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Xbox Game Pass will soon stop charging inactive accounts

Xbox's big stage at E3 2018, complete with ample green light and a Game Pass logo.

Photo: Christian Petersen (Getty Images)

Thanks to one investigation For online gaming subscriptions from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Microsoft will soon improve the ways in which their Xbox Game Pass service handles automatic renewal, refunds and inactive memberships. (h / t PC gamer)

Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that Microsoft will no longer continue to charge monthly fees if a Game Pass account goes dormant.

"Gamers need clear and timely information to make informed choices when signing up for automatic membership and subscription renewals," said CMA's Executive Director of Enforcement Michael Grenfell in a recent Press release. "We are therefore pleased that Microsoft has given the CMA these formal commitments to improve the fairness of their practices and protect consumers, and will offer refunds to certain customers."

The full list of changes was detailed by the CMA as follows:

  • Better advance information: Microsoft will provide more transparent, advance information to help customers understand their Xbox membership - which e.g. makes it clear that the subscription will be automatically renewed unless the customer turns off automatic renewal; when the subscription is automatically renewed; how much it will cost; and how the customer can receive a refund after an accidental renewal
  • Refunds: Microsoft will contact existing customers about recurring 12-month contracts and allow them to terminate their contract and demand a pro rata refund
  • Inactive memberships: Microsoft will also contact existing customers who have not used their memberships for a long time, but who are still paying. These customers will be reminded how to stop payments, and if they continue not to use their memberships, Microsoft will eventually stop taking additional payments
  • Better information about price increases: Microsoft will provide clearer announcements of any future price increases and will ensure that people know how to turn off automatic renewal if they do not want to pay the higher price

While these improvements were previously only intended for the UK, a Microsoft representative said The edge that Xbox Game Pass subscribers around the world will all benefit from them eventually.

Sony and Nintendo were also included in the CMA's investigation, which originally launched in April 2019, but there is currently no word on whether they plan to match Microsoft's commitments.

Xbox Game Pass has been a huge success for Microsoft and attracts over 18 million users to its hundreds-strong library of Xbox and PC games since launch in June 2017. Sony is allegedly to develop a similar subscription for its PlayStation brand that could come already in the spring.

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