Less Massive: Dungeon Keeper Ad Deemed Misleading

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A rather notable blow has been struck against the free to play industry, with the removal of a Dungeon Keeper ad on the grounds that it was misleading. The Advertising Standards Agency in the UK looked into a consumer complaint that Electronic Arts was misleadingly advertising Dungeon Keeper as a free to play game while omitting important information about the game’s cash shop. The ASA upheld the complaint, based on what it regards to be excessive, frequent, and unreasonable time-gates on content.

As posted on the ASA website:

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. 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.

EA’s CEO recently called Dungeon Keeper a “shame,” after the game was met with overwhelming backlash and quickly dropped off of the app charts, followed by the closure of Mythic Entertainment.

(Source: Pocket Gamer)

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