During the PS4 generation, it was well known that Sony did not look favorably on any third-party controllers. In fact, for a while we didn’t see alternatives to DualShock 4 beyond the proposals of world-renowned brands. Well, in France they determined that this situation could not be forgotten and they have fined the Japanese giant.
The Authoritythe French competition regulator, concluded that Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited, Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. KK and Sony Interactive Entertainment France, all subsidiaries of Sony Corp., They abused their market power by blocking third-party PS4 controllers for more than four years. PlayStation’s parent company will therefore have to pay a fine of 13.5 million euros ($14.8 million).
It is important to mention, on the other hand, that the inspection of Sony began after Subsonica French video game accessory manufacturer, will complain to the authorities about the obstacles imposed by Sony.
“Following an indication from Subsonic, a French video game controller manufacturer, the Authority has fined Sony for abusing its dominant position in the market for the supply of video game controllers for the PlayStation 4 for more than four years.
How Sony blocked third-party controllers
According to the investigation carried out by the regulator, Sony resorted to two anti-competitive practices to block third-party PS4 controllers.
First, it implemented a series of technical measures whose purpose was to combat piracy of original PS4 accessories. Through software, they could cause the disconnection of third party controls when the console updated its operating system. Although the regulator recognizes that this measure was intended to combat product counterfeiting, they also consider that Sony abused its system to block unlicensed controls.
Likewise, Sony launched a unclear policy about how a third party could obtain authorization to manufacture and market controllers for the PS4. Because of this, it was easier for Sony to exclude small companies from joining its licensing program. This explains why, for many years, we only saw controllers from recognized brands on the market. Razer, Scuf and Nacon, to name just a few examples.
“By refusing to communicate the licensing program access criteria to the manufacturers that requested them, Sony applied them at its discretion, even though access to it was the only way to avoid disconnections.”
For the Autorité, these two practices “significantly damaged the brand image of the affected third-party manufacturers, both in the eyes of consumers and distributors, slowing their expansion in the market and causing their possible exclusion.”
The fine, of course, is also a warning for sony in case you are doing the same with third-party controls for the PlayStation 5, its current generation console. It remains to be seen if manufacturers from other countries also rely on the corresponding authorities to file a complaint similar to that of Subsonic…