The Advertising Standards Agency Agree: Dungeon Keeper iOs Was a Rip Off

By Leon Hurley on at

Or, more specifically: "Because the game had 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".

You can read the full report here but these are the edited highlights (thanks to Gary Blower for the tip off) :

The complainant, who understood that gameplay was severely limited unless in-app purchases were made, challenged whether the ad was misleading because it omitted significant information.

Electronic Arts Ltd stated that in their view they had not misled or omitted information from the ad. They said that Dungeon Keeper was available to download for free, and that in-app purchases were not required.

The ASA noted that the game software was available to download for free, and that it was possible to play the game without spending money. However, we understood that several mechanisms within the game took a significant amount of time to be completed, and that these would only be speeded up by using the premium Gem currency.

We consequently considered it likely that many players would regard the gameplay experience as unexpectedly curtailed and as a result would need to spend Gems in order to achieve the form of gameplay anticipated.

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.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 and 3.9 (Misleading Advertising).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Electronic Arts Ltd to ensure that future ads made clear the limitations of free gameplay and role of in-app purchasing with regard to speeding up gameplay.