Romanian Antitrust Probe Investigates Sony Over PlayStation Dominance Abuse

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Story Highlights

  • Sony is being investigated by the Romanian Competition Council antitrust probe that is investigating concerns about the brand’s potential abuse in the console gaming market.
  • Two examples of potential abuse were discussed by the antitrust probe, including PlayStation selling its games via the official store only. 
  • The company banning the competition from getting the activation codes was also mentioned in the report as a concern, enticing an official investigation by the competition authority.
  • Sony has not commented on the new antitrust probe’s case, leaving gamers curious about its stance. The investigation could possibly lead to positive changes in the future.

Sony has recently fallen prey to the Romanian Competition Council antitrust probe that is seeking to investigate concerns regarding the brand’s potential abuse in the console gaming market. Two possible dominance abuse examples have been listed by the antitrust probe, including PlayStation selling its games via the official store only and the company banning its rivals from getting the activation codes.

The detailed report states the Romanian authorities’ stance and how it disrupts the market.

The Competition Council has launched an investigation into a possible infringement of the competition rules by Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited and its subsidiaries, (…) in the video game distribution market for PlayStation consoles,” reads the official report (machine-translated).

The competition authority believes that Sony could be abusing its “dominant position” in the games console market in multiple ways. Whether its by selling PlayStation titles exclusively through the official store or by “prohibiting the sale of game activation codes video compatible with PlayStation consoles by competing distributors.

These practices allegedly reduce the buying options for PS games, causing the prices to inflate for games in question. According to the Romanian antitrust probe, the local studios in the region are also discouraged from crafting video games that are compatible with Sony’s PlayStation consoles. The Romanian Competition Council also accepts that Romanian gamers prefer the PlayStation brand in contrast to the competition.

In Romania there are approximately 1.3 million console video game users and 127 video game development studios that would be affected by this possible anti-competitive practice of Sony. As part of this investigation, the Competition Council carried out inspections at Sony’s premises in Europe to gather information and evidence.”

Many gamers are now curious whether this investigation, if prompted by legal outcomes would lead to cheaper PlayStation 5 keys from various third-party sites. There is certainly a possibility that the Romanian antitrust probe decides to take action and implore Sony to allow third-party sellers to sell its games in their stores. Regardless, it remains to be seen how the consumers would benefit from the aftermath of the investigation.

This is certainly not the first time Sony has been targeted by antitrust probes, with it getting sued over PlayStation’s digital store monopoly in the past. It has been sued prior for almost the exact reasons, limiting its games exclusively to the PlayStation store. However, it is not the only company to deal with the investigation of antitrust probes, as Microsoft also has had to deal with similar consequences in the past over other concerns.

The new case by the Romanian Competition Council antitrust probe may finally compel Sony to bring about a positive change in the industry, as it holds the leash to most of the console gaming market around the globe. The giant figure has been responsible for steering the market many a time with its policies; thus, it is expected that the investigation makes things flexible both for the devs and the gamers amid its brand dominance.

Sony has not issued an official public statement on the new antitrust probe’s case, leaving gamers curious about its stance.

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