Competition – press release

CMA welcomes ASA games rulings

The CMA welcomes the Advertising Standards Authority decisions to uphold its complaints relating to 2 online children’s games.

Following its investigation into the sector, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) referred 3 games to the ASA to consider whether they breached the UK Non-broadcast Advertising Code by encouraging children to buy, or ask their parents to buy, extra game features.

The ASA has today ruled that both the Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils games breached the Advertising Code by putting pressure on children to buy a membership subscription. The ASA has stated that the adverts in each of these games must not appear again in their current form.

The third game has been referred to the Asociación para la Autorregulación de la Comunicación Comercial (Autocontrol). Autocontrol is the Spanish advertising self-regulation organisation, equivalent to the ASA in the UK.

Nisha Arora, CMA Senior Director, Consumer, said:

We are pleased that the ASA has upheld our complaints. Businesses should not directly encourage or pressure children to buy advertised products, or persuade their parents or other adults to do so for them.

The CMA has also produced advice for parents and carers to help them avoid bill shocks. Previously, the Office of Fair Trading created Principles to help games and app makers comply with consumer law.

Notes for editors

  1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the Competition Commission and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading, as amended by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. For more information see the CMA’s homepage on GOV.UK.
  2. For CMA updates, follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn.
  3. Enquiries should be directed to Siobhan Allen (Siobhan.Allen@cma.gsi.gov.uk, 020 3738 6460).