A deal with the UK regulator will bring more flexibility to Microsoft’s subscription services.
Following an investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, Microsoft has announced it is making changes to its Game Pass program that will make it easier for subscribers to cancel the service and not accept payments for inactive subscriptions.
The AMC said it was the first to be identified as “concerned about certain aspects of Microsoft’s auto-renewing subscriptions” as part of a broader online gaming investigation. These concerns included the clutter of auto-renewal subscriptions, the ease of turning off auto-renewal, and customers unknowingly paying for old subscriptions they no longer use.
As a result, Microsoft has now committed to making changes to its Game Pass and Xbox Live services, including:
Better information upfront: The company will provide more transparent introductory information to help customers understand their Xbox subscription, such as B. by clarifying that if the customer does not upgrade to auto-renewal, the subscription will automatically renew; in case of automatic subscription renewal; How much will it cost; and how the customer can get a refund after an accidental renewal.
Refunds: Microsoft will contact existing customers with 12-month recurring contracts and allow them to cancel the contract and request a prorated refund.
Inactive subscriptions: Microsoft will also contact existing customers who have not used the subscription for a long time but are still paying. Customers are reminded how to stop paying, and Microsoft won’t stop accepting payments if they continue using their subscription.
Better information about price increases: Microsoft will announce future price increases more clearly and make sure users know how to turn off auto-renewal if they don’t want to pay the higher price.
“Players need clear and timely information to make informed decisions when registering and renewing their membership,” said Michael Grenfell, CMA’s Executive Director of Enforcement. “We are therefore pleased that Microsoft has made these formal commitments to the CMA to improve the fairness of its practices, protect consumers, and offer refunds to certain customers.”
Grenfell also warned that other companies offering subscription services “should take note and review their practices to ensure they comply with consumer protection laws.”
Many of us have probably experienced it at least once in our lives: paying for services we haven’t used for months because we forgot about them or sometimes it’s too painful to cancel, you rarely think about it. Either way, it’s a waste of money, and while AMC’s announcement reveals data – without specifying distance, for example – it’s a step in the right direction.
CMA is a UK-based agency, but a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed in an email to PC Gamer that the subscription policy changes will take effect internationally. “The changes to inactive subscriptions will be rolled out first in the UK and will soon be available globally,” the representative said.
Gaming CEO Phil Spencer recently said he doesn’t see subscriptions as a replacement for traditional purchases, but there’s no doubt Game Pass is pretty important to Microsoft. The service recently surpassed 25 million subscribers, and that number is expected to continue growing as Microsoft adds its newly acquired Activision Blizzard games.