The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has upheld three complaints for three gaming ads that violated the country’s advertising rules. The regulator ruled that Electronic Arts, Miniclip, and Jagex misled users by failing to disclose information about loot boxes in their products.

EA, Miniclip, and Jagex warned for running misleading game ads and not disclosing info about loot boxes

As reported by, the main reason why the ASA upheld the complaints was a guidance from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). It states that the presence of loot boxes should be made clear in ads and that this information is “material to a consumer’s decision to purchase or download a game.”

The regulator cited three specific ads in separate cases related to EA, Miniclip, and Jagex, warning all three companies not to violate the rules in the future.

In the case with Electronic Arts:

  • The ASA found two Facebook ads for Playdemic’s mobile game Golf Clash misleading: the first one promoted the game’s web store and informed players about daily bonuses and rewards, while the second one focused on an in-game event;
  • None of them mentioned that Golf Clash contained loot boxes, and EA told the ASA that the ads were published by mistake;
  • The publisher acknowledged the mistake and removed the posts, saying that all of its ads usually include the warning text “Includes optional in-game purchases (including random items).”

In the case with Miniclip:

  • The ASA found that a Facebook ad for 8 Ball Pool violated the rules because it ended with the words “Play free now” but didn’t disclose the presence of loot boxes;
  • According to the agency, the absence of material information that could influence a consumer’s decision to play the game makes the promotional post misleading;
  • Miniclip tried to argue that the game doesn’t require players to make any purchases to play and progress, but agreed to remove the ad and include this information in future advertising materials.

In the case with Jagex:

  • The complaint focused on a Facebook ad promoting the new Necromancy combat style for RuneScape, but it didn’t mention information about loot boxes (they can be found in the Treasure Hunter mini-game);
  • Jagex argued that the ad was specifically about the new skill, not Treasure Hunter, and when the ad led to a landing page detailing the presence of IAPs and loot boxes, along with corresponding PEGI labels;
  • The ASA disagreed, saying that this information should be included in the ad, and users clicking on the link and going to the RuneScape website was a “transactional decision in relation to downloading the game, and we considered that consumers were not provided with information that was material to that decision.”

The three cases were opened after complaints filed by researcher Leon Y. Xiao. He noted that he has already found violations in more than 280 ads, but he has limited resources to hold game companies accountable by himself.

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