Sony Settles PlayStation 3 Class Action for $7M

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — After six years of litigation, Sony agreed to settle a class action accusing it of misleading customers by saying the PlayStation 3 could run other operating systems.
     The consolidated class action began in April 2010, when several lawsuits claimed Sony lied about the PlayStation 3 being able to run a separate operating system, such as Linux, in addition to its built-in gaming operating system.
     While earlier models had that functionality, the “other OS” feature was wiped out by a software update on April 1, 2010, according to the lawsuits.
     Ten million PS3 units have been sold in the United States, ranging in price from $400 to $600, according to court filings.
     Sony introduced the PlayStation 4 in 2013.
     Under terms of the settlement, Sony will pay $55 to each class member who can show that he or she used a separate operating system on the PS3 before the feature was eliminated.
     Sony will also pay $9 to each class member who relied on Sony’s claims about the “Other OS” functionality when they bought their gaming systems.
     The settlement sets a $2.25 million cap for attorneys’ fees and provides $3,500 incentive awards for five named plaintiffs, including lead plaintiff Anthony Ventura.
     Sony will use its PlayStation network database to email class members about the settlement. Advertisements about the deal will be posted on technology and gaming websites such as CNET and IGN.com.
     The notification plan should reach an estimated 77 percent of class members, according to the motion for preliminary settlement approval.
     Court documents do not indicate the total value of the settlement.
     If the $2.25-million attorneys’ fees award were calculated as the traditional one-third of the projected settlement fund, Sony would pay about $6.75 million to settle the suit.
     Class attorney Rosemary Rivas and Sony attorney Luanne Sacks did not return phone calls about the settlement Monday.
     In 2011, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed the PS3 class action with prejudice, but the Ninth Circuit partly reversed in April 2014.
     Settlement talks that began in August 2015 were concluded last week after 10 months of negotiations.
     Last year, Sony settled another class action with Playstation users over a data breach that compromised more than 70 million accounts in May 2011.
     A hearing on the motion for preliminary approval of the PS3 “Other OS” settlement will be held before U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland on July 19.

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