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BizReport : Advertising archives : July 03, 2014

ASA upholds complaint about 'misleading' free-to-play mobile game ad

When is a free-to-play mobile game not a free-to-play mobile game? Electronic Arts recently found out, courtesy of the UK independent regulator the Advertising Standards Authority.

by Helen Leggatt

Marketers need to be wary of how they market free-to-play games in future in the wake of a ruling in the UK declaring the description for Electronic Arts' game 'Dungeon Keeper' to be 'misleading'.

While the classic game is, technically, free to play, the Advertising Standards Authority took issue with charges made for in-app purchases which significantly enhanced and impacted gameplay. This, says the regulator, made any claim that the game was free-to-play unreasonable.

According to the Advertising Standards Authority, an advert for Dungeon Keeper, brought to their attention by games industry journalist Chris O'Regan, failed to include any reference to in-app purchases or, more specifically, the role they played in allowing players to progress in the game.

"Although we acknowledged that a disclaimer about the inclusion of in-app purchases was placed on the product page on the stores in which the app appeared, we noted that this was not within the body of, or linked to, the original ad, and that it did not make the nature of these purchases clear," announced the Advertising Standards Authority.

"Because the game had the potential to restrict gameplay beyond that which would be expected by consumers and the ad did not make this aspect of the role of in-app purchasing clear, we concluded that it was misleading."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, apps, mobile, mobile games

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