Italian regulatory body AGCOM has found Sony guilty of misleading players over the structure of its multiplayer model, with Sony fined €2 million as a result. The financial penalty was handed down after the body ruled that Sony did not make it clear for players that an extra PS Plus Subscription was required to play some games. While the fine itself equates to a drop in the ocean for the company, it does set an interesting precedent that could, theoretically, lead to similar fines from other authorities.
The fine came about (H/T ResetERA) after AGCOM ruled that, during the process of buying PS4 games on the PS Store, a “lack of information” provided by Sony about the requirements for paying for a PlayStation Plus subscription which is needed to use the multiplayer modes on the majority of titles. AGCOM goes on to claim that the makeup of the PS Store and the lack of information means that the “economic behavior of the consumer” is put at risk “to an appreciable extent.” An extent that AGCOM reckons warrants the €2 million fine.
The interesting part of this isn’t so much the fine itself, €2 million euros works out to just over $2.2 million for the exchange rate at the time of this story, and as Sony is coming to the end of one of its most profitable financial years in a while, that fine probably won’t see any office branches being shuttered. What is does mean though, is that if Sony leaves the messaging for the games sold on the PS Store as it is, other bodies with similar roles to AGCOM around the world could make similar claims.
It’s not so much a matter of precedence in this kind of ruling, instead, it would come down to whether regulatory bodies like the Federal Trade Commission in the US or the Competition Commission in the UK considered Sony’s messaging to be equally misleading. If that’s the case, then similar rulings could be made from regulatory offices from around the world and while each would only amount to fines in the same region of AGCOM’s value, the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will most likely be taking a second look at the wording on each of their stores to keep these fines to a minimum.
(Via ANSA Hi-Tech)