Microsoft announced changes to their subscription services Xbox Live and Game Pass. We all know those times when we needed to purchase a gift card in a store and with that be able to renew our membership for a month, a couple of months or a year. Although still possible, most memberships nowadays are bought online and come with a auto renewal. And that is just the kind of feature they are about to change.
The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) launched an investigation back in 2019 on the “auto-renewal practices of Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Xbox.”. This resulted in a recent update on the investigation with Microsoft announcing they will take steps to improve the processes regarding the auto-renewal of their subscriptions.
Improvements in Xbox Subscriptions
These improvements include:
- Better upfront information: Microsoft will provide more transparent, upfront information to help customers understand their Xbox membership – making clear, for example, that the subscription will auto-renew unless the customer turns off auto-renewal; when the subscription will auto-renew; how much it will cost; and how the customer can receive a refund after an accidental renewal
- Refunds: Microsoft will contact existing customers on recurring 12-month contracts and give them the option to end their contract and claim a pro-rata refund
- Inactive memberships: Microsoft will also contact existing customers who haven’t used their memberships for a long time but are still paying. These customers will be reminded how to stop payments, and if they continue not to use their memberships, Microsoft will ultimately stop taking further payments
- Better information about price increases: Microsoft will give clearer notifications of any future price rises, and will ensure people know how to turn off auto-renewal if they don’t want to pay the higher price
Are these improvements against Microsoft’s will? Not likely. The CMA does understand that it is way easier to find a good solution to their problems while working together with big companies than to meet them in court. So it can be assumed that most of these improvements are Microsoft’s own ideas.