Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority to determine whether their online subscription services are "unfair."
The way in which we consume media has changed drastically over the last decade. Although the option is still there, less and less of us are actually going to the store to physically buy our music and movies anymore. Streaming services have all but taken their place, as we all turn to Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, and the like.
When it comes to those streaming services and the litany of others, almost all of them offer a free trial period to get us hooked. If we opt-in to that trial period, we are almost always faced with the same initial task to enter our payment details. Even though the trial is free, those services are banking on us not canceling our subscriptions once the trial is over, whether we're enjoying the service or not.
As it turns out, all might not be kosher with this way of doing things. That's why the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching an investigation into how exactly these services work. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all fall under the guise of this investigation for their PS Plus, Game Pass, and Switch Online subscriptions.
According to The Guardian, the reason the CMA is launching this investigation is to determine whether the way in which the subscription renewal systems work are unfair. There is also a fear that the way in which they operate may not even be legal, at least not in the UK. The CMA has requested more information about the process from the three gaming giants. If it deems their practices to be unlawful or unfair, it might well take action.
Most of you reading this have likely been caught by failing to cancel a subscription in one way or another, whether that be simply forgetting you had signed up for the free trial or not knowing the day on which it ended. If you have had an experience where you believe you have been treated unfairly in a scenario like this, the CMA wants to hear from you. You can do so by filing a complaint here.