The UK Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against Sony that argued an ad for Gran Turismo Sport misled players about in-game content that was inaccessible offline.
The ASA regularly shares its rulings online and keeping an eye on those results is a good way for developers to ensure their own advertisements don’t mislead or otherwise misinform players.
In this case, an ad for Gran Turismo Sport that aired last October showed gameplay featuring cars and levels that are only available to players with a PlayStation Network account and an internet connection without disclosing that both would be needed to use the bulk of the game’s content.
In response to the complaint, Sony argued that an internet connection is not required to play the game and, while the specific track shown in the trailer required online play, the same type of gameplay and a similar track are available without an internet connection.
The company’s position largely boiled down to the fact the majority, roughly 75 percent, of PlayStation 4 consoles sold in the UK had been connected to the internet during the month the ad originally aired and that the average consumer would understand that an internet connection was necessary to “make the fullest use of a modern, multimedia technology product such as a games.”
But the ASA still upheld its ruling, explaining that customers would expect that purchasing the disc for the game would give them the ability to play the majority of the game from that disc and that some features, like saving progress, were severely limited for offline players. As a result, the ASA found the advertisement in violation of BCAP code rules 3.1 and 3.2 on misleading advertising and 3.10 for not clearly stating limitations in the trailer and has since blocked the ad from appearing in its current form.
The ASA has passed a number of other notable rulings in the past, including judgments on Liberators, No Man’s Sky, Grand Theft Auto V, and Dungeon Keeper.