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Retailer rallies indies over PSP 'bullying'

Birds still clucking angry.

Speaking exclusively to our sister site GamesIndustry.biz, Dan Morelle, MD of online retailer ElectricBirdLand, has announced plans to hold a secret meeting of independent retailers prepared to take a stand against Sony's clampdown on PSP imports.

"I believe we have an opportunity to share our knowledge and allay any fears brought on by Sony’s legal threats," says Morelle. "It’s time independents were taken more seriously and I think it’s about time Sony gave us more respect."

The announcement follows Morelle's first attack on Sony several weeks ago, when he accused the Japanese giant of using bully tactics against UK retailers and failing to register important trademarks. The full story can be found here.

The MD says he's heard nothing from Sony since: "For ElectricBirdLand and retailers that received the first wave of paper from Sony and refused to give the undertakings, all has gone quiet.

"But the games continue," he adds. "I am aware that only yesterday, other retailers received the same Sony nastygrams we began to receive almost one month ago."

However, Morelle claims that the Cease and Desist orders sent out buy Sony haven't stopped import sales so far - and are unlikely to do so in the future.

"International retailers outside the EU continue to sell PSPs to the EU. eBay sellers continue to sell PSPs by the suitcase load. Online retailers continue to aggressively compete with each other. Independent high street retailers continue to sell PSPs."

Morelle also claims that "one major electronics retailer has also entered the fray, selling imported PSPs and games," but we have been unable to independently verify this claim. He also claims that a number of high street retail chains are supporting imported PSPs by selling accessories or using import consoles as demo units, but are not providing grey import hardware.

"Although not ‘officially launched’ until September 1, the PSP is on sale all over Europe," Morelle continued, "and there is nothing that Sony can do about it but bully. The flood gates are flung open and there is no amount of paper fired out by Sony’s solicitors that will plug it."

Morelle concluded by once again taking the opportunity to heavily criticise Sony's recent actions.

"What Sony has managed to do, yet again, is create overwhelming hype for its new product but failed to deliver," he said. "How many European gamers have to be jilted by Sony in comparison to their peers in the US and Japan? The emperor is stark naked for all to see."

Sony Computer Entertainment was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Morelle will not reveal venue or timing details for the independent retailers' meeting, but says it will take place "in a matter of days." Nor would he list the names of those already signed up to attend, stating only: "The interest and support I received since making a stand on behalf of ElectricBirdLand has been huge."

Those wishing to attend are invited to email fairplay@electricbirdland.co.uk for more details.

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GamesIndustry International is the world's leading games industry website, incorporating GamesIndustry.biz and IndustryGamers.com.

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