Valve Accused Of Misleading Customers By UK’s Advertising Standards Authority
Everyone knows that Steam sales are a lie; they price games really cheap and goad you into (still) spending hundreds of dollars, only to have those games sit in your library, unplayed, ignored, perpetually in your backlog.
But according to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, this isn’t the worst part of the Steam sales. Rather, it has to do with what Valve tries to get away with.
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During the most recent Steam Summer Sale (this first I ever partook in) I recalled seeing Grand Theft Auto V being listed as on sale together with some bundled DLC, but try as I might, I could not find the regular edition without the DLC. “Sneaky sneaky, Valve,” I thought.
Well as it so turns out, the ASA agreed with that. Apparently the regular version of GTA V (which cost £39.99 prior to the Summer Sale) was removed during the duration of the Summer Sale, and replaced with the bundled version that included DLC for GTA Online, ad was priced at a marked £39.98, which is a 25% discount of the full £51.99 price tag.
Not something new if you’ve ever seen a TAKEALOT daily deal, South Africans, amirite?
Naturally this upset some people, who felt this was done deliberately especially considering the specific bundle did not previously exist. Things got even more suspect when the regular version of GTA V ninja’d its way into the sale for a few hours before being quietly removed.
And so the Advertising Standards Authority of the UK were brought in to investigate Valve’s shady advertising. And five months later (now) they have confirmed that Valve did in fact do a naughty, and intentionally misled their customers.
We thought you loved us, GabeN!
The ASA ruled that there was reasonable expectation that the discount would apply to both products, thanks to the gaffe that allowed regular GTA V onto stores (alongside bundled GTA V) for a short period of time. So basically, they did it to themselves. The ASA demanded that Valve, in future, do not conduct misleading sales. Check out the source link for more information on how it all went down.
And keep an eye on that Steam Winter Sale, when it inevitably happens. Let’s see how Valve take to being reprimanded for their nonsense.