As many as nine million claimants are being represented in the lawsuit filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal on Friday (19 August), including anyone in the UK who has purchased digital games or add-on content either on their console or through the PlayStation Store since 19 August 2016.
Brought by consumer rights champion Alex Neill, the lawsuit accuses Sony PlayStation of overcharging customers by up to £5 billion ($5.9b) in total over the last six years by charging a 30 percent commission on every digital game and PlayStation Store in-game purchase.
The company has been accused of breaching competition law by imposing unfair terms and conditions on game developers and publishers, in turn forcing up prices for consumers.
Customers could be entitled to between £67 ($79) and £562 ($663) each, excluding interest, with Neill claiming: "The game is up for Sony PlayStation."
"With this legal action I am standing up for the millions of UK people who have been unwittingly overcharged," she said. "We believe Sony has abused its position and ripped off its customers."
Neill went on to describe gaming as 'the biggest entertainment industry in the UK', ahead of TV, video and music.
She continued: "Many vulnerable people rely on gaming for community and connection. 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."
Natasha Pearman, the partner leading the case, commented: “Sony dominates the digital distribution of PlayStation games and in-game content; it has implemented an anti-competitive strategy that has resulted in price premiums too high for the customer to be disproportionate to the cost of Sony providing its services.
"This request is only possible because the opt-out class action regime has been introduced by the Consumer Rights Act of 2015; a mode that Alex fought to introduce. We look forward to working with Alex and ensuring that this regime achieves its goals of consumer protection and compensation."
The claimants involved in the lawsuit will not have to pay for the cost of the legal proceedings themselves thanks to its funding by Woodsford; a team of litigation and arbitration experts investing in large commercial claims.
LADbible has reached out to Sony PlayStation for comment.
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