Sony and Nintendo change subscription renewal policy after government investigation

It comes after an investigation by the UK’s Competition And Markets Authority

Both Sony and Nintendo will be making changes to how they approach renewals to their subscription-based offerings in the UK following a government-led investigation.

New users to Nintendo Switch Online won’t have automatic renewal as the default option for the service, with users having to manually opt-in instead.

As for Sony, the company will be contacting inactive Playstation Plus subscribers after an unspecified amount of time, informing them how to cancel the subscription. If the service is still not cancelled or used, Sony will pause payments until activity resumes.

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In January, Microsoft took the same steps as Sony for inactive subscribers to both Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass.

It was also confirmed that Microsoft would work towards providing more transparent, upfront information to help customers understand its Xbox membership – making clear, for example, that the subscription will auto-renew unless the customer turns off auto-renewal; when the subscription will auto-renew; how much it will cost; and how the customer can receive a refund after an accidental renewal.”

These changes come after an investigation by the UK’s competition regulator, the Competition And Markets Authority.

“The sector-wide investigation looked at subscriptions for online gaming services where people automatically continue to be charged indefinitely until they take action to end their contract. The CMA was particularly concerned that people might find themselves locked into paying for services they no longer want or use,” reads the CMA’s website.

“As a result of our investigations, a number of changes have been made across this sector to protect customers and help tackle concerns about auto-renewing subscriptions,” said the CMA’s executive director of enforcement, Michael Grenfell.

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“Today’s announcement, therefore, concludes our investigations into the online video gaming sector. Companies in other sectors which offer subscriptions that auto-renew should review their practices to ensure they comply with consumer protection law.”

In other news, Destiny 2 developer Bungie has announced a series of fully remote positions as it pivots to digital working.

“Over the past two years, we have redefined how we work at Bungie,” said CEO Pete Parsons. “The transition to work-from-home wasn’t easy, but the results speak for themselves. Today, it’s clear that a digital-first workplace isn’t the future of work — it is already here, and we are all in.”

 

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