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Competition watchdog welcomes Sony and Nintendo subscription changes

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had previously raised concerns about people becoming locked into online gaming subscription services.

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Gamers play on a Playstation 4 during EGX 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham (Joe Giddens/PA)

Gamers play on a Playstation 4 during EGX 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham (Joe Giddens/PA)

Gamers play on a Playstation 4 during EGX 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham (Joe Giddens/PA)

The UK’s competition regulator has said it welcomes changes being made to how Sony and Nintendo sell online gaming subscriptions following an investigation into the sector.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had secured an undertaking from Sony that the company will more actively contact customers who have stopped using their membership to its PlayStation Plus service to remind them how to cancel their subscription, and will ultimately stop taking further payments if they remain unused.

The CMA confirmed it had also engaged with Nintendo, who it said had changed its practices during the investigation so that its Nintendo Switch Online Service would no longer be sold with automatic renewal set as the default option, meaning people would not automatically be entered into renewing contracts.

The regulator said the changes from both firms had helped address a number of its concerns about people being locked into subscriptions.

Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said: “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.

“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.”

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