Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo may have to change the way they handle PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live and Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions, it has been revealed.
PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch owners will be interested to hear that the Competiton and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened an investigation into the way online gaming memberships are delivered.
The main focus of the investigation will be the legality of auto-renewals for PS Plus, Xbox Live and Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions.
The CMA will also look at Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s cancellation and refund policies, as well as their terms and conditions.
“Roll-over contracts are becoming more and more commonplace and its essential that they work well for customers,” explained CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.
“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.”
Specifically, the CMA will investigate whether company terms allow the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to change the quality of their subscriptions.
This includes everything from reducing the number of games included as part of subscriptions to increasing the price.
Microsoft recently announced plans to increase the price of Xbox Live subscriptions in May.
From May 8, monthly subscriptions will increase to £6.99, while quarterly subscriptions will go up to £17.99.
But it’s the 12 month subscriptions that have seen the biggest increase, jumping from £39.99 a year to £49.99 a year.
Sony, meanwhile, recently stopped providing free PS3 and PlayStation Vita games with PS Plus.
PlayStation Plus subscribers now only receive two free PS4 games each month, including Conan Exiles and The Surge for April 2019.
The CMA is keen to point out that it hasn’t reached a verdict, before requesting feedback from customers.
“If you are a gamer with a current or expired membership for online gaming for any of the products listed here, the CMA would like to hear from you. Please use the following email address to share your experiences.”