Judge Gives Early OK to Reworked Sony PS3 Deal

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – A federal judge has preliminarily approved a rejiggered Sony PlayStation 3 class action settlement, after denying final approval because the deal made it too difficult for PS3 users to claim their money.

Under the new proposed settlement, class members can file claims by providing just a PlayStation Network ID, a change that prompted U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to call the deal “fair, reasonable, and adequate” in an order issued Tuesday.

Although Gonzalez Rogers last year tentatively approved an unlimited settlement fund for purchasers of early-model PS3s, she later objected to the claims process, which required users to provide a receipt or serial number for PS3 units that were bought between 2006 and 2010.

Sony sent emails to nearly 7 million potential class members, instructing them to call a phone number and use their network ID to obtain a temporary serial number if they no longer had their PS3 units.

But Gonzalez Rogers questioned why buyers should call for temporary serial numbers if Sony could establish proof of purchase based on their network ID.

“This ‘remedial’ process begs the question of why the claimants were required to provide receipts or serial numbers in the first place, i.e., if Sony already had that information in its database and could simply confirm the claim by using the claimant’s PlayStation Network ID,” she wrote in an order denying Sony’s motion for final approval this past February.

The settlement would compensate people who bought a PS3 believing it ran a separate Linux operating system in addition to its built-in gaming system.

The Linux feature was wiped out by an April 2010 software update, according to lawsuits filed over the change.

Sony agreed to an unlimited settlement fund that would pay $55 to each class member that used the Linux operating system and $9 to any class member who bought an early-model “fat” PS3 between Nov. 1, 2006 and April 1, 2010.

James Pizzirusso of Hausfeld LLP in Washington represents the class, and Sony is represented by Michael Tedder Scott with DLA Piper in San Francisco. Neither attorney could be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

A fairness hearing is set for May 29, 2018.


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