This past week, Sony was fined 13.5 million euros ($14.8 M) for claimed damages inflicted upon third-party controllers after a software update. This wasn’t about Sony’s handling of PlayStation 5 third-party controllers, either. According to the French Competition Authority, Sony is guilty of two violations during the PS4 era of consoles. One of which involves Sony damaging the reputation of PS4 controllers made by third-party manufacturers through a 2015 software update. The other is for purposefully making applications for third-party licensing more difficult for manufacturers.
The 2015 software update was released to combat counterfeit controllers, not all third-party ones. Despite the intentions, the Authority found this to be a “disproportionate” response, as it caused constant disconnects for almost all non-Sony devices. This has damaged many third-party controller manufacturers’ reputations, causing a shift in perception for said companies. Many of these companies have tried to apply for licensing, seeing it as the only way to avoid the issues. However, Sony seemed to complicate communication with these companies, which is the cause of the second infraction.
These two practices have been found to have caused damage in the third-party controller market and have proven that Sony used its power to discourage the sale of these controllers. To clarify, the specific companies involved in the sanction are:
- Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited
- Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc
- Sony Interactive Entertainment France
- Sony Group Corporation
While Sony has yet to comment on the situation, the document can be read here.