Competition and Markets Authority investigates Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo

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The UK Competitions and Markets Authority is investigating Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo regarding the fairness of their online gaming contracts.

Announcing the move in a press release, the consumer rights body said: “The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned about whether some of these companies’ business practices are legal, such as their use of auto-renewals for online gaming contracts, their cancellation and refund policies, and their terms and conditions.”

The CMA’s particular concerns centre on the three companies’ auto-renewal policies: “These services can involve a membership which is often entered into on an auto-renewal basis. This means that money will be automatically taken from a person’s account as the membership rolls over. The CMA has written to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox requesting information about their online gaming contracts to help better understand their practices. It is also calling on customers who use these services to get in touch with the CMA and share their experiences in order to assist the investigation.”

Those customers who have concerns can tell the CMA about their experiences via this web page. GamesIndustry.biz reported CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli as saying: “Roll-over contracts are becoming more and more commonplace and its essential that they work well for customers. Our investigation will look into whether the biggest online gaming companies are being fair with their customers when they automatically renew their contracts, and whether people can easily cancel or get a refund. Should we find that the firms aren’t treating people fairly under consumer protection law, we are fully prepared to take action.”

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Steve Boxer
Steve Boxer has been writing about videogames since the early 1990s. His first console was an Atari VCS, and he misspent most of his youth in the 1980s in the arcades. As well as for Green Man Gaming, he can be found writing for The Guardian, Empire, TechRadar and Pocket-Lint. He’s currently having trouble deciding whether his favourite console is his Xbox One X or his Switch, and plays a wide range of games, but especially RPGs (he loves a good JRPG) action-adventure titles, shooters of all descriptions and driving games. Follow him here.