CMA closes its investigation into the online gaming sector.

By April 14, 2022 Industry News

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) has welcomed improvements made by Sony and Nintendo to their gaming subscription practices and has now closed its investigation into the online gaming sector.

The CMA investigation looked at subscriptions for online gaming services in situations where people automatically continue to be charged indefinitely until they take action to end their contract. The CMA was concerned that people might find themselves locked into paying for services they no longer want or use.

The CMA has secured an undertaking from Sony relating to its PlayStation Plus product, a service that allows users to play online together. In particular, Sony has agreed to put in place measures to protect customers who haven’t used their memberships for a long time but are still paying. Sony will contact these customers to remind them how to stop payments and, if they continue not to use their memberships, Sony will ultimately stop taking further payments.

The CMA also engaged with Nintendo, which changed its business practices during the course of the investigation so that Nintendo Switch Online Service is no longer sold with automatic renewal set as the default option. This means people will not be automatically entering into renewing contracts, addressing a number of the CMA’s concerns about people becoming locked in.

Today’s announcement therefore concludes the CMA’s 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.

This announcement follows undertakings agreed with Microsoft in January 2022 in relation to its online gaming subscriptions.

More information about the CMA’s investigation is available here.



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