UK court: PS2 is no computer

British tax court rules that Sony's current-gen console is a games device, not an 'automatic data processing machine'; multimillion euro rebate quashed as a result.

It's official: The PlayStation 2 is not a computer--in the UK, anyway.

A legal argument involving duty paid by Sony on PlayStation 2 imports into Europe has finally been resolved by a UK Court of Appeal, although it's not good news for the console giant. Sony had hoped to claim up to 50 million euros in a form of rebate based on its description of the console's functionality, but the latest appeal has been overturned.

The row came about in 2001 and centres on European legislation that deals with taxes levied on goods imported into the European Community. Each type of product that lands in Europe must be classified under a specific code, and that code defines the amount of duty to be paid.

When the PlayStation 2 started shipping in 2000 it was classified by customs authorities under subheading 9504 10 00 as 'video games of a kind used with a television receiver'. This meant that Sony was required to pay a 1.7 percent duty in 2001, 1.1 percent in 2002, and 0.6 percent in 2003, adding up to a total of around 50 million euros.

Since January 2004, the level has been set at zero, but Sony contested the decision to classify the PlayStation 2 under that particular subheading, maintaining instead that it should have been imported under 8471 10 00 and classified as an 'automatic data processing machine', a code that would have levied no duty at all. The view generally held on the matter is that the difference between the two codes roughly defines the difference between consoles and computers--given that the PlayStation 2 is 'not freely programmable' it is not classed as a computer and therefore falls under the 9504 code. After an initial ruling against Sony's claim by the VAT and Duties Tribunal in October 2004, the company appealed, and now that appeal has also been dismissed.

Lord Justice Chadwick, presiding over the case, had some harsh words for the appellant, stating that the case filed went 'beyond what can be regarded as acceptable written advocacy: it exceeds the bounds of propriety'. He was referring to 'repeated aspersions that are cast in that document on the intellectual honesty of the High Court Judge from whose decision this appeal is brought'. Sony's appeal text had stated that the judge 'often completely misrepresented the text of documents', 'deliberately misinterprets part of the review decision', and accused him of 'trampling over the evidence in which the High Court has allowed itself to indulge'. However, the Lord Justice's comments were effectively a rap on the knuckles for Sony's counsel in the case and have no bearing on the ruling itself, nor do they reflect on Sony as a company.

According to Struan Robertson, technology lawyer with Pinsent Masons, the ruling shouldn't have any effect on the imports of future consoles because the levy on both codes now stands at zero. It's an important point given the forthcoming launch of the PlayStation 3, which Sony executives have repeatedly referred to as a full-fledged computer.

An official statement from Sony said, 'At present, SCEE [Sony Computer Entertainment Europe] is considering the implications of the judgment in detail and will decide what further action to take in due course'.

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148 comments
coltACP
coltACP

A computer is for computing things that YOU input into the thing, storing the data and being able to manipulate that data. You cannot do that on a PS2 without a computer hooked up to it-LOL. Yeah PS2 processes Game data, but YOU don't have anything to do with that. If every person could bring up a spread sheet or document on the PS2 and manipulate it freely they would have won, it doesn't do it so it is not a computer in it's traditional sense. simple.

kx6593
kx6593

The PS2 is a console, not a computer. The end. The PS3 maybe a different story but that doesnt change what the PS2 is.

jsambeckwith
jsambeckwith

The Playstation 2 is not a computer in this sense of the word, as in freely programmable, and able to have programs installed on it, and run all variety of programs. The PS2 can run some programs, but not of all varieties.

Davidhalo18
Davidhalo18

Sony Vaio = Personal Compupter Sony Playstation = Gaming Console I think determining the fact of what a computer is essentially for ( creative tools, internet, communications, porn and more porn ) sony couldnt get away with it until the PS3 comes out.

Equilibrium_340
Equilibrium_340

Whaddya know, Sony was saying that the PS3 is a computer. Just goes to show you that they see gamers as mindless zombies that'll buy any console sporting the Playstation logo.

