Mobile game publisher FunPlus and its subsidiary KingsGroup were hit with a class action lawsuit last month for false advertising. First spotted by Top Class Actions, the lawsuit was filed in a California federal court, and alleges that FunPlus' mobile game State of Survival has misled its consumers for years about in-app purchases being available at discounted prices.
"In its direct marketing to consumers (including representations made at the time of purchase), FunPlus advertises false former prices to induce players into believing they must act quickly to take advantage of a limited-time sale price," reads the lawsuit.
State of Survival released in 2019 on iOS and Android, and has generated over $1 billion in revenue. Like in most mobile games, players can level up at a faster pace by spending real world money.
The lawsuit further states that FunPlus advertised sales with digital scarcity as a way to urge customers to make a purchase right away, along with lying about offering limited time sales at discounted prices. Under California law, false pricing schemes such as these are prohibited.
Plaintiffs Kimberly Surette, Staci Turner, and Angela Prado argued that they wouldn't have made discounted purchases if they knew the original prices didn't exist. And in their lawsuit, the trio acknowledge that the game's ads promising limited-time discounts have been running for years.
"FunPlus never sells these items at their [original] price," continues the lawsuit. "It just offers false discounts
from an original price that did not exist, and its players bought packs on “sale” that were
the same prices they would ordinarily pay."
FunPlus isn't the only mobile game studio in 2022 to be accused of false in-game advertising. Back in February, a similar class action lawsuit was filed against Warner Bros. Entertainment for its mobile game, Game of Thrones: Conquest. Like State of Survival, the mobile game based on the popular HBO series allegedly featured false in-game sales through "limited" promotions.
In their respective press releases, the lawyers taking Warner Bros. Entertainment and FunPlus to court state that the two companies have been wrongfully deceiving customers for years, and will have to explain their conduct in court.