The scope of the class action lawsuit facing Sony over its removal of PS3 Linux support could include over 10 million consoles, potentially reaching billions of dollars in refunds if everything goes the lawyers’ way.
The law firm handling the case is claiming the console’s high price was due to the inclusion of Linux support, most probably in an effort to increase the size of the final settlement:
“This class definition reflects, in part, that Sony commanded a much higher price for the gaming console based on the functionality of the ‘Other OS’ feature at the time of its launch and trumpeted the ‘Other OS’ feature in its subsequent marketing.
As a result, consumers paid much more for a product than they should otherwise have been charged now that Sony has disabled the ‘Other OS’ feature.”
The firm is urging PS3 owners to hang onto consoles and receipts if they want in on the action.
With lawyers seeking an “everybody in the country who bought the PS3 from the time of launch until March 27, 2010” scope, some 13 million PS3s would be included in the suit.
Even restricting the scope to pre-Slim PS3s, 9 million PS3s could easily be included. Successful suits in less litigious nations seem less likely, but over 30 million PS3s worldwide presents a huge potential liability.
Amazon’s discretionary refund of $100 for lost Linux support sets a threatening precedent for Sony – presumably a court enforced refund would be much less.
A substantial success for such a suit would probably spell doom for the PlayStation – billions of dollars in additional liability would be a huge blow to Sony’s struggling financial position, and in the boardroom would have an even worse effect on the perceived importance of SCE to Sony as a whole.
However much the final lawsuit comes to, it seems unlikely any console will ever officially support a third party OS again after such a fiasco.