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Sony facing lawsuit over PlayStation Store exclusivity

Oct 26, 2018
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Platform holder stopped allowing third party stores to sell digital downloads in 2019​

Danielle Partis
News Editor
Thursday 6th May 2021

Sony Interactive Entertainment is up against a class-action lawsuit by consumers regarding exclusivity on its digital storefront.

That's according to a report from Bloomberg, which claims that Sony is accused of operating a monopoly by only allowing digital games to be bought through its online store.

Sony's PlayStation store has become the only place that players can purchase digital games, after Sony stopped allowing third-party retailers to sell download codes two years ago.

The suit states that consumers may spend up to 175% more to download a game on the PlayStation store than they would on purchasing a physical copy.

"Sony's monopoly allows it to charge supracompetitive prices for digital PlayStation games, which are significantly higher than their physical counterparts sold in a competitive retail market, and significantly higher than they would be in a competitive retail market for digital games," consumers said in the filing.

The decision was made in order to "align key businesses globally", a spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz at the time.

"To support full games and premium editions, SIE will introduce increased denominations at select retailers. DLC, add-ons, virtual currency, and season passes will still be available."
 

ethomaz

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Sony changed to pre-paid cards only.

You can't buy codes for digital games on PS? That's wack
You can add money to your account via pre-paid cards (it is the best seller item in Amazon) and then buy the games you want.
So there is no limitation that blocks the consumer to buy content via 3rd-party retails.

Seems like more a lawsuit that got the spotlight in Bloomberg due the Apple vs Epic case.
 
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THEAP99

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That's good news. It was so easy to buy digital codes years ago and gift them. But now it's impossible
 
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DeepEnigma

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Sony's PlayStation store has become the only place that players can purchase digital games, after Sony stopped allowing third-party retailers to sell download codes two years ago.

The suit states that consumers may spend up to 175% more to download a game on the PlayStation store than they would on purchasing a physical copy.
chloe grace moretz wtf GIF
 

ManaByte

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So there is no limitation that blocks the consumer to buy content via 3rd-party retails.

There absolutely is. You can buy download codes (and cards) for GAMES on other platforms through places like Amazon or Walmart. They USED to offer this with the PS4. And you could often get the codes cheaper than on the PS Store. Sony stopped allowing the cards/codes to be sold by third party retailers in 2019. That's what this lawsuit is over.
 

ethomaz

is mad because DF didn't do a video on a video of a video of a video on PS5
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There absolutely is. You can buy download codes (and cards) for GAMES on other platforms through places like Amazon or Walmart. They USED to offer this with the PS4. And you could often get the codes cheaper than on the PS Store. Sony stopped allowing the cards/codes to be sold by third party retailers in 2019. That's what this lawsuit is over.
Yes and like I said there is no limitation with PC cards... you end buying the same games.
There is no block and that is why I believe the lawsuit won't go ahead.

If Sony had removed the game codes and the pre-paid cards then it was an easy and fast lawsuit.
 
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Bojanglez

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That's good news. It was so easy to buy digital codes years ago and gift them. But now it's impossible
It is nice sometimes to buy a code for a specific game, but in reality the same result can be achieved by buying credit and then using the credit to get the game.
 
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THEAP99

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It is nice sometimes to buy a code for a specific game, but in reality the same result can be achieved by buying credit and then using the credit to get the game.
Well yeah but it's not as convenient and as part of what this lawsuit says, they have a monopoly over digital sales cus of this. No more digital codes for games are sold at retailers which did indeed bring the price down for some games at times :(
I hope they bring it back
 
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reinking

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I am all for consumer access. Sick 'em.




Unfortunately we know how these class-action lawsuits usually work. Thanks for my $2.49 PS store credit rich attorneys.
 
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Three

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You can't buy codes for digital games on PS? That's wack
You can but they don't distribute to retailers officially. They can pack them in with bundles though. Come to think of it do any retailers officially sell digital codes for games for any console? I've only seen bundle codes being resold unofficially.
 
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SCB3

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They also need to add in Nintendo that also stopped this as well
 

TGO

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I'm confused, so they're saying you can't buy these
Or have I misread it
 
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Tripolygon

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Hope they win so i can get that sweet class action settlement money. Still salty I missed out on the otheros one. Lol
 
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Skifi28

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This is great, but I can't see it achieving anything other than a few headlines.
 

