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Sony and Nintendo stop billing unused game subscriptions in the UK

They're joining Microsoft in addressing dormant accounts.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: A general view of the show floor as members of the public preview the latest games and upcoming releases during EGX 2019, the UK's premier video games show, at ExCel on October 17, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Brady/Getty Images)
Joe Brady/Getty Images
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|April 13, 2022 9:17 AM

Sony and Nintendo are following Microsoft in halting payments for unused gaming subscriptions in the UK. The country's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has obtained an agreement with Sony that will wind down unused PlayStation Plus accounts. Sony will remind inactive subscribers how to end payments and, if there's still no activity, stop taking payments altogether. Nintendo, meanwhile, no longer auto-renews Switch Online subscriptions by default.

Microsoft said in January it would cancel dormant Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass subscriptions in the UK, and eventually worldwide. Like Sony, it will first notify customers (albeit after a full year of inactivity) and, one year later, halt payments. Microsoft also said it would provide more immediate information about memberships to customers, such as auto-renewal details and refunds.

The changes have led the CMA to end an investigation into online gaming services that began in 2019. The probe focused not only on auto-renewals, but on the difficulty of obtaining refunds and on potentially unfair subscription terms. While it's not yet clear if the CMA has resolved every problem, the core issue appears to have been addressed — you're less likely to get a bill for a service you stopped using a long time ago.

Sony and Nintendo stop billing unused game subscriptions in the UK