Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo are under investigation for online services that some might consider “unfair.”
Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo may have teamed up at the Game Awards last December to celebrate the video games, but now they are together as part of a government investigation.
Led by the UK government’s Competition and Markets Authority, the research is focused on finding out whether or not the three companies are committing unfair practices with their online services.
The target in this investigation is the use of membership contracts on Xbox Live, PlayStation Plus, and Nintendo Switch Online.
The CMA is currently deciding whether the automatic renewal policies imposed by the Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo give consumers enough information before charging more money.
A key target during this investigation will be the monthly number of games they offer to consumers as part of their subscription.
While Nintendo only adds to the NES titles library and Xbox Live consistently has four games a month, the recent reduction of Sony games has been a hot spot for online subscriptions.
Below are the three main points of the investigation:
Are the terms of the contract unfair?
Do the names of the companies give them ample freedom to change the quality of the business, for example by reducing the number of included games or increasing the price?
How easy is it to cancel or get a refund?
Are there any factors that make it difficult to cancel the contract or return the money?
How fair is the automatic renewal process?
Customers are clearly informed that their membership will be canceled, they are regularly reminded that they are in a roll-over agreement before new payments are made and automatic renewal is set as the default option?
While the CMA is clear to state that they have not yet decided whether these companies have broken the consumer protection law, however, if the CMA determines that companies are violating this, they can take serious action.
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