Protecting Consumers!

I am still on the Sony horse! It is interesting to see how consumers are do not seem to be protected and how little visibility some cases seem to get. I seem to have found what I consider to be severe consumer injustice!

This injustice is on two levels. The first level is on the side of ‘the small print approach’, the second side is on the consumer side through the shops. So as discussed in my previous blog (pricing a Sony game), where they changed the user agreement to make illegal the reselling of games and on the other side the TPP will allow them big companies to charge us more.

At the DPP, no one was willing to take any calls (they apparently do not take any calls ever). They referred me to the ASIC and the Law society of NSW. They were little help, however the Law Society did what it service minded does, and they would be able to refer me to private solicitors. This is what they do (and what they are supposed to do), so there is no case here, other that they were willing to give all the assistance they could. From there I ended up with the fair trades commission who listened and explained on how I had to go to the ACCC.

The ACCC logged the issue and it is now investigated internally.

I also talked to Channel 7, Channel 9 as well as the Sydney Morning Herald. They were all interested, but seemingly unaware to the issues that are going on at present. In my view I have always be loudly outspoken against this and I did so against the acts of Don Mattrick when he was with Microsoft. It seems hypocrite not to speak out against Sony when they try to hide in the weeds not quaking!

I am all for protecting gamers, if the little time I have left on this earth is to get some protection for them against injustice and greed, then this is a fight worth fighting. The gamers are now swiftly placed between the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact), raising the price of entertainment even further and the forces crushing the options of pre-owned games for those not being able to afford full priced games, something must clearly be done.

It is also interesting how the government and the Fair Trade commission remain silent on these matters. Shops rely on pre-owned games to survive after the margins of new games are reduced to an absolute minimum. The pre-owned games keep them into business. As large companies are paying less and less corporate tax as their offers go to downloaded revenue (which often goes via non-commonwealth tax shelters). We see that they are paying less and they are the cause of shutting down local shops with these new arrangements. I believe in fairness and at present there is no fairness in any of this.

Too squeeze a population already in hardship, to hurt them even further with these events is beyond acceptable!

In case you see some response on ‘generic’ or some party line response how this is not the intent of the Sony User agreement, then consider one other piece of information. PlayStation Home offered an amazing private space for sale. It was by loot and it is a graphic and technological highlight. You buy the private space where you can walk around. It is so amazing as this is a new form of private space. Not only is it graphically superior on many levels, it has a new level of interactivity. The private space allows you to monitor twitter via a light bar in your apartment. It offers LOOT™ Radios (music) and EOD TV (movies, TV shows). This is a new era in entertainment, yet not everywhere available. They were very clear in communicating that part. I get that part! Yet, consider that Loot is part of Sony, and that the TPP is about to limit retransmissions of broadcasts even further, how long until consumers ‘lose’ those options? In addition some places cost US$2.99, whilst in Australia the same places cost AU$4.99 and in the UK GBP 2.39. So, when we set this all to the same (US) currency we see:

United States $2.99, Australia $4.61 (+54%), United Kingdom $4.19 (+40%). So not only do we pay on average a lot more, we get less for the overall package. Interesting how this lacks the visibility it deserves!

I wonder how much visibility the press and the news casts will give all this in the coming days. In my eyes it might be an interesting stretch to see how much power they have over the press, in case of the UK we should look at how much visibility they give all this. They claim that they could regulate themselves? Well, if this is true, how come that NO ONE (of the big newspapers in the UK) has had any visibly outspoken view on these matters by Sony? I saw a few sources like ‘reddit’ and other bloggers pick this up, but that is about it. If you are wondering on the size of these matters, I am not a journalist, I am not some high powered media mogul, I am just a blogger who knows games. The gaming industry encompasses a market in extent of 20 billion dollars a year. That is a market big enough for ALL newspapers to keep one eagle eye on any news that impacts it. No visibility seems to have been given at present. A questionable turn of events!

Who is looking out for the consumers, especially those who do not have that much to spend?

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