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Under pressure, online game company fixes kid-targeted advertising

After being briefly sanctioned, the developer of kids' game Moshi Monsters has modified its site to come in line with UK standards.

The company behind a popular kid-centric game website has revised the way it advertises to young impressionable minds.

On October 27, the UK's independent, nongovernmental advertising standards body, the Advertising Standards Authority, upheld a ruling against free-to-play developer Mind Candy, saying that its Moshi Monsters website was "in breach" of its standards: "[Moshi Monsters], including the membership page, presented children with direct exhortations to purchase membership subscriptions," the ASA statement read. (You can read an archived copy of the ruling, which has since been unpublished, here.)

While the ASA doesn't have power to do much beyond call attention to companies whose web pages contain advertisements that don't meet its standards, apparently being named and shamed worked in this case -- Gamasutra has confirmed with the ASA that the company has agreed to bring Moshi Monsters in compliance with its guidelines.

"Mind Candy (Moshi Monsters) has now been removed from the ‘non-compliant online advertiser’ list on our website. This is because the sanction has been effective, the advertiser has now brought its advertising into line with our ruling," an ASA spokesperson told Gamasutra.

The body brought the complaint against Mind Candy in August -- alongside competitor 55 Pixels, developer of Bin Weevils. 55 Pixels brought its game into compliance soon after the complaint, but it apparently took further action from the ASA to get Mind Candy's attention.

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