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News video games 30 January 2022, 12:49

author: Miriam Moszczynska

Microsoft Forced to Change Game Pass Subscription Rules

Microsoft has received some comments from the UK Competition and Markets Authority regarding its subscription service, and in order to comply, it needs to make changes to the terms and conditions.

IN A NUTSHELL:
  1. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has conducted an investigation into Game Pass;
  2. As a result, Microsoft will have to clarify the rules under which contracts are made with users;
  3. Players will also be given more options to end their subscriptions and ways to apply for refunds;
  4. The subscription will be discontinued on inactive accounts by default to avoid putting players at a loss.

Microsoft will be making changes to Xbox Live Gold and Xbox/PC Game Pass subscriptions. These will be related to the renewal of said subscriptions, cancelation policies and improved contact with subscribers.

The changes follow an investigation by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the transparency of Microsoft's subscription policy. Based on the conclusions the authority drew from its investigation, four comments were made, which Microsoft is expected to follow soon.

What exactly will be changed?

  1. Clearly defined rules: Microsoft will provide clearer, upfront information to help customers understand their Xbox membership, explaining, for example, that subscriptions will auto-renew unless the customer disables the feature, when subscriptions will auto-renew, how much they will cost, and how customers can get a refund after accidental renewal.
  2. Refunds: Microsoft will contact current customers with recurring 12-month contracts to give them the option to terminate the service and request a prorated refund.
  3. Inactive members: Microsoft will also contact customers who have not used their memberships for a long time but are still paying. Users will be reminded how to stop paying, and if they continue not to use their subscriptions, Microsoft will eventually stop accepting further payments.
  4. Communicating price increases: Microsoft will more clearly communicate any future price increases and provide users with the ability to turn off automatic renewals if they do not want to pay the new amount.

While the CMA's investigation was only conducted in the UK, the changes to the subscription policy will apply to players worldwide. This is what Microsoft's spokesperson shared with The Verge.

Not just Xbox

Moreover, Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement of the CMA, in one of his statements said he hopes other companies that offer subscriptions will follow suit. Although it is worth noting that the official pays special attention to subscriptions that renew automatically.

"Players need to receive clear and timely information so they can make informed choices when signing up for auto-renewing memberships and subscriptions. That's why we're pleased that Microsoft has made a formal commitment to CMA to improve the fairness of its practices and protect consumers, and that it will offer refunds to some customers."

So it seems that soon some Game Pass subscribers (currently there are more than 25 million of them) will be able to sleep well, without having to worry about the fact that they have to cancel a service that they have not used for ages - Microsoft will do it for them. Also of interest is the ability to cancel an annual subscription with a refund. So there is nothing left to do but wait for the updated rules to come into effect.

  1. Xbox - official website
  2. CMA - official website
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