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Valve in hot water with UK authority over Steam sale ads for GTA V

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority has taken Valve to task over Grand Theft Auto V ads in its recent Steam Summer Sale after receiving complaints that they were misleading to customers.

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority has taken Valve to task over Grand Theft Auto V ads in its recent Steam Summer Sale after receiving complaints that they were misleading to customers.

This is of little practical consequence to Valve -- the ASA simply states that the ad in question "must not appear again in its current form" and that "future savings claims" on Steam must not be misleading.

But it does give Steam developers -- especially those whose games have DLC or in-game currency packs that can be bundled with the game -- a fresh reminder to be careful about how they advertise discounts during a sale.

The ASA received complaints about how Rockstar chose to sell Grand Theft Auto V during Steam's June sale, which Rock Paper Shotgun and other outlets ran down in detail at the time. 

In brief: Rockstar put the game on sale by bundling it with a newly-created "cash card" pack of in-game currency, then discounting that bundle and not the standalone game -- effectively making it appear that Grand Theft Auto V was 25 percent off, yet still cost ~$60.

"Because a 25% saving was not available on the usual selling price of the product at the time the ad appeared, as claimed, we concluded that it was misleading," stated the ASA in its assessment. "On this point, the ad breached CAP [Committee of Advertising Practice] Code."

For more details on how to ensure your work complies with ASA expectations, check out the UK advertising codes for yourself.

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