Another Lawsuit Accuses Sony Of Overcharging PlayStation Customers For Games
The lawsuit calls out the PS5 Digital Edition and its exclusive support for the PlayStation Store.
A second lawsuit has been filed against Sony regarding digital game sales on PS4 and PS5, alleging that PlayStation customers have been overcharged by "billions" of dollars because of policies that prevent retailers from selling digital game codes on their own. It's a policy that has only been in place for about two years and differs from that of Microsoft with Xbox, where retailers are free to sell digital code cards.
The lawsuit Cendejas v. Sony Interactive Entertainment was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and follows a separate suit, Cacccuri v. Sony Interactive Entertainment, which is essentially arguing the same thing.
Before April 1, 2019, PlayStation Store digital games could be purchased at retailers via code cards, letting the retailers set prices and put them on sale. That is no longer an option, leading to Microsoft's digital game store sometimes getting better prices than what Sony's gets. Microsoft still allows retailers to sell code cards for Xbox systems.
The Cendejas case also specifically calls out the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. While the standard PS5 supports discs, and thus gives players the chance to shop around for the physical versions of many games, the Digital Edition only supports the PlayStation Store.
"Consumers, limited to a single source for purchasing any digital PlayStation content, are forced to pay a higher price for digital PlayStation games than they would in a free and unrestrained competitive retail market," the suit says.
According to attorney Richard Hoeg, we'll likely see similar cases like this lumped into one to be heard by a court. There probably won't be a whole bunch of different lawsuits arguing the same case against Sony, especially since there doesn't appear to be much difference between them.
"You'll only get multiple lawsuits if there is some element of a complaint/proposed class that is materially different from other claims," Hoeg told GameSpot. "In general, though, you'll just be looking at one case."
It's likely we'll see similar lawsuits filed before too long, as Hoeg said attorneys make money when they're chosen to be the counsel for a class in a class-action lawsuit.
"Because of that, there is often a 'race to the courthouse' of overlapping proposed lead plaintiffs, in an effort for a plaintiff's class-action firm to get that position," he added.
Sony's decision has made it impossible for certain retailers to offer console parity on their digital game sales. Newegg, for instance, has run $10 off deals on digital Xbox versions of a few different games lately, including Resident Evil Village and Biomutant. Without a way to sell game codes, retailers can't offer the same savings to PlayStation users.