Sony lawsuit claimant’s reddit Ask Me Anything backfired

Technology

The lead claimant of the recently filed anti-competition lawsuit against Sony hosted an Ask Me Anything Q&A on reddit yesterday.

A couple of weeks ago it emerged that the case had been filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, alleging that Sony abuses its position in the market to unfairly charge customers.

Leading the lawsuit is Alex Neill, who took to reddit to field questions about the case. It went about as well as you would expect – not at all.

Responses from Neill were vague and often didn’t answer the question being asked. The most egregious of these related to how much Neill and Woodsford, the firm providing litigation funding, stand to gain if they win the case. Neill repeatedly stated that parties involved in funding or legal action would “become entitled to a fee or uplift,” but did not state how much these fees could potentially be.

By contrast, Neill put the “estimated damages” for anyone eligible as a claimant to be between £67 and £562. Neill did not reveal the estimated profits calculated for herself or Woodsford.

Most were left unimpressed by Neill and the aim of the lawsuit. Many users asked why only Sony is being targeted for its 30% commission on purchases, when Valve and Microsoft take the same amount. Others pointed out that game prices are standardised across platforms, meaning a difference in commission fee affects game publishers more than consumers yet the lawsuit isn’t being filed on their behalf.

Some even asked how to opt out of the lawsuit – anyone who bought something on the PlayStation Store from 19th August 2016 onwards is automatically included as a claimant.

One user summed up perfectly why no one agrees with the case. “This is a money-making venture for both you and your backer… don’t pretend that it’s anything else,” wrote user cosmos7. “I can only assume you guys are hoping a win here will set precedent to go after the bigger boys like Apple and Google.”

Neill presumably thought this would be a brilliant PR move to get people onboard with the lawsuit, but it had the opposite effect. All of Neill’s responses were heavily downvoted. Some compared it to the AMA disaster of Rampart. It’s not hard to imagine Neill hoped it would go down a lot better than it did.