Subscription services are a double-edged sword. On one hand, setting one up is easy, and you can let it auto-renew without interrupting your service. On the other, it’s really easy to forget you set one up and have it bill you for months you never used.
Fortunately, the latter half will soon be a thing of the past for Xbox Game Pass members. Microsoft has announced that it will help users stop accidental subscriptions, even to the point of refunding them if need be.
Microsoft’s Changes to the Xbox Game Pass
As stated on the UK’s Government website, Microsoft is making it easier for you to manage your Game Pass. However, the company isn’t changing the rules based on the goodness of its own heart; instead, it’s doing so after regulators from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) expressed their displeasure with Microsoft’s model.
More specifically, the CMA wasn’t happy with how Microsoft handled automatic renewals. The regulators believed it was too easy for a customer to accidentally leave a subscription going for months on end, as Microsoft made no effort to alert them that they had a subscription going.
To combat this, Microsoft will have to add more transparency to the subscription model. It will give subscribers better and clearer information as to what their subscription plan entails, such as renewal dates and early warnings about price hikes.
Microsoft will also give users fair warning if they’re not using their subscription. If a user doesn’t use their Game Pass for a large amount of time Microsoft will prod them to see if they’re still game. And if the trend continues, Microsoft will cancel the subscription.
However, the most interesting part covers yearly subscriptions:
“Refunds: Microsoft will contact existing customers on recurring 12-month contracts and give them the option to end their contract and claim a pro-rata refund”
The report also states that users are entitled to a refund “after an accidental renewal.” As such, the new scheme should allow players to get their full moneys-worth without overpaying.
While the plan will start off in the UK, Microsoft did confirm to The Verge that it wants to roll out the same system worldwide. As such, you should soon reap the benefits no matter where you are.
A Huge Win for Game Pass Subscribers
Giving people leeway over how they manage their subscription service is always a welcome addition. People tend to be scatterbrained, and sometimes a subscription they intended to cancel rolls on for longer than they originally wanted.
However, the addition of refunds is an interesting part of this plan. Some subscription services are ruthless; as soon as the money leaves your account, it’s gone for good. But the ability to refund an accidental renewal or an unused 12-month plan is a fantastic boon for the consumer.
And while it initially sounds like Microsoft is the loser in this deal, the company may yet be pleasantly surprised. Commitment is a huge hurdle when buying year-long plans, as it can be hard to tell if you’ll use the service for 12 straight months. Doing so feels like placing a bet; if you win, you save cash. If you lose, you overpaid for a service.
However, if you have the option to drop out if you stop using the service, it makes the 12-month plan a lot more appealing. As such, Microsoft may see more year-long subscribers as a result. And when you combine this with the recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard into the Game Pass, there’s a good chance that yearly subscribers will stick around until the end.
Making the Xbox Game Pass Easier to Manage
Any plan to make a subscription service easier to manage is a welcome one, and these changes to the Game Pass will help gamers save some money. However, there’s also a good chance that Microsoft will see a lot of new year-long subscribers as a result.
Are you an avid Xbox or PC gamer? Then check out the reasons why you should get an Xbox Game Pass subscription right now.
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