digital PlayStation content and thereby allowing Sony to charge inflated prices for these games.

It’s not just owners that are frustrated with the alleged monopoly. In fact, anyone who purchased a PlayStation 5 Digital Edition “have no other alternative to purchase games.” The suit notes that, when “retailers like Best Buy or Target offer sales on Switch or Xbox video games, the digital versions are frequently offered at the same price point…The PlayStation Store does offer frequent sales, but the prices are often less competitive than those from other retailers.”

The suit further alleges that consumers are often forced to pay higher prices for digital PlayStation games “than they would in a free and unrestrained competitive retail market.” Additionally, the class-action suit argues that PlayStation store consumers often pay up to “175% more for the same games on the PlayStation Store than they would for physical releases.

Unfortunately, these two lawsuits are likely to be joined by more, according to attorney Richard Hoeg. When commenting on the matter, he said, “we’ll likely see similar cases like this lumped into one to be heard by a court. There probably won’t be a whole bunch of different lawsuits arguing the same case against Sony, especially since there doesn’t appear to be much difference between them.” He added:

“You’ll only get multiple lawsuits if there is some element of a complaint/proposed class that is materially different from other claims…In general, though, you’ll just be looking at one case.”

Hoeg added that “attorneys make money when they’re chosen to be the counsel for a class in a class-action lawsuit…Because of that, there is often a ‘race to the courthouse’ of overlapping proposed lead plaintiffs, in an effort for a plaintiff’s class-action firm to get that position.”

The gaming world it huge, so it will be interesting to see how these suits play out.


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