According to France’s Autorité de la concurrence, a government body responsible for regulating competition, Sony hasn’t been playing nice with third-party controllers on PS4. The regulatory body has fined Sony 13.5 million euros (roughly 14.8 million USD) for deploying “technical countermeasures […] which affected the proper functioning of third-party video game controllers.”
As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, the anti-trust body claims that Sony has abused “its dominant position in the market,” using console features that were “allegedly implemented to combat counterfeiting” as a way to mess with the operation of third-party controllers, “regularly leading to them being disconnected during console operating system updates.”
The accusations are twofold. First, the regulator states that Sony’s anti-counterfeit “measures were disproportionate” in their function, affecting “all ‘unlicensed’ controllers indiscriminately.” The second issue the Autorité took was with what it described as Sony’s “opaque licensing policy, which in several cases prevented rival companies that wanted to market PS4-compatible controllers from joining [its] OLP partnership [program].”
Kotaku has reached out to Sony for comment.
Reliable third-party controllers are definitely rare to come by regardless of your console of choice. Even when they’re well built, third-party controllers often have missing features, such as rumble, wireless, or gyro support.
It took the PS4 over four years to see a true third-party replacement for the DualShock 4 via the Hori Onyx in 2018, which, though impressive, did in fact lack several important features. Other replacements (aside from gamepads that cost multiples more than their first-party counterparts and are targeted toward professional-level play) are often a gamble as to whether or not they’ll function properly—which France is suggesting isn’t necessarily the fault of third-party manufacturers.
Read More: This PS5 Controller Will Never Drift, But It’s Not All Good News
There are many reasons to prefer a first-party controller such as reliability and full support of all of a console’s features. But third-party controllers are a pretty essential way to keep old consoles going and out of landfills, especially as many controllers succumb to failure and drift, making fresh and working ones harder to find as time goes on.