As a result of the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s ongoing investigation into the games business,
Nintendo and Sony have announced changes to the way they market their respective subscription offerings.
These changes will impact their policies for countrywide services like Xbox Live Gold, PlayStation Plus, and Nintendo Switch Online.
Specifically, Sony has said it will contact long-term inactive PlayStation Plus customers who are still being billed to remind them to cancel unwanted subscription plans, then eventually stop making payments.
Meanwhile, Nintendo will no longer sell you its Nintendo Switch Online subscription with auto-renewal as its default setting. You’ll now have to manually switch this on after becoming a member.
Sony and Nintendo have agreed to update their marketing practices for subscribers after a UK investigation found the companies could be doing more to ensure transparency in their subscription offerings.
The Competition and Markets Authority [CMA] investigated all three major gaming platforms, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, after it received more than 800 complaints regarding “auto-renewal subscriptions”.
The CMA said customers were particularly concerned about navigating opt-out policies and the interface.
If a customer doesn’t respond, PSN will automatically suspend payments after a significant period of non-use. Sony said it will also “ensure that customers understand auto-renewal terms before signing up” and revamp its entire sign-in process to include a pop-up notification at the end of subscription periods.
Nintendo meanwhile will no longer sell Switch Online subscriptions with auto-renewal as default. To continue using the service, customers will now have to switch on auto-renewal through their account settings or via a confirmation.
Michael Grenfell, Executive Director of Enforcement at the CMA said:
As a result of our investigation, a number of changes have been made across the sector to protect customers and help tackle concerns about auto-renewing subscriptions.
Companies in other sectors which offer subscriptions that auto-renew should review their practices to ensure they comply with consumer protection law.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has now closed its investigation into the European branches of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo after each responded regarding their subscription autorenewal policies.
All three companies have been working with the CMA over the last few months to bring their terms and conditions in line with UK consumer law, particularly those concerning auto-renewal subscriptions.
Hope you like these changes in subscription policies.
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