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16 Mar 10:00 GMT / 06:00 EST

The Drum Digital Transformation Festival launch

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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

EA Games rapped for 'omitting' in-app purchasing information in email ad

EA Games/ Electronic Arts has been told it must not use an email ad for its Dungeon Keeper game after it failed to clearly communicate that gameplay was limited unless in-app purchases were made.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated a complaint by a recipient of the email who said the advert was misleading because it omitted significant information about the extent to which gameplay was limited without further purchases.

Electronic Arts denied that it had omitted information from the ad and said that the Dungeon Keeper game is available to download for free, and that in-app purchases are not required.

The company 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.

The ASA said that while it acknowledged that game software was available to download for free, and that it was possible to play the game without spending money, the ad did not make the role of in-app purchasing clear.

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

In May this year Italy’s Antitrust and Competition Authority launched an investigation into Apple, Google and Amazon over speculation that the tech giants were misleading consumers via the use of in-app purchases.

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