Those of you who experience schadenfreude for free-to-play games may enjoy this.
An independent regulator based out of the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority(ASA for short), has ruled that EA was intentionally misleading when they released an ad for Dungeon Keeper Mobile that stated it was free.
The specific ad that drew their ire stated:
“GET DUNGEON KEEPER ON MOBILE FOR FREE! … DIG. DEVISE. DOMINATE. Build the most badass dungeon ever! Raise an army of diabolical minions and lay twisted traps to destroy any opponents foolish enough to set foot in your lair. MASTER THE HAND OF EVIL Cast powerful spells, pillage and plunder other players’ dungeons, and slap your imps around to make them work harder. A world of wicked fun is right at your fingertips. What are you waiting for, Keeper? Get it for FREE!”
Complainants were concerned that “gameplay was severely limited unless in-app purchases were made, challenged whether the ad was misleading because it omitted significant information.”
According to the ASA, EA responded by saying:
“…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. Rather, they stated that in-game content is available to all players, whether or not they make in-app purchases, and that gameplay without in-app purchasing is not severely limited. They also stated that all the features referenced in the ad were available during free play and that not all of them were gated by a timer.”
As it stands, the ruling has ensured that the current ad may not be show again without clarification regarding “limitations of free gameplay and role of in-app purchasing with regard to speeding up gameplay.”