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EA’s Dungeon Keeper can no Longer be Advertised as ‘free-to-play’ in the UK

It seems the well deserved punches are still being laid into EA and their mobile remake of Dungeon Keeper which launced earlier this year, as the British Advertising Authority has declared that EA cannot advertise the ‘free-to-play’ game as such.

On their website, the issue is detailed as: “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.”

You can play Dungeon Keeper for free, but a lot of players found that the time restrictions and other actions that you can do in the game were far too limited to carry on playing for free.

The ASA’s conclusion on the matter is as follows:

“We noted that the ad did not include any reference to in-app purchases or the role they would play. 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.While we understood that the average consumer would appreciate that free-to-play games were likely to contain monetisation functions, we considered that they would also expect the play experience of a game described as ‘free’ to not be excessively restricted,” wrote the ASA.

“Similarly, although we acknowledged that a timer mechanism could be a legitimate part of gameplay experience, the nature of the timer frequency and length in Dungeon Keeper, in combination with the way it was monetised, was likely to create a game experience for non-spenders that did not reflect their reasonable expectations from the content of the ad. 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.”

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