Sony has been in front this generation with the PlayStation 4, nobody can argue with that. They’ve had an astounding amount of popularity following Microsoft’s questionable approach to the initial release of the Xbox One, meaning that the PlayStation dominated both the Japanese and Western markets. They haven’t been without their controversy, especially with their whole stance on crossplay (which has since been rescinded). Well, the next round of controversy to strike the company has come from the Italian Antitrust, with the Italian organisation slapping the media/tech giant with a €2,000,000 fine in regards to the sale of PS4s.
According to the Italian Antitrust latest weekly bulletin, Sony has been in violation of Article 21 (clause 1, B and D) and article 22 of the Consumer Code. They have found that the unfair practice in question is in the vein of misleading consumers due to the lack of relevant information on the products box/packaging. So what is the issue exactly? Well, it seems that Sony’s failure to communicate that games purchased for the PlayStation 4 which feature multiplayer require an active subscription to PlayStation’s online service, PlayStation Plus. Free-to-play games like Warframe, however, do not require an active subscription.
The procedure concerns the behavior placed in from the business in the promotion and sale of the PlayStation 4 console and videogames via the PlayStation Store, with reference to the lack of the necessary information of having to subscribe to PlayStation Plus in order to play multiplayer online with other players.” – translated from the bulletin
It was noted that this practice has had a massive reach, affecting a large number of customers since November 2013, when the platform initially released. Sony will be required to the €2,000,000 fine within thirty days or risk having to pay for arrear interest. Sony has also been given ninety days to change the packaging for the PlayStation 4 to make it abundantly clear that an active subscription to PS+ is required in order to play online in games purchased from either the online store or game retailers.
Failing to comply with these terms could result in additional fines ranging from a measly €10 000 to €5,000,000, and continued failure to comply could see the company suspended from business activities for up to thirty days.
If you would like to read the bulletin, even though it is all in Italian, click here. The pages which matter for this case are from 230-248