After the PSP became last year’s grey import gadget of choice Sony has moved to stop the PS3 suffering the same fate.
On Friday a London court officially ruled that Hong Kong based online retailer Lik-Sang.com (yes, we love LK too) was breaking the law when it sold PSPs to Britain and Europe ahead of its official release. The knock on effect is massive with Sony determined to use the decision to stop imports of the PS3 which goes on sale in Japan and the US on 11 and 17 November respectively but will not hit Europe until March.
Speaking to the BBC, a spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) said “The law is clear, and grey importing PS2, PSP or PS3 into the EU, without the express permission of SCEE is illegal. Therefore, we will utilise the full scope of the law to put a stop to any retailers who chose to do this."
He justified the action saying, “Ultimately, we're trying to protect consumers from being sold hardware that does not conform to strict EU or UK consumer safety standards."
Now before we all go beating a bloody path to Sony’s door there are a couple of valid points to be made: 1. That imported consoles invalidate Sony’s warranty and 2. Blu-ray movies and DVDs are region locked so would only work with US or Asian flicks.
That said the counter spin is arguably a lot stronger: 1. Nothing stops a consumer going to the Japan or the US and bringing the console home themselves so why stop everyone else? 2. Isn’t it our decision if we wish to compromise our warranty and media playback to enjoy next generation gaming? 3. Perhaps most importantly, isn’t whole scenario of Sony’s own making?
Ultimately, fair or not however the ruling has been made and really Sony is only shooting itself in the foot. If it wants to deny millions of gamers across Europe the chance to buy a PS3 before Christmas then I’m sure many of them will be happy to scurry on over to Microsoft, Nintendo or even both instead…
Sony's legal success against Lik-sang has seen the much loved online retailer go out of business. You will be missed guys, we know it's unfair.