The Japanese Federal Trade Commission have found Sony guilty of unfairly influencing market pricing of PlayStation games. Sony has always made a point of setting the price of its console and games, and has been doing it for so long that people just take it for granted. Not any longer, though, says the FTC. The ruling, which concludes two years' worth of proceedings, is a big slap on the wrist for Sony, and will affect the cost of its games and perhaps hardware in Japan. The FTC also ruled that Sony impaired free distribution by directing wholesalers to sell only to retail outlets and for retailers to only sell to consumers. Despite being found guilty and asked to reform, Sony claims that it would "make sure that [its] policy of not setting resale conditions on wholesalers for PlayStation hardware and software is observed." It strikes us that if they had this policy none of this would have come up in the first place. Either that or it was there for show. The ruling may spur action in North America and Europe. This is the sort of thing, after all, that the American courts thrive on, and Europe is definitely big on commissions. We spoke to the Trading Standards press office here in the UK this morning and although they didn't have a direct response, our correspondent there enthused that they would be looking "very closely" at the ruling from Japan to see whether any action was necessary over here. Sony was unavailable for comment, presumably because everybody there is at the DevStation conference in Brighton.
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