The publishers have agreed to the new measures following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK’s competition regulator.
Sony will now contact long-term PlayStation Plus subscribers who haven’t used the service for an unspecified time, and tell them how to cancel their subscription.
If users don’t decide to cancel the service but continue to not actively use it, Sony will no longer take payments until use of the service resumes.
PlayStation Plus Monthly Games - PS5 & PS4 - April 2022
Nintendo has also changed its policy. Now, new users that sign up for Nintendo Switch Online won’t have automatic renewal as the default option when joining the service.
It will still be possible to turn automatic renewal on for Switch Online, but it must be done after joining the service.
The CMA’s executive director of enforcement Michael Grenfell said in a statement: “As a result of our investigations, a number of changes have been made across this sector to protect customers and help tackle concerns about auto-renewing subscriptions.
“Today’s announcement, therefore, concludes our investigations into the online video gaming sector. Companies in other sectors which offer subscriptions that auto-renew should review their practices to ensure they comply with consumer protection law.”
Microsoft had previously pledged to change the way it shows subscription information to Game Pass customers.
Under the new agreement, Microsoft must clearly show how to cancel a user’s subscription and offer users a path towards getting a refund for a service, if they are eligible.