UK's ASA says Jagex broke rules with RuneScape ad

UK's ASA says Jagex broke rules with RuneScape ad

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that Jagex broke disclosure rules for a RuneScape ad.

In the ruling on its website, the organisation said that the Cambridge-based games firm failed to have proper disclosure about its long-running MMO having in-game purchases. The ad in question was posted on Facebook in September 2023 and was promoting the new Necromancy skill.

Jagex argued that RuneScape was free-to-play and that loot boxes are part of its Treasure Hunter mini-game. The company said that the advert was for the Necromancy skill, not Treasure Hunter, adding that it has numerous PEGI disclosures for in-game purchases and loot boxes across the game's website. The RuneScape maker also said that the ad was limited by "time and space".

The ASA, however, was not on-board with this line of thinking.

"Although we acknowledged that the presence of in-game purchases and random item purchases were disclosed once the consumer clicked through to the landing page, we considered that the ad itself did not include information which made that clear to consumers," the ASA wrote in its ruling.

"Transactional decisions encompassed a wide range of decisions made by the consumer in relation to a product and their decision of whether, how and on what terms to make a purchase. The decision to click through to the RuneScape website (including, in this case, by clicking a button labelled 'Play Game') from the ad 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."

Disclaimer: Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist and writer who has worked with Jagex in the past on RuneScape: The First 20 Years

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.