The UK Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) are looking into three prominent gaming companies in regards to the legality of their business practices. The CMA are looking into particular services that these companies provide " such as their use of auto-renewals for online gaming contracts, their cancellation and refund policies, and their terms and conditions."
The three companies the CMA has written to are Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft for their online gaming services for their Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox products. The CMA are also looking for current users of the service or users that have not renewed their services to contact them, if you are interested please click here. This is an interesting turn of events particularly as lootboxes are being looked into by various countries around the world and are even beginning to be banned in some, as in Belgium.
The gaming industry is becoming highly lucrative and more so than ever before, so it is only natural that various authorities will start looking into the gaming industry and their practices a lot more. Sony and Microsoft with their games consoles have the market share and players often have fierce brand loyalty to those respective consoles and therefore subscription services in order to play online, it'll be interesting to see what comes out of the investigation.
Their current investigation relates around three areas:
- Diversification of membership packages
- Cancelling or refunding of memberships
- Auto-renewal of membership
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA spoke about the investigation and said:
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.