Dark_Link87
Dark_Link87

i herby declair the ps2 just a dvd player *BANGS GABBLE*

shazaila
shazaila

Quite frankly, i couldn't careless.

Lukanot
Lukanot

its true. A ps2 is a games console not a computer

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

Once again this is a prime example of a major organisation believing that its stature will provide a licence to win. Sony really are incredibly arrogant ! To try and persuade a UK court of Law that a games machine should actually be classed as computer is ludicrous. If the tax issue was in reverse then Sony would be screaming the emphasis of games , not computing. This is England , you can't pull the wool over the judges eyes and expect them to take the provided information as accurate just because you are a multinational electronics empire. Shame on you Sony, pay taxes like everybody else. Greedy corporate swines !

Dantes_Monkey
Dantes_Monkey

lol, good old sony, they have been fleased of quite a bit of $

kainenable
kainenable

The ps2 is as much a computer as it is a bannana sundae. C'mon sony, your loosing cred. Are you going to re-label the PS1 as a soft drink dispenser now just to get a little bit of money back? This is smelling a bit desperate.

millrboyz
millrboyz

i dont care what anybody tells me its a video game console FIRST! thats it end of story. ok ok i see their game. how about this, if they dont , make games for the PS2 (or PS3) would it be able to hold its own? i dont think so. unlike computers the PS2 and PS3 NEED games or else it will fail. end of stroy

R3last
R3last

Yeah and if they did get their money back on this ridiculous appeal, you can guarantee it wasn't going to be used to lower the ps3 pricepoint.

goku2000
goku2000

Sony has had its fair share of luck, they let the pride get to their heads, and now look at them. Oh well, they'll make that money back off of people buying more systems due to disc read errors.:P

Halexandre
Halexandre

Maybe Sony really should walk hand-to-hand with Apple: the PS3 would be considered a computer and people would buy it for $3000 with a smile on their faces... Sometimes laws and aconomics are... AFFFFFF! :(

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

I have only one thing to say regarding this article: Uh duh!

bunty_007
bunty_007

No it's not a computer. $ony just wants to make money, even the graffics are not that good much.

otakuboy68
otakuboy68

well it does have DNAS, and you do hav that system browser to delete memory blocks from your memory card, and thats basically all i do on my computer in addition to playing games. oh wait, yeah, internet. thats what i was forgetting. it doesnt hav that.

nathanfist
nathanfist

Sony can't say it's a computer. it's not a computer. If it is, gamespot should tear off the PS3 tab and shove it under the PC tab. Plus it would be the end of playstation because that was a console, not a computer.

PelekotansDream
PelekotansDream

This is all just confusing. All I know is that Sony are trying to classify the PS2 as a computer to save money or get more. Either way the PS2 is far from a computer, since when are games consoles computers? Does this mean my sega game gear is a game console?

Karjah
Karjah

Tell you what the day I can pop in any software cd be it a word processing program or a bitorrent downloader wtih a complete working web browser you can call it a computer. You can't do that with a ps2 it's only as much a computer as your standard dvd player. No discount for you.

nev70
nev70

Court of appeal that IS NOT CHEAP! wtf are sony on!

nextgenisps3
nextgenisps3

nintendorocks man what r u talking about? how does the PS2 calculate graphics and shadows if it's not an automatic data processing machine. That judge doesnt know what he's talking about. anyways...

rynmls
rynmls

have a nice day sony...

LittleYoshi
LittleYoshi

PS3 will be like a computer, but its still just a game console. A computer game system has a better graphics hardware system. Then a just plain game console. Which makes games look more real.

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

Glad the UK got that straightend out. That's doesn't make any sense. Why would a PS2 be a 'automatic data processing machine' and why is it taking the UK so long to figure this out? A strange story indeed....

