Last year we reported that Sony would likely be giving buyers of the original PS3 a partial refund as part of a lawsuit. When the PlayStation 3 first went on sale, Sony advertised its “OtherOS” feature, which would allow users to install a different operating system (like Linux) onto the device. Then, in April of 2010, Sony removed the feature from all devices — including the ones already purchased — during a firmware update. The removal of Other OS was reportedly for security reasons, but some customers thought the company didn’t want their devices being used as cheap processing power for people who weren’t going to buy games, and some customers didn’t care about the reason; they just wanted the feature they already paid for. Five customers filed a class action lawsuit.
Now the final hearing has been held in the case, and buyers of the original PS3 (the “fat one”) will be getting more money than we previously thought. Instead of $55 or $9, customers are now eligible for “up to” $65 per PS3 if they meet certain conditions. You’re owed money if you bought the eligible version of the PS3 between November 1st, 2006 and April 1st, 2010, and you still know the serial number or your PlayStation Network username or sign-in ID used with that PS3. You have to attest (under penalty of perjury) that you knew about OtherOS when you bought the system, and you think your system lost value when OtherOS was removed. You also need to have purchased your PS3 from an “authorized retailer” in the U.S., so our buying one out of the trunk of a Geo Metro in a Shakey’s parking lot probably doesn’t count.
The total amount of the settlement is $3.75 million, a third of which is going to the lawyers. Another $300,000 to $400,000 is going to the settlement organizers, and the five plaintiffs are getting $3,500 each. That leaves around $2.1 million to divvy up among the rest of us. Since Sony sold up to 10 million PS3s during the specified time period, people will only get the full $65 if a lot of buyers don’t fill out the claim form by the deadline.
All claims have to be postmarked by April 15th.