The Competition Council of Romania has made a significant announcement, revealing an ongoing investigation into Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited and its subsidiaries. The probe aims to determine whether Sony has abused its dominant position in the video game market, particularly in relation to the distribution of PlayStation console games. The allegations include the prohibition of game activation code sales by competing distributors, which may have restricted consumer choices, raised prices and discouraged Romanian studios from developing PlayStation-compatible games.
The Competition Council’s press release indicates strong indications of anti-competitive practices by Sony. The company’s alleged exclusive sale of online video games compatible with PlayStation consoles through the PlayStation Store platform, coupled with the prohibition of game activation code sales by competing distributors, has prompted the investigation. These practices are believed to have limited the availability of PlayStation-compatible games, leading to potential price hikes. Furthermore, they may have had a detrimental impact on the local video game development industry, discouraging Romanian studios from creating games for the PlayStation platform.
Sony’s PlayStation brand enjoys significant popularity among Romanian gamers, with approximately 1.3 million console video game users in the country. The alleged anti-competitive practices could have adverse effects on consumers, reducing their purchasing options and potentially increasing game prices. Moreover, the restrictions may hinder the growth and innovation of Romanian video game development studios, which would be directly affected by Sony’s actions.
To gather essential information and evidence, the Competition Council conducted inspections at Sony’s premises in Europe. These inspections are a vital part of the investigation and are necessary for a thorough analysis of the alleged anti-competitive practices. It is crucial to note that the inspections do not imply guilt on the part of the companies involved, but rather aim to clarify the situation and obtain the necessary facts.
The Competition Council’s investigation into Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe’s potential violation of competition rules in Romania’s video game market has raised significant concerns. The alleged anti-competitive practices, including the exclusive sale of games through the PlayStation Store platform and the prohibition of game activation code sales by competing distributors, have implications for Romanian gamers and developers alike. The investigation will shed light on the matter, ensuring a fair and competitive market environment.