Britain’s competition regulator said that it had secured commitments from Japan’s Sony and Nintendo. This is to make it clear to customers how the companies automatically renew online gaming subscriptions. And that too after a three-year sector investigation. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) began its inquiry to check whether roll-over contracts for gaming services from Sony, Nintendo and U.S. tech giant Microsoft were fair to customers.
It said in a statement that it had ended its probe after receiving undertakings relating to Sony’s PlayStation Plus and the Nintendo Switch Online service. Microsoft made similar pledges for its Xbox services. The CMA said that Sony has agreed measures to prevent customers from paying for its services when they have not used it for a long time. Also, added that the Nintendo Switch Online Service is no longer sold with automatic renewal as the default option.
PlayStation Plus services start at 6.99 pounds ($9.1) per month in Britain, while Nintendo Switch Online is available for 3.49 pounds. Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said that a number of changes have been made across the online gaming sector to protect customers and help tackle concerns about auto-renewing subscriptions. Grenfell called on firms in other sectors to also review their renewal practices. The CMA previously looked at the subscription rules of anti-virus software providers in an effort to bring transparency to how customers are charged for services they use or no longer use.