The Advertising Standards Authority ruled against Valve today, upholding a complaint arising from the sale of the game 'Grand Theft Auto V' in this year's Summer Sale. The complaint over misleading and inaccurate pricing was in regard to the game being offered as '25% off'. However, in actual fact this price point referred to a bundle including the game itself and a voucher of in-game currency - a 'great white shark cash card'.
The ASA explains the nature of problem as part of their rather detailed report:
The stand-alone Grand Theft Auto game, which normally sold for £39.99, was not reduced. However, the claims that stated it was £38.98, with a saving of 25%, had appeared on the website in error for around three hours at the start of the sale. They said the price claims were the same as those for a separate Grand Theft Auto bundle, which was included in the sale. Because that type of bundle had not been offered before, their software had mislabelled the stand-alone game. They had removed the claims related to the game once they became aware of the error.
Follow all of that? Essentially Valve accidentally told people they were offering GTA V with 25% off, when that offer only applied to a more expensive bundle. Presumably some eagle-eyed shoppers noticed and made formal complaints.
So what rules were broken in this little infraction?
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.17 (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in its current form, and Valve have been told to ensure future claims do not mislead about savings or benefits available.