Online console video gaming

The CMA has today launched a consumer law investigation into the auto-renewal practices of Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Xbox.

Investigation launch

5 April 2019: The Competiton and Markets Authority opened an investigation into the supply of online gaming memberships for the Nintendo Switch, Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox.

The 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 investigation will examine several issues including:

  • are the contract terms unfair? - do the companies’ terms give them wide discretion to change the quality of the deal, for example, by reducing the number of games included or increasing the price?
  • how easy it is to cancel or obtain a refund? - are there any factors that make it difficult for people to cancel their contract or get their money back?
  • how fair is the auto-renewal process? - are customers clearly told that their membership will be rolled over, are they regularly reminded that they are on a roll-over contract before further payments are taken, and is auto-renewal set as the default option?

At this early stage, the CMA has not reached a view as to whether or not the companies have broken consumer protection law.

Call for your views

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 email address below to share your experiences.

onlinevideogaming@cma.gov.uk

Contacts

Senior Responsible Officer

George Lusty (george.lusty@cma.gov.uk)

Director

James Macbeth (james.macbeth@cma.gov.uk)

Assistant Director

Mandy Young (mandy.young@cma.gov.uk)

Published 5 April 2019