UK ad regulator releases new in-game spending guidance

UK ad regulator releases new in-game spending guidance

UK ad regulator, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has published new proposed guidelines for how companies should handle in-game purchases.

In a document on the organisation's website, it says that these new rules are there to ensure that adverts are not misleading when it comes to in-game purchases. 

As for new proposed rules, CAP says it was "concerned" by how some games obscure how much real-world money they will be spending in-game due to the combined use of virtual currency, pricing choices and bundling. As a result, the real-world cost of in-game purchases need to be made clear to consumers.

CAP also says that advertising claiming "best value" regarding bundles of in-game goods should be speaking not about the overall cost of the bundle but to the cost of the individual items. The organisation also says that consumers need to be made aware of odd-pricing within a game.

This is when companies sell amounts of virtual currency for real-world money in increments such that users are often forced to buy more in-game currency than is actually required.

These rules only apply to items that require real-world money to acquire; purchases that necessitate players grind to build up virtual currency are not covered. CAP has also said that companies have six months to change in-game content to be in-line with regulations, while changes need to be made to adverts regarding these items.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.