Class action lawsuits will no longer be permitted under new PlayStation terms of service released by Sony Entertainment this week.
A response to a number of lawsuits filed on behalf of the 77 million users whose information was compromised during hacking incidents targeting the PlayStation Network, the new terms now say the following:
“Any Dispute Resolution Proceedings, whether in arbitration or court, will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class or representative action or as a named or unnamed member in a class, consolidated, representative or private attorney general action.”
The move in favor of arbitration is supported by the Supreme Court's recent ruling in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, which approved of the wireless' companies requirement that consumers individually enter into binding arbitration instead of filing class action lawsuits.
The practical effect of this change will not be significant on the consumer level, as most recover a minimal amount of compensation as a result of class action settlements.
However, forcing consumers to seek individual redress may lead to a lack of accountability on the company's part, as it is significantly more expensive for plaintiffs to sue individually as opposed to as a class.
In the following weeks, users will be asked to consent to these changes when they sign onto the PlayStation Network.
However, if you are a PSN user and do not wish to be subject to the new PlayStation terms of service, you have 30 days after accepting the terms to opt out, allowing you to take part in any future class action.