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Court Dismisses Class-Action Antitrust Suit Against PlayStation Store

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A judge has granted Sony's motion to dismiss an antitrust class action lawsuit accusing the PlayStation Store of monopolistic practices, Bloomberg Law reports. The plaintiffs will be able to file an amended complaint.

According to Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California, plaintiffs failed to prove Sony had violated the Sherman Act's rules on anti-competitive practices.

A group of consumers first filed the suit in 2019, when Sony decided it would no longer sell codes for digital games through third-party stores. The change made it so all download sales had to go through the PlayStation Store, which plaintiffs said allowed Sony to control prices and illegally monopolize the market for digital PlayStation games.

To support their claims of monopolistic practices, the plaintiffs highlighted increased costs — PlayStation owners could be charged up to 175% more cash to download a game than they would if they bought a physical copy.

The key issue at hand was whether Sony made the change primarily to cut off competition, or if it was simply making a smart business decision. Judge Seeborg said the plaintiffs did not manage to show Sony had ended a profitable business to better control the market.

"The motion to dismiss is granted because plaintiffs have failed to allege adequately anticompetitive conduct under the Sherman Act claims. Although it is unclear at this time if the deficiencies may be cured, plaintiff is granted leave to amend," Judge Seeborg wrote in his ruling.

Sony also saw a gender discrimination lawsuit from a former PlayStation employee dismissed earlier this year. The plaintiff in that case was given the right to amend and re-file her complaint; she did so in May.