Nintendo has removed a controversial policy from Nintendo Switch Online. Following in the footsteps of PlayStation and Xbox, Nintendo has confirmed that its auto-renewal practices are changing. This change follows an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority. For Switch Online subscribers and future subscribers, this means that Nintendo Switch Online will no longer be sold with auto-renewal as the default option. Auto-renewal can be enabled by users, but it will not be the default option.
Prior to this change, auto-renewal had to be turned off, meaning that if someone forgot their subscription, they could, hypothetically, be charged for as long as the service remained active, which could last for many, many years.
Nintendo didn’t have any statements to release alongside the news, which isn’t terribly surprising. Michael Grenfell, CMA’s Executive Director of Enforcement, released the following statement.
“As a result of our investigations, a number of changes have been made in this area to protect customers and help resolve issues with auto-renewing subscriptions,” Grenfell said. “Today’s announcement therefore concludes our investigations into the online video game industry. Companies in other industries that offer auto-renewing subscriptions should review their practices to ensure they comply with the consumer protection law.
Since its inception, the video game industry has largely been able to avoid government intervention and regulation through self-regulation. In recent years, however, this self-regulation has ceased, and the result has been an increased presence of various governments around the world. The biggest and most notable example of this recently has been with loot boxes.
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