ZEELIX
ZEELIX

look, pc= personal computer and computer=a machine that manipulates data so as a console its a computer. of course it is not personal cuz you dont store mp3 on it etc. and so on. it is in fact true like korn said. still on a side note with the external hdd for ffxi would that maybe change it? just curious.

cyprus646
cyprus646

Does it really matter if it is considered a PC ? I mean just to dodge import charges is really stupid.$ony just stick to calling it a game console.

LOLO_BOND
LOLO_BOND

if the ps3 is fully programavle then sony will stop to sell its desktop computer...

sitgom
sitgom

Everyone knows that the ps2 was never a full fledged computer. sony lied because they didn't want to pay money for tax.

granalf
granalf

The only reason they are trying to classify it as a computer is so that they can get some of the money they paid on taxes back.

Mr_Bodywave
Mr_Bodywave

Sony should have just whipped out their HD and linux parts and booted it up and SHOWED that it was a computer that they sold. It would be different if people had hacked linux onto it--but it isn't that--Sony themselves was selling it.

BrandonC3000
BrandonC3000

PS2 is a computer with an operating system purely limited to correctly formatted games, and DVD's. Would I conceder it a PERSONAL Computer(PC), no... but a computer... yes. It's no less of a computer, then a solar powered calculator. This is not to say that every thing that has a computer chip in it, is a computer... no. However, the PS2 can be, and should be classified as a computer, just not a PC.

rubaducky69
rubaducky69

Maybe if Sony wasn't so harsh regarding anti-piracy, and would allow others to mod and expand the console, maybe then it could have been classified a "Budget Computing Unit" Have the PS2 run your Linux server or even your home security system - Yeah!

NeoJedi
NeoJedi

Ah well, can't say that Sony didn't try...

puolikuusi
puolikuusi

Computer is a tool, console is a toy.

UmonDaisuke
UmonDaisuke

"Im an ms fanboy but i have to say. the reason ms doesnt get into any of these problems is because it has so much money " You sure are, but you should know that the first Xbox didn't make MS any money and cost them $5 billion over 4 years, while both Nintendo and Sony made money on their consoles. They haven't broke even on the 360 either. Ballmer recently rallied investors by saying that the losses ($5 billion and counting) are cheaper than buying a company like Nintendo, so they should bear with it.

IsmirZone
IsmirZone

It can run LINUX....Need I say more? Just perfect a UK court can decide what it is. The creator makes it and decides what it is. I say no more.

spyrewolf
spyrewolf

HUH?!? um no... you can 'freely program' the PS2, when i bought my PS2 i got that 'PS2 basic' disc, which alows you do basically that, PROGRAM! hell a basic calculator can be classed as a computer of some sorts, doesn't anything which "computes numbers of some sort class as a computer" this is nit picking,

GS_darkplayer
GS_darkplayer

Ha ha Sony in trubble. And what they will get trubble next . Having very high prices on PS3 they go broke. And that the fact.

elementfx
elementfx

So sony wanted the PS2 to fall under the class of a computer? Hmmmm, and all for money? A little greedy I think.

DrKill09
DrKill09

I always laughed at the name "Playstation 2 computer entertainment system". The XBox was much more pc like.

troakun
troakun

This brings up a good point. What is truely the difference between a PC and a gaming device? They both compute, they both game, they both come in a box, they both... oh no wait this is stupid. PS2 =/= computer.

UntoldDreams
UntoldDreams

Hahaha... Wait a second... The millions and millions of copies of God of War and Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 being sold is a total fluke then? :-) Come on...

Maquis_UK
Maquis_UK

in my opinion ( and i had a ps2 so don't flame me ) the ps2 is barely a games console either. its a second rate dvd player that cant even deal with mps3. rubbish.

jthechosenone
jthechosenone

im an ms fanboy but i have to say. the reason ms doesnt get into any of these problems is because it has so much money that it doesnt need to fight for anything. if ms looses money they're like..."o well". dont compare sony or any company to ms because they are in a diff situation.