Sony Comes Under Scrutiny

Does Sony come down too hard on Japanese retailers?


A Japanese group has accused Sony of keeping its reins too tightly on retail sales. Will it affect us in the US?

On Tuesday, a Japanese antimonopoly watchdog group ordered Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. to cease price control of its retail software for the PlayStation.

Basically, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in Japan has said that Sony has violated a Japanese law by forcing retailers to sell PlayStation titles at a fixed price. Other alleged violations include Sony's restriction that forced retailers to only sell to consumers and wholesalers to only sell to retailers. If a client violated this restriction, Sony would terminate its contract or cease shipments to that client.

The FTC has given Sony until Jan. 30 to follow through with the order. No information was given as to what the FTC would do if Sony didn't comply with the order. A Sony spokesperson said, "We are confident that our business practices did not violate antimonopoly laws, and we do not plan to accept the FTC's order."

Although this doesn't appear to affect the US market, the topic of selling second-hand titles to gamers is of interest to anyone looking to get some great titles at a lower cost or looking to trade in what they don't want anymore for some extra money or another game. As this situation develops or if the situation moves in a direction that threatens gamers in the US market, we'll let you know.

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