The proposed class-action suit claims the platform holder is running an unlawful monopoly that allows it to charge exorbitant prices for software.
The suit (via Bloomberg) claims digital games available through the PlayStation Store are priced up to 175% higher than their disc-based counterparts sold at traditional brick and mortar retailers.
“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,” the lawsuit reads.
Digital PlayStation games have been restricted to the PlayStation Store since April 1, 2019, although retailers can still sell cards for DLC and virtual currency.
Explaining the move to restrict digital game sales to the PlayStation Store, a Sony spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz in 2019: “The decision was made in order to align key businesses globally.
“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.”
Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against the iPhone maker began in August 2020 after the Fortnite firm moved to circumvent Apple’s platform fees with a new direct payment option, leading to the game’s removal from the App Store.
Epic has called the 30 percent payment fees charged by Apple exorbitant and excessive compared to its operating costs. Because the iPhone firm does not allow any competing stores on its iOS platform and thus controls the release of apps on its devices, Epic alleges it’s running a “tech monopoly”.
A key difference between the two cases is that Apple’s devices only support digital software, whereas consumers can choose to purchase physical software for PlayStation platforms from a variety of vendors.