A website, for the new SimCity game stated, "10/10 EUROGAMER.SE".
The complainant challenged whether the website's use of the reviewer score was misleading because they understood it was based on the reviewer playing the game pre-launch, on an internal network, and that the actual experience of the game would be significantly different.
Electronic Arts Ltd (EA) asserted that the ad was not misleading. They pointed out that at the time of their response the "10/10" rating still stood on the Eurogamer.se website. From this EA understood that the reviewer had decided that it was not necessary or appropriate to amend the score following the game's launch.
EA said they did not set the score, Eurogamer.se did so independently. They said the score was not taken out of context, and the appropriate source was given should anyone have wished to verify the score.
The ASA noted that the review score from Eurogamer.se was factually accurate.
We also noted that the full review on the Eurogamer.se website carried a qualification that the game was reviewed on an internal network. It would therefore have been played as intended by the developers, and the reviewer's first experience of the game would not have been affected by the high profile problems associated with the game's actual launch.
We also noted that the new SimCity game was an "always connected" game, meaning that it had no offline mode: the network problems associated with the game's launch would have therefore had a large impact on consumers' initial experience of the game.
However, we considered that reviews were generally understood to be based on a game's content when it was functioning correctly. We considered that, whilst permanent bugs or inherent faults would often be reflected in a reviewer's rating of a game, temporary network or software problems associated with the launch would generally not feature as strongly. We considered therefore that the average consumer would expect the "10/10" rating from Eurogamer.se to be based on the game when functioning correctly. We also noted that the Eurogamer.se score remained unchanged several weeks following the game's launch.
In light of this we did not consider it necessary for EA to qualify the Eurogamer.se rating with information that the reviewer played the game on an internal network. For these reasons we concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification) and 3.46 3.46 Testimonials must relate to the advertised product. (Endorsements and testimonials) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.