New Playstation Plus: privacy, ownership and other contractual aspects

By Marcelo Mattoso Ferreira.

As previously announced, this past Monday, 13/06/22, Playstation Plus (“PS Plus”) has changed its format, now offering three different plans (Essential, Extra and Deluxe).

Because of this, some questions arise, which vary from the number of titles offered, how content is made available, user service and even questions about data privacy, consumer rights, ownership of accounts, content, among others.

Well, the first step is to understand what is this type of service. The PS Plus is not new and is already present in the lives of Sony users since the Playstation 3. What changes now is only the form of provision of content (games, in short).

In the previous model we had a limited availability of games per month and each month these contents would alternate. However, if the user added that game to their library and linked it to their account, even with the removal of that title from PS Plus, the user could continue using it.

In the current scenario things change, making the subscription something similar to the user experience with Xbox Game Pass or even Netflix, in which a catalogue of numerous content is made available to subscribers, but the content can be removed at any time.

A common question is: “But what if I’m playing that title and, during the progression of the game, it is removed from the catalogue, how do I get as a user? Well, the answer to that is in the Terms of Use – Terms of Service of the platform. That’s because the Terms of Use – Terms of Service constitute a contract between the parties. This means that by signing the plan, the user automatically agrees with the rules of use of that service. And everything is in the rules of use, you can be sure.

Which leads us to another question: “But this is not illegal? No. However it is an adhesion contract, so that the terms exposed there are considered null or harmful to the consumer, it is necessary to demonstrate some abuse or imbalance in that relationship. What, in this case, does not seem to happen.

As Sony is the owner of the platform and of the titles made available there (through ownership or license), it is at its discretion to establish which contents and titles will be made available or not. This is a fully acceptable and reasonable market strategy.

In addition, because it is a monthly subscription through the granting of a license of use, to enjoy that content the user does not own it. In fact, even when a user “buys” a title by physical media, what is being sold there is the license to use that copy, but that does not mean that the game, as intellectual work, becomes property of that user, however much he “can” (with many inverted commas) sell or market that physical copy later, but it is a topic for another text.

In addition, the user must be aware of the issues of sharing access credentials. That famous way to pay only one subscription and share it with friends. This is forbidden. Just look at item 8.11. Subscriptions where it expressly says that “you may not share your subscription with other Accounts, including child Accounts associated with your Account. This type of practice may lead to the suspension of the account without the right to a refund of the amount paid for the subscription, since it is a contractual breach.

In summary, the whole contractual relationship of the user who subscribes to PS Plus will be governed by the PS Plus Terms of Use[1] and also by the PlaystationTM Network Terms of Service and User Agreement[2]. Stay tuned and in case of doubt, read the terms!

*Marcelo Mattoso Ferreira is a lawyer, partner of Barcelos Tucunduva Advogados and works in the areas of Games and eSports.

Source: Jurid Newspaper

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