Sony is set to face a £5bn class-action lawsuit, brought forward on behalf of 8.9m people, over claims it breached competition law by overcharging for digital PlayStation games and in-game purchases.
The Japanese video game console maker is being sued by consumer rights campaigner Alex Neill, on behalf of millions of gamers, over its practice of charging a 30 per cent commission on purchases made through the PlayStation store.
The lawsuit, filed to Competition Appeal Tribunal, says Sony abused its dominant market position to generate as much as £5bn in revenues over the past six years.
If successful, the claim could see millions of PlayStation customers entitled to compensation amounting to estimated sum of between £67 to £562, plus interest.
The damages will be paid out to anyone in the UK who has purchased digital games or in-game content through the PlayStation store since August 2016.
Natasha Pearman, a partner at the law firm acting on behalf of Alex Neill, Milberg London LLP, said the claim is “only possible because of the opt-out collective action regime,” which allows single claimants to bring forward lawsuits on behalf of millions of individuals.
The lawsuit is being funded by litigation funder Woodford, which is set to finance the case on a no win, no fee basis.
Consumer rights campaigner Alex Neill said: “We believe Sony has abused its position and ripped off its customers. This case goes right to the heart of Sony’s business model.”
“The drive towards in-game purchases allows companies like Sony to profiteer and abuse their power because they have a captive audience.”
“Sony knows its customers are hooked once they are part of the PlayStation world and it exploits them with exorbitant charges on every digital purchase.”
Sony has been approached for comment.