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UK Advertising Authority Rules EA Cannot Advertise Dungeon Keeper As ‘Free-to-Play’

Published July 4, 2014 by |

The UK Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints that Dungeon Keeper, EA’s free-to-play mobile title, cannot be advertised as ‘free’ due to the requirement of insistent in-game micro-transactions.

Players perceived the games monetisation tactics to be too aggressive, with fingers pointing towards the inability to make reasonable progress without making in-app purchases. The timers has been labelled “excessively onerous” by the ASA, and ruled that Dungeon Keeper cannot be advertised as free-to-play. This could have further ramifications for other supposedly free-to-play games. In future, all titles containing the option to make in-app purchases will have to make some sort of acknowledgement in advertisements. The ASA assessment read;

“We regard it as extremely likely that players would reach a position where they would be unable to take any further meaningful or progressive action in the game until a timer had finished or been skipped, and that these periods would become longer and more significant, and the cost of skipping increasingly higher, as the player progressed,”

Dungeon Keeper

EA have received no monetary penalty despite being found at fault for “misleading advertising’. However EA may not run any further promotions without disclosing; “the limitations of free gameplay and role of in-app purchasing with regard to speeding up gameplay.”