Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lik-Sang closes down, blames Sony - British court rulings may contravene E.U. law

Online videogame retailer Lik-Sang has shut down its operation, citing lawsuits by Sony Computer Entertainment as the reason. The console manufacturer had strongly objected to the company importing its PlayStation Portable console from Asia and selling it in Europe and North America. This practise is sometimes referred to as parallel trade, parallel import or grey import.

A company statement quotes Pascal Clarysse, Lik-Sang´s marketing manager, as saying:

Today is Sony Europe victory about PSP, tomorrow is Sony Europe’s ongoing pressure about PlayStation 3. With this precedent set, next week could already be the stage for complaints from Sony America about the same thing, or from other console manufacturers about other consoles to other regions, or even from any publisher about any specific software title to any country they don’t see fit. It’s the beginning of the end... of the World as we know it. (...)

Blame it on Sony. That's the latest dark spot in their shameful track record as gaming industry leader. The Empire finally 'won', few dominating retailers from the UK probably will rejoice the news, but everybody else in the gaming world lost something today.

Sony, on the other hand, deny any involvement in the closure of the online retailer, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz:

Lik-Sang did not contest this case. We have been awarded substantial costs against Lik-Sang which have not been paid. We would therefore strongly deny that our actions have had anything to do with this website closing (we assume the legal entity is still trading), and would suggest that this release is sour grapes on behalf of Lik-Sang which is aimed to belittle Sony Computer Entertainment and the British judicial system that found against them.

My own research suggests, though, that the ruling of the High Court in London may, in fact, contravene European Union law. The E.U. Commission has made it quite clear that it welcomes parallel trade in the games industry:

Restrictions of parallel trade represent an infringement of Article 81 of the EU treaty. Experience has proven that parallel trade leads to efficiency gains and lower prices in the EU and is, thus, beneficial for consumers.

Further, Mario Monti, the former Commissioner in charge of competition, noted as part of a similar ruling against Nintendo:

The European Commission is here to protect the public from business practices designed to keep prices artificially high. European families spend millions every year on video games and we want to make sure that they are not being swindled.

This may be a case for the European Court of Justice.

Sources: Lik-Sang, GamesIndustry.biz, Europa server, Europa server
Thanks to: Codename Revolution


Falafelkid said...

I am so sorry, I deleted your comment. I managed to recover it, though. Here it is in full:

Anonymous said...

I was wondering when we'd get your take on this event. I can see both sides of the argument, but as a UK resident and a LikSang importer i am like most annoyed by this outcome.

What annoys me most is knowing Sony can pick and choose their customers, they can prevent sales overseas. Their only reason is so they can control the demand and sales and prevent the price cuts being shared by all.

I don't claim to know anything about law, but i refuse to accept Sony can stop me importing provided the import taxes are paid. I really hope this isn't the last we hear of this.

2:40 PM

Falafelkid said...

And here is my original reply:

Hi Anonymous.

Thanks for your comments. Sorry for my late post. My computer crashed on me a few times today (after re-installing Windows) and I had to rewrite this post three times from scratch... ;)

Anyway, I am no lawyer myself. But the quotes from the E.U. Commission cannot be mistaken. They even specifically relate to the games industry. If Lik-Sang are prepared to fight this out, I am sure they could take this to the European Court of Justice. I have sent Lik-Sang a mail outlining this.

Anonymous said...

i didn't have much to say for myself :)

Let me be the first to say thank you and well done. Things like this will pass beneath the radar of a lot of influential people. It takes someone with a little know-how to give it a kick-start.


Falafelkid said...

I will now demonstrate how much control I have over Falafelkid :

Funnily enough, you yourself have just demonstrated how much control I have over you... by you coming here to disrupt this site.

I won´t go into how much you honour myself and the integrity of my writing by having to resort to childish spam maneuvers to counter them.

Also consider that you are the sad little fuck pressing Ctrl-V a hundred times while I just click twice to get rid of your comments once and for all. Guess who wins?

Falafelkid said...

Hi Shaun.

Things like this will pass beneath the radar of a lot of influential people. It takes someone with a little know-how to give it a kick-start.

I will do whatever I can. Unfortunately, our news program is not the platform for this kind of news. But that is just the reason why this blog exists.

dp said...

That's it I'm done with sony, they closed down my favorite import site. Not surprising, they don't care about gamers anyways.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does liksang.com seems to be over reacting? They are not even attempting to fight the lawsuits and this court decision only seems to affect Europe. Are they just assuming that Sony’s North American and Asian branches will follow suit? If so that would only affect Sony products. There must be something going on behind the scenes…

Perhaps Nintendo and Microsoft threatened to do the same, since they
sued them in the past.

Anonymous said...

Great post, I took the info over to Kotaku and mentioned you!

Thanks for the research!

RGB said...

Some guy, there'd be more to it than we know but I'd say there just might not be enough money in it for them to pursue it.

And the way I look at it, where one goes another one pops up. It always happens with everything. And by the looks of the info Fal has pointed out, Sony would have their work cut out for them shutting everyone down.

Sony are kings of controlling stock and moving it from region to region to dicate markets where they see fit. I have been involved heavily in the international distribution of PS1, PS2 launch and I see that this is nothing more than Sony trying to control the PS3. They want to dictate the market.

As for you Fal, it looks like you are a bit fired up. If you let him get to you, then he has accomplished what he wanted to do.

Falafelkid said...

Hi Grandmaster.

It looks like you are a bit fired up. If you let him get to you, then he has accomplished what he wanted to do.

Not at all. First of all, I am absolutely relaxed about the spam situation now. It´s gotten much, much better lately. The few guys left are nothing compared to the spammers I´ve had in the past. Luckily, they are gone.

And I love the way I can control them like clockwork. I wind them up and they start banging their little cymbals together like the Duracell bunny.

Also, resorting to such methods shows they simply do not know enough to participate in the proper discussion. Of course, it´s very easy to feel envy in the company of professionals and industry observers like ourselves.

So no, I am all relaxed about it. And they will never accomplish what they want to do here. Their objective is to both disrupt this blog, as well as get me to disable anonymous comments. And they won´t succeed in either.

RGB said...

Thats good to hear Fal........

Anonymous said...

The spammer has no life whatsoever.

cOrMiN said...

... me neither =(

Blizz419 said...

good ol sony fuckin shit up again, they keep making more enemies recently, hey fal maybe they were not even intelligent enough to press Ctrl-V and they right clicked and pasted a hundred times, spammers usually are not very intelligent lol.

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