• A lawsuit claims Sony is overcharging on digital content in the UK, and seeks between £0.6 billion to £5 billion in compensation.
  • The claim alleges Sony’s control of the PlayStation ecosystem leads to unfair prices for games and add-ons.
  • If successful, gamers could receive up to £562 depending on how much digital content they’ve purchased from the PlayStation store.



A new lawsuit sees many PlayStation players demanding cash payouts from Sony, and the company will now need to defend itself in court after the case was accepted. If the lawsuit is successful, these players could be owed up to £562 (approximately $711) depending on how much PlayStation content they’ve purchased since August 2016. A main reason for this is the pricing of modern gaming. In recent years, the price of games has increased significantly, with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X generation seeing the standard edition of AAA titles releasing at approximately $70, with companies citing far greater development budgets as the main reason.

Deluxe editions that predominantly contain digital content such as skins or in-game items often cost a further $20-30. Recent Collector’s Editions have nearly doubled in price too, with the PlayStation exclusive Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – which had the main selling point of a 19-inch statue and the Digital Deluxe suit contents – costing $229.00 at launch. This is $80 more than the first Marvel’s Spider-Man‘s Collector’s Edition on the PS4, which retailed at $149.99 and arguably contained more content, featuring a similar statue, an art book, and the full The City That Never Sleeps story DLC, alongside a physical copy of the game – something most modern PlayStation Collectors Editions have replaced with digital copies.


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PlayStation You Owe Us Claims Sony Is Exploiting Its Customers

The Claim Cites A Breach Of Competition Law

The claim against Sony comes from Alex Neill, a consumer champion with nearly 20 years’ worth of experience leading consumer campaigns and achieving change for UK consumers. Neill states the reasoning for this claim on the PlayStation You Owe Us, believing that Sony has been exploiting its UK customers since “at least 19 August 2016“, as the business model of gaming changed to favor digital media over physical, reducing the number of places players could purchase some titles for the platform.

UK seems to be getting charged more than the USA
, with standard editions of PS5 titles costing £69.99 on average, which is approximately $91. This means US players are being charged over $20 more for the same titles on the US PlayStation store.

The claim also addresses live service titles – albeit none by name – saying that they’re designed to incentivize players – including children – to spend as much money as possible to progress, unlock more features, or customize their experience with new characters or weapons.

The claim cites a breach of the UK and European Union’s competition law, alleging that Sony has been using its control over the entire PlayStation ecosystem to overcharge players for digital games and in-game content, rather than simply making a profit. The claim lists the following as its main reasons for this belief:

  • Sony has a near monopoly on the sale of digital games and add-on content through its control of the PlayStation Store.
  • Sony uses this dominance to enforce strict terms and conditions on game developers and publishers.
  • These terms allow Sony to set the price of digital games and in-game content and charge a 30% commission on every purchase of digital games and in-game content from the PlayStation Store.
  • This results in excessive and unfair prices to consumers for their digital games and in-game content.
  • These prices are out of all proportion to the costs of Sony providing these services to its customers.


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How Can Players Receive Their Payout If Sony Loses?

And Who Would Be Eligible For This Compensation?

PS4 and PS5 consoles with Great British Pound notes behind them
Custom Image by Glenn Bunn

As the PlayStation You Owe Us site points out, gaming is now the biggest entertainment industry in the UK, ahead of TV, video, and music, with millions of people across different age ranges being impacted. If successful, all UK-based PlayStation console users who purchased digital games or add-on content from the PlayStation Store between 19 August 2016 and 19 August 2022 would be eligible for compensation, with the payout being larger for those who purchased more content this way.

If the lawsuit is successful, the damages in this claim fall within a range between £0.6 billion to £5 billion, before interest, and each individual customer could receive between £67 and £562.

Those who fall under this category do not need to opt in to receive payment, although there is an option to opt-out via an online form on the PlayStation You Owe Us site, and customers will not need to pay anything if the lawsuit is unsuccessful. The following are also eligible as part of the claim:

  • Any business that has paid for PlayStation digital games and in-game content.
  • Personal representatives/administrators of the estates of deceased PlayStation owners who purchased digital content between 19 August 2016 and 19 August 2022.
  • Those who are no longer a PlayStation customer but purchased content from the PlayStation Store between 19 August 2016 and 19 August 2022.
  • Parents or legal guardians of PlayStation customers aged 7 to 17 (Sony’s Terms & Conditions state that individuals aged 7 years old and above are allowed to sign up for a PlayStation account) whose credit/debit card details have been used for purchases.
  • Children and young adults between 11 and 17 years who have made purchases with their own credit/debit card (although they can be represented by their parent or guardian)

The following are not eligible for the claim:

  • An officer, director or employee of Sony PlayStation, their subsidiaries, and any entity in which they have a controlling interest.
  • A member of Alex Neill’s or Sony PlayStation’s respective legal teams and all experts and professional advisors instructed and retained by them, and all funders or insurers involved, in connection with the collective claim.
  • All employees/directors of the Class Representative’s litigation funder.
  • A member and/or staff of the Competition Appeal Tribunal assigned at any point to the collective claim, their parents, their spouses or civil partners, or any persons with whom they cohabit, and their children.
  • A judge involved in any appeal in the collective claim and their parents, their spouses or civil partners or any persons with whom they cohabit, and their children.

It’s worth noting that while Neill “will be encouraging Sony to settle the claim as soon as possible so that consumers get their money back in a timely manner“, if Sony refuses, it could take several years for PlayStation customers to receive their compensation. As Sony previously tried to brush the legal action off and called the case “flawed from start to finish” it’s likely to be the latter.


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What Does This Mean For Other Digital Console Storefronts?

Gaming Has Become More Expensive In General

Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox logos

It’s worth noting that gaming has become more expensive in general over the years, not just on PlayStation consoles. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan – who will be retiring from the position in March 2024 – previously defended the price increase for games on PS5, arguing that video games offer many more hours of entertainment than other media.

It’s yet to be seen how the outcome of the claim against Sony will impact the likes of Xbox or Nintendo, as each has its own digital storefront for games and add-on content. ​The pricing for

many multiplatform titles seem to be the same across all three consoles, and much like on PlayStation, the UK seems to be getting charged more than the USA in some cases due to not fully using conversion rates when pricing the games. If the case against Sony is successful, it could at least begin to open the conversation surrounding these other platforms, and potentially see further payouts or a change surrounding digital pricing for worldwide releases.

Source: PlayStation You Owe Us (1, 2)

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