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ASA ponders investigation of three online games

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has referred three unnamed online games to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The CMA says that it is concerned that these games may breach the Advertising Codes and consumer law by directly encouraging children to buy, or ask their parents to buy, extra game features”.

The games will not be named unless or until after they are found to have breached” regulations outlined in the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) Principles for online and app-based games.

We have seen some positive changes in business practices since we started looking at this sector. However, we are concerned that some games may directly encourage children to buy extra features during the game,” the CMA’s senior director Nisha Arora said. We have therefore referred these games to the ASA to consider whether they breach the Advertising Codes.”

The ASA’s director of investigations Miles Lockwood added: It’s crucial that the ads children see, hear and interact with don’t confuse, mislead or directly exhort them to make purchases. We welcome the CMA’s referrals and will now establish whether the ads break the rules and to ensure children are treated fairly.”

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