Sony Lawsuit
Image: Push Square

First reported on back in August 2022, a consumer rights campaigner named Alex Neill set out to sue Sony for £5 billion (roughly $6.7 billion). The basis of the class action lawsuit alleged that the PlayStation-maker charges "excessive" amounts of money for digital content through the PS Store — something that it can supposedly get away with by being a market leader.

"The actions of Sony is costing millions of people who can't afford it, particularly when we're in the midst of a cost of living crisis and the consumer purse is being squeezed like never before," is what Neill said at the time.

And now, over a year later, the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal has ruled that the lawsuit can proceed to trial. This basically means that Sony will now be forced to defend itself in court. Previously, the company had attempted to dismiss the lawsuit before it could even get off the ground, but clearly, that hasn't worked.

"This marks a significant first victory for the claimants as Sony lost their battle to block the claim on both the merits of the case and the funding arrangements," reads Neill's newly posted press release.

Neill herself writes: "This is the first step in ensuring consumers get back what they’re owed as a result of Sony breaking the law. PlayStation gamers’ loyalty has been taken advantage of by Sony who have been charging them excessive prices for years."

One of the arguments against Neill's lawsuit was that Sony isn't the only company to take a 30% cut of sales made from its digital storefront — the supposed cause of PS Store prices being so "excessive" to begin with. Indeed, Microsoft and Nintendo do the same with their own console-based marketplaces — but again, that obviously hasn't stopped the lawsuit, against Sony specifically, from progressing to trial.

For the record, the lawsuit is being fought on behalf of everyone (unless they opt out) who spent money through the PS Store between the 19th August 2019 and the 19th August 2022. If Neill is successful, affected consumers could potentially receive between £67 and £562 (plus interest) in estimated damages.

It's also worth noting that trials like this are very, very rarely settled overnight. It could well take years for it to be resolved, so don't be surprised if this whole thing continues to rumble on in the background for a long while yet.

[source, via]