The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has released new updated guidelines on how game developers and publishers should and should not advertise in-game premium currencies and other purchases. ASA is fighting back against in-game timers, labels like Best Value. And more.
As Eurogamer discovered, the new guidelines cover both in-game advertising and general advertising you may encounter on TV or while browsing the web. The focus of the ASA’s new rules is to stop ads that pressure players to buy or mislead customers about the existence, purpose and total cost of in-app purchases.
ASA is the self-regulatory body of the UK advertising industry.
For games with premium currencies that can only be used in real dollars, the ASA wants ads and pop-ups that include real dollar values. So, an advertisement selling a new weapon for 500 gems must also include the actual amount. If this ad appears in-game, the ad must reflect how many gems or coins you currently have, how many are required to obtain the item, and how much it will cost.
Read more: Loot chests are designed to exploit us.
ASA understands that there is a difference between games that offer a way to obtain in-game items for free and games that offer them only for real money. So the ASA treats these games differently. Therefore, games that sell things like jewels for money should be played under different advertising rules than games that offer free paths to in-app items.
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Games or Best Offers that include a countdown timer in your store or use a label like Best Value! Also, to comply with the new ASA directive, it must be stopped in the UK. The regulatory group has asked developers to include a notification if a game contains a loot chest, but I think the larger decision on whether a loot chest is a gamble should be made by the UK Gambling Commission.
The ASA cannot interpret or enforce laws or good companies that violate the ASA guidelines, but may refer serious violators to other regulatory bodies with greater authority in the UK. And group rules are mostly consistent with British law.
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