Sony is getting a pretty firm slap on the wrist from Italy’s competition regulatory body AGCOM. AGCOM has subjected Sony to a fine of two million euros for allegedly misleading consumers about online multiplayer, which very often requires a PlayStation Plus subscription. In AGCOM’s view, Sony has not done enough to inform consumers about the additional costs of PlayStation Plus for anyone who wants to buy a game that features online multiplayer.
On the PlayStation 4 console packaging, language about PlayStation Plus requirements is packed into the center of some very fine print, and there’s no warning about a mandatory subscription on the front of game boxes. Similarly, it’s hard to find any mention of a PlayStation Plus requirement when buying a game through the PlayStation Store. AGCOM submits that this is misleading to consumers.
What is two million euros to Sony? It’s a drop in the ocean. Two million euros isn’t the point, though. The point is that Sony is now under the watchful gaze of a parliament-elected regulatory body and, if change isn’t put into effect soon, Sony could be subjected to further, more serious fines.
Unless you’re new to online gaming, most are accustomed to paying extra for a service like PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live, and we tend to focus on the subscription’s many benefits instead of its requirement to play many games online. Sony likely isn’t going to budge on blatantly disclosing these things unless it absolutely has to. We’ll keep you updated with Sony’s progress in Europe.