Microsoft Is Changing How It Runs Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass Subscriptions

Microsoft was the first console manufacturer to introduce subscriptions for online play through Xbox Live Gold. The new change forever changed the gaming industry for both the better and worse. And while the golden days of Xbox Live remained in the Xbox 360 era, a slew of anti-consumer practices led to Xbox Live becoming the subscription people would buy begrudgingly. But with the new Xbox Gamepass coming along, people had their reservations about how it would work. More specifically, people were concerned about how auto-renewals would work on the system.

Auto-Renewals for Xbox Live Gold

One of the major complaints gamers have had with Microsoft’s console is that it auto-renews subscriptions like Xbox Live Gold. And with people getting the new monthly subscription for Gamepass, those would auto-renew as well. For many people, this was absurd, as their cards would automatically be charged for renewing the subscription without them accepting it. Even though they could cancel the subscription at any time, they would not be getting a refund.

It also didn’t help that adding credit card details was not possible through the console. Players couldn’t remove those details. For that, they would have to go through a lengthy process of first going to the Xbox website, signing in, and then removing their details.

Competition and Market’s Authority Begins Investigation into Microsoft

The UK has been at the forefront of bringing change to the gaming industry. The House of Commons brought Activision representatives to a hearing asking them to discuss loot boxes and their similarities to gambling. And now, the Competition and Market’s Authority came to question Microsoft, Playstation, and Nintendo, over their auto-renewal policies.

Following investigation talks, Microsoft was quick to publish some major changes to its policies.

Information about Price Hikes

Microsoft will give players more information about price hikes for their subscriptions if they happen. Now players will receive an email and a message on their console, which will show them the prices being increased.

Inactive Memberships

If a player has not used their subscription service in a while, they will get a message showing them how to stop payments. And if they still do not stop making these payments, Microsoft will eventually stop receiving them.

Refunding Subscriptions

Customers who always get 12-month subscriptions will cancel their subscription at any time easily, and the company will offer them a refund depending on the months they have remaining.

More Honest

Finally, Microsoft will be more upfront and honest about their Xbox memberships, as well as the auto-renewal policy. The message will tell them that subscriptions auto-renew unless the individual personally disables it.

While the Pro-consumer moves did come from external pressure, people are still glad that it finally happened. Hopefully, Playstation and Nintendo will quickly follow in their footsteps and offer the same services eventually.