Crimson_Fate

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Come to think of it do any retailers officially sell digital codes for games for any console? I've only seen bundle codes being resold unofficially.

You used to be able to buy PS4 digital codes through Amazon until Sony forced all digital traffic through their store.

I am glad someone is challenging them on this . The retailers are selling the digital consoles for Sony but they can't actually sell them any games for it.

This did force me to physical discs at the end of the PS4 ERA. I even went Used on many titles. I am doing the same with the PS5. All Physical this gen ( aside from the PS+ giveaways)

I prefer digital but always feel like I'm getting ripped off when the Physical discs are cheaper at retailers.
 

DeepEnigma

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You can buy PSN cards, so why should you buy codes? You can buy those cards mostly cheaper then the game cost in the store.
Bought 3 $100 cards with an Amazon deal that came out to $70 each. So I paid $210 for $300 worth of PSN codes.

Could have kept buying more too since the only limit was the week the deal was run.
 
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Cert.in.Death

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Similar to the Steam lawsuit revealed earlier this week, albeit there is no mention of an antitrust claim (or much else other than here’s a lawsuit that got filed). Unfortunately nobody covering the story has a PACER account to download or hyperlink the complaint, so we’re in the dark about the specific causes of action.

TBH, it sounds like it might get the ole 12(b)(6). Bloomberg’s “story” does a poor job at explaining the alleged unlawfulness of the action and settles for citing the alleged damages, which misses the point. My guess is the argument centers not around antitrust but some administrative regulation promulgated by the FTC, otherwise I don’t see how Sony has violated US law.
 

Aenima

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I dont think it makes much sense to be printing and shipping individual codes for individual games, when they can do what they doing by just letting ppl purchase PSN codes from retailers. If they stop allowing ppl to purchase the PSN cards from retailers is when its real bad for consumers.
 
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Oct 26, 2018
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A reason pulling games is better for corporate coffers is because someone buying a game code for $70 pays just that. $70 + tax.

Gamers required to buy PSN dollar cards will have to top up and probably round up to $100, buy the game online + tax, and have $20 left which forces the gamer to get something else or just leave it their forever unused (like a gift card), which is profit right to the bottom line.

Also, a store selling a game card gets normal profit margins. A store selling straight up dollar value cards only gets 5% or less profit.

Thats how that giant rack of gift cards work at stores. The store doesn't make 25% cut selling you a $50 Starbucks card. They make around 4-5%.
 
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Zeroing

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I assume that since that Apple vs Epic circus… everyone will get a lawsuit now… maybe not Nintendo, everyone forgets Nintendo exists…
 

jshackles

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Are there any major platform holders that aren't being sued for this, or something similar, right now?

Gonna be some interesting court rulings inbound.
 

hlm666

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I'm confused, so they're saying you can't buy these
Or have I misread it
The only thing valid for my region on that link is fortnite vbucks.

Something else to to think about for people saying you can buy cards for digital credit. This lawsuit is about the fact that with the game codes removed from sale (in some regions?) it's more expensive than it used to be because the gamecode cards were normally priced around the physical copy price and the psn store price is normally 20 bucks more than retail here. Judging by the 175% more mentioned in that article some places really bent over a barrel.
 

Kdad

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If you want the option to not be locked into Playstation Store, they offer consoles that play discs...go buy your discs wherever you want. If the game you want isn't available on disc that's on the publisher not SONY.
 

sainraja

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Yes and like I said there is no limitation with PC cards... you end buying the same games.
There is no block and that is why I believe the lawsuit won't go ahead.

If Sony had removed the game codes and the pre-paid cards then it was an easy and fast lawsuit.
I think the issue is more of a game code that you could get at a discounted price vs adding funds to your wallet. I didn't know Sony did individual game codes (only PSN wallet cards - the reason I think you are getting confused.)
 
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ethomaz

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I think the issue more of a game code that you could get at a discounted price vs adding funds to your wallet. I didn't know Sony did individual game codes (only PSN wallet cards - the reason I think you are getting confused.)
They did in the past.

For example GoW 3 was sold digitally in two forms: digital redeem code or direct from PS Store (you could use credit card or redeem PS cards to add fund).

They removed the direct redeem code but you can still buy the game digitally... that is what I’m talking about.