But what could Sony have done to attract the wrath of 9 million players?
In recent years, many aspects of the video game industry have been questioned, and one of them concerns the commission charged by video game publishers and distributors. If it was Epic Games that raised the subject in a somewhat forced way some time ago, its legal battle against Apple truly laid the foundations for a profound change… which is shaking PlayStation today.
The giant, which occupies a prominent place in the home console market but also in the software part, is the subject of a complaint that could cause Sony to lose billions of dollars. It is thanks to a group action that lawyer Alex Neill appears in court at the Competition Tribunal in the United Kingdom with a file stipulating that Sony has abused its quasi-leadership position for far too long to defraud its players.
Will PlayStation lead by example?
According to him, by taking a 30% commission on each purchase made through the PlayStation Store, it forces developers to increase the price of their products, in order to have a better profit, which affects the wallet of users. As such, the lawyer considers that 9 million people in the UK are eligible for damages, between £67 and £562 each. He declares :
“Games are now the biggest entertainment industry in the UK, ahead of TV, video and music, and many vulnerable people rely on games to build community and social connection. Sony shares are costing millions of people who can’t afford to gamble, especially in the midst of a cost of living crisis and when consumers’ wallets are squeezed like never before.”
His colleague, Natasha Pearman explains: “Sony dominates the market for digital distribution of PlayStation games and their content; it deployed an anti-competitive strategy which resulted in excessive prices for customers, disproportionate to the costs of providing its services by Sony.”
What solutions are available to Sony?
However, we must remember one essential thing. The 30% commission rate is currently a standard completely legal in the video game industry. Sony is therefore not wrong on this point, although very late since some platforms have already moved to a more respectful rate towards developers, on their own. What is called into question is the firm’s anti-competitive position on its consoles.
It is on this point that the situation could potentially be arranged, for the players and for the developers, if ever Sony could accept third-party payments, because currently, only Sony is able to cash you on its machines. More direct means of payment from developers would allow them to offer their products at a lower cost (like what Epic Games had done with Fortnite on iOS and Android) and above all to recover the only benefit